Hispanic women who identify as White are healthier than those who don’t

Article title: Racial Disparities in Functional Limitations Among Hispanic Women in the United States

From Research on Aging

Hispanic women who identify as Black or another race have worse functional health than their counterparts who identify as White, according to this article. This research is part of a new special issue of ROA, focused on aging and health among Hispanic populations in the United States and in Latin America.

Looking at data from 42,908 U.S. Hispanic women, ages 18-85, from 1997 to 2011, Chinn and Hummer examined the relationship between race and certain functional limitations related to the body — inabilities or difficulties in performing daily activities such as bending or kneeling, walking a quarter mile, grasping objects, etc.

Authors concluded, “Racial identity—or at least the distinction between identifying as Black or White—may have particular salience for the health of Hispanic adults among the second and higher generations.  One strong possibility for this is that U.S.-born Black Hispanics simply have greater exposure to the harsh reality of being Black in American society than foreign-born Black Hispanics.”


This article assesses whether there are race differences in functional health among Hispanic women in the United States; ascertains whether the race differences in functional health vary by age; and examines the extent to which race differences in functional health are attributable to key dimensions of demographic, geographic, and socioeconomic heterogeneity. The analysis is based on 15 years of aggregated data from the National Health Interview Survey. Both U.S.- and foreign-born Black and other race Hispanic women display a higher level of functional limitations than their White Hispanic counterparts. There is little evidence that such health differences widen with age. U.S.-born Black Hispanic women, however, suffer from a high burden of functional limitations across the adult age range. This research speaks to the need for greater attention to racial differences in health among Hispanics and particularly so within the U.S.-born segment of this rapidly aging population.


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 Article details
Juanita J. Chinn and Robert A. Hummer
Racial Disparities in Functional Limitations Among Hispanic Women in the United States
Research on Aging April 2016 38: 399-423, doi:10.1177/0164027515620244




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