New Estimates of Racial/Ethnic Differences in Life Expectancy with Chronic Morbidity and Functional Loss: Evidence from the National Health Interview Survey

Phillip A. Cantu, Mark D. Hayward, Robert A. Hummer, Chi Tsun Chiu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study documents the mortality, chronic morbidity and physical functioning experiences of U.S. Hispanics, non-Hispanic whites, and non-Hispanic blacks 50 years of age and older in the United States. Hispanics are classified by nativity to better assess an important source of heterogeneity in population health within that population. Drawing on mortality and morbidity data from the National Health Interview Survey, demographic models of healthy life expectancy are used to derive estimates of life expectancy, life expectancy with and without chronic morbidity conditions, and life expectancy with and without functional limitations. The results not only highlight the mortality advantages of foreign-born Hispanics, but also document their health advantages in terms of morbidity and physical functioning beyond age 50. Nativity is a highly important factor differentiating the health and mortality experiences of Hispanics: U.S.-born Hispanics have a health profile more indicative of their minority status while foreign-born Hispanics have much more favorable mortality and health profiles. Differences in smoking across racial/ethnic/nativity groups is suggested as an important reason behind the apparent health advantages of foreign-born Hispanics relative to whites as well as relative to their U.S.-born counterparts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)283-297
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Cross-Cultural Gerontology
Volume28
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2013
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Chronic morbidity
  • Functional limitations
  • Hispanic health paradox
  • Nativity
  • Smoking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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