, Volume 41, Issue 1, pp 109–128

Mortality among elderly hispanics in the United States: Past evidence and new results


  • Irma T. Elo
    • Population Studies CenterUniversity of Pennsylvania
  • Cassio M. Turra
    • Population Studies CenterUniversity of Pennsylvania
  • Bert Kestenbaum
    • Social Security Administration
  • B. Reneé Ferguson
    • Social Security Administration

DOI: 10.1353/dem.2004.0001

Cite this article as:
Elo, I.T., Turra, C.M., Kestenbaum, B. et al. Demography (2004) 41: 109. doi:10.1353/dem.2004.0001


We used vital records and census data and Medicare and NUMIDENT records to estimate age-and sex-specific death rates for elderly non-Hispanic whites and Hispanics, including five Hispanic subgroups: persons born in Cuba, Mexico, Puerto Rico, other foreign countries, and the United States. We found that corrections for data errors in vital and census records lead to substantial changes in death rates for Hispanics and that conventionally constructed Hispanic death rates are lower than rates based on Medicare-NUMIDENT records. Both sources revealed a Hispanic mortality advantage relative to non-Hispanic whites that holds for most Hispanic subgroups. We also present a new methodology for inferring Hispanic origin from a combination of surname, given name, and county of residence.

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© Population Association of America 2004