The Latino Health Paradox: A Cross-Generational Comparison

Steven Alvarado, University of Wisconsin at Madison

Demographers have found that on average immigrants exhibit health advantages over non-immigrants in the United States. This has led some to speculate that immigrants may possess inherent cultural/behavioral dispositions that propagate health advantages. Still, others have found that U.S. tenure tends to lower immigrants' health status towards that of native populations. In order to test whether or not U.S. tenure across generations effects these health advantages, my paper examines infant weight-at-birth differences between first-generation and second-generation Latinos using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth:1979. I use OLS regression techniques to model the impact of generational status, my main covariate of interest, on the weight of immigrants' first child - controlling for various background characteristics. I expect to find that birth-weight of infants decreases due to U.S. tenure (i.e., move toward that of native populations) across generations.

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Presented in Session 148: Paradox of Better Health and Lower Mortality among Immigrants