Menu Close

Nativity, Duration of Residence, and the Health of Hispanic Adults in the United States


Cho, Youngtae; Frisbie, W. Parker; Hummer, Robert A.; & Rogers, Richard G. (2004). Nativity, Duration of Residence, and the Health of Hispanic Adults in the United States. International Migration Review, 38(1), 184-211.


This article examines subgroup differences in the health status of Hispanic adults in comparison to non-Hispanic whites and non-Hispanic blacks. We pay particular attention to the influences of nativity and duration of residence in the United States. Data are pooled from the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) for 1989–94. Puerto Ricans exhibited the worst health outcomes of any group (including whites and blacks) for each of the three health measures. Persons of Central/South American origin exhibited the most favorable outcomes for activity limitations and bed sick days, advantages that were eliminated when controlled for nativity/duration. For two of the three health status variables, Mexican Americans were very similar to non-Hispanic whites in baseline models and were more favorable than non-Hispanic whites once socio-economic factors were controlled; this was not the case, however, for self-reported overall health. Immigration also helped to explain the relatively positive outcomes among Central/South American origin individuals, Cubans, and Mexican Americans. For most Hispanic groups (as well as non-Hispanic whites and non-Hispanic blacks), immigrants reported better health than the U.S. born, which is consistent with a selectivity hypothesis of immigrant health. In addition, this advantage tended to be significantly smaller among immigrants with ten or more years' duration in the United States. Although the latter finding is consistent with the negative acculturation hypothesis, alternative interpretations, including the generally more limited access of immigrants to the formal health care system, are suggested.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

International Migration Review


Cho, Youngtae
Frisbie, W. Parker
Hummer, Robert A.
Rogers, Richard G.