, Volume 48, Issue 1, pp 241–265 | Cite as

Disability Among Native-born and Foreign-born Blacks in the United States

  • Irma T. Elo
  • Neil K. Mehta
  • Cheng Huang


Using the 5% Public Use Micro Data Sample (PUMS) from the 2000 U.S. census, we examine differences in disability among eight black subgroups distinguished by place of birth and Hispanic ethnicity. We found that all foreign-born subgroups reported lower levels of physical activity limitations and personal care limitations than native-born blacks. Immigrants from Africa reported lowest levels of disability, followed by non-Hispanic immigrants from the Caribbean. Sociodemographic characteristics and timing of immigration explained the differences between these two groups. The foreign-born health advantage was most evident among the least-educated except among immigrants from Europe/Canada, who also reported the highest levels of disability among the foreign-born. Hispanic identification was associated with poorer health among both native-born and foreign-born blacks.


Immigration Disability Black/African American Caribbean Africa 



An earlier version of this paper was presented at the 2008 annual meeting of the Population Association of America, New Orleans, LA, April 2008. We thank the discussant and reviewers for their helpful comments. The research was supported by the National Institute of Aging Grants #P30 AG12836 and #T32 Predoctoral Institutional Training Grant AG000177; and Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) Population Research Infrastructure Program R24-044964, University of Pennsylvania. Neil K. Mehta is currently a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholar at the University of Michigan.


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Copyright information

© Population Association of America 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Population Studies CenterUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.Center for Social Epidemiology and Population HealthUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  3. 3.Hubert Department of Global Health, Rollins School of Public HealthEmory UniversityAtlantaUSA

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