American Sociological Association

Health Assimilation among Hispanic Immigrants in the United States: The Impact of Ignoring Arrival-cohort Effects

A large literature has documented that Hispanic immigrants have a health advantage over their U.S.-born counterparts upon arrival in the United States. Few studies, however, have disentangled the effects of immigrants’ arrival cohort from their tenure of U.S. residence, an omission that could produce imprecise estimates of the degree of health decline experienced by Hispanic immigrants as their U.S. tenure increases. Using data from the 1996-to-2014 waves of the March Current Population Survey, we show that the health (i.e., self-rated health) of Hispanic immigrants varies by both arrival cohort and U.S. tenure for immigrants hailing from most of the primary sending countries/regions of Hispanic immigrants. We also find evidence that acculturation plays an important role in determining the health trajectories of Hispanic immigrants. With respect to self-rated health, however, our findings demonstrate that omitting arrival-cohort measures from health assimilation models may result in overestimates of the degree of downward health assimilation experienced by Hispanic immigrants.


Hamilton, T. G., Palermo, T., Green, T. L.





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