The Health of Older Mexican Americans in the Long Run

This article examines the health of older Mexican-American immigrants relative to the health of older U.S.-born Mexican-Americans. While younger Mexican-American immigrants tend to have better health than their U.S.-born Mexican-American counterparts, this relationship has not been established among older Mexican-Americans.

The authors conducted a multivariate regression analysis on data from the Hispanic Established Populations for the Epidemiologic Studies of the Elderly. The sample included 3,050 Mexican- Americans aged 65 years and older from Arizona, California, New Mexico, Colorado and Texas.

Key Findings:

  • There was no significant difference between the self-reported mental and physical health of older U.S.-born and immigrant Mexican-Americans.
  • Among Mexican-American immigrants, those who had been in the United States longer had better self-reported health outcomes. These better health outcomes may be linked to greater socioeconomic resources.

This research suggests that while younger Mexican-American immigrants enjoy a health advantage over U.S.-born Mexican-Americans, this advantage does not persist for older Mexican-American immigrants. Older Mexican-American immigrants who had lived in the United States for longer periods of time had better health outcomes than more recent immigrants.