Does the Hispanic Paradox in U.S. Adult Mortality Extend to Disability?

Mark D. Hayward, Robert A. Hummer, Chi Tsun Chiu, César González-González, Rebeca Wong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

106 Scopus citations


Studies consistently document a Hispanic paradox in U.S. adult mortality, whereby Hispanics have similar or lower mortality rates than non-Hispanic whites despite lower socioeconomic status. This study extends this line of inquiry to disability, especially among foreign-born Hispanics, since their advantaged mortality seemingly should be paired with health advantages more generally. We also assess whether the paradox extends to U.S.-born Hispanics to evaluate the effect of nativity. We calculate multistate life tables of life expectancy with disability to assess whether racial/ethnic and nativity differences in the length of disability-free life parallel differences in overall life expectancy. Our results document a Hispanic paradox in mortality for foreign-born and U.S.-born Hispanics. However, Hispanics' low mortality rates are not matched by low disability rates. Their disability rates are substantially higher than those of non-Hispanic whites and generally similar to those of non-Hispanic blacks. The result is a protracted period of disabled life expectancy for Hispanics, both foreign- and U.S.-born.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)81-96
Number of pages16
JournalPopulation Research and Policy Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2014


  • Disability
  • Disabled life expectancy
  • Hispanic paradox
  • Mortality
  • Nativity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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