Skip to main content

Advertisement

Log in

Erosion of Advantage: Decomposing Differences in Infant Mortality Rates Among Older Non-Hispanic White and Mexican-Origin Mothers

  • Published:
Population Research and Policy Review Aims and scope Submit manuscript

Abstract

We build on findings from recent research showing an erosion of infant survival advantage in the Mexican-origin population relative to non-Hispanic whites at older maternal ages, with patterns that differ by nativity. This runs counter to the well-documented Hispanic infant mortality paradox and suggests that weathering and/or other negative health selection mechanisms may contribute to increasing disadvantage at older maternal ages. Using the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) cohort-linked birth and infant death files, we decompose the difference in Mexican-origin non-Hispanic white infant mortality at older maternal ages to better understand the contribution of selected medical and social risk factors to components of the difference. We find differences in the distribution and effects of risk factors across the three populations of interest. The infant mortality rate (IMR) gap between Mexican-origin women and non-Hispanic whites can be attributed to numerous offsetting factors, with inadequate prenatal care standing out as a major contributor to the IMR difference. Equalizing access to and utilization of prenatal care may provide one possible route to closing the IMR gap at older maternal ages.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or Ebook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6

Similar content being viewed by others

References

  • Abraido-Lanza, A. F., Dohrenwend, B. P., Ng-Mak, D. S., & Turner, J. B. (1999). The Latino mortality paradox: A test of the “salmon bias” and healthy migrant hypotheses. American Journal of Public Health, 89, 1543–1548.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Albrecht, S. L., Clarke, L. L., Miller, M. K., & Farmer, F. L. (1996). Predictors of differential birth outcomes among hispanic subgroups in the United States: The role of maternal risk characteristics and medical care. Social Science Quarterly, 77, 407–433.

    Google Scholar 

  • Angel, J. L., Wilson, K. J., & Brown H. S. (2013). How might immigration reform affect implementation of the Affordable Care Act?” PA Times Online, American Society of Public Administration. http://patimes.org/immigration-reform-affect-implementation-affordable-care-act/.

  • Blinder, A. S. (1973). Wage discrimination: Reduced form and structural estimates. Journal of Human Resources, 8, 436–455.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ceballos, M. (2011). Simulating the effects of acculturation and return migration on the maternal and infant health of Mexican immigrants in the United States: A research note. Demography, 48, 425–436.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ceballos, M., & Palloni, A. (2010). Maternal and infant health of mexican immigrants in the USA: The effects of acculturation, duration, and selective return migration. Ethnicity & Health, 15, 377–396. doi:10.1080/13557858.2010.481329.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Cho, Y. T., Frisbie, W. P., Hummer, R. A., & Rogers, R. G. (2004). Nativity, duration of residence and the health of Hispanic adults in the United States. International Migration Review, 38, 184–221.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Cobas, J. A., Balcazar, H., Benin, M. B., Keith, V. M., & Chong, Y. (1996). Acculturation and low-birthweight infants among Latino women: A reanalysis of HHANES data with structural equation models. American Journal of Public Health, 86, 394–396.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Cuellar, A., Simmons, A., & Finegold, K. (2012). The affordable care act and women. ASPE Issue Brief, Department of Health and Human Services. Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation. http://aspe.hhs.gov.

  • Elo, I. T., Mehta, N. K., & Huang, C. (2011). Disability among native born and foreign born blacks in the United States. Demography, 48, 241–265.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Elo, I. T., Turra, C. M., Kestenbaum, B., & Ferguson, B. R. (2004). Mortality among elderly Hispanics in the United States: Past evidence and new results. Demography, 41, 109–128.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ennis, S.R., Rios-Vargas, M., & Albert, N. G. (2011). The Hispanic population: 2010. 2010 U.S. Census Brief, U.S. Department of Commerce Economics and Statistics Administration.

  • Finch, B. K., Hummer, R. A., Kolody, B., & Vega, W. A. (2001). The role of discrimination and acculturative stress in physical health of Mexican-origin adults. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Science, 23, 399–429.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Finch, B. K., & Vega, W. A. (2003). Acculturation stress, social support, and self-rated health among Latinos in California. Journal of Immigrant Health, 5, 109–115.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Franzini, L., Ribble, J. C., & Keddie, A. M. (2001). Understanding the Hispanic paradox. Ethnicity and Disease, 11, 496–518.

    Google Scholar 

  • Freide, A., Baldwin, W., Rhodes, P., et al. (1987). Young maternal ages and infant mortality: The role of low birth weight. Public Health Reports, 102, 192–199.

    Google Scholar 

  • Frisbie, W. P., Forbes, D., & Hummer, R. A. (1998). Hispanic pregnancy outcomes: Additional evidence. Social Science Quarterly, 79, 149–169.

    Google Scholar 

  • Frisbie, W. P., & Song, S. E. (2003). Hispanic pregnancy outcomes: Differences over time and current risks. Policy Studies Journal, 1, 237–252.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Geronimus, A. T. (1986). Effects of race, residence, and prenatal care on the relationship of maternal age to neonatal mortality. American Journal of Public Health, 76, 1416–1421.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Geronimus, A. T. (1992). The weathering hypothesis and the health of African-American women and infants: Evidence and speculations. Ethnicity and Disease, 2, 207–221.

    Google Scholar 

  • Geronimus, A. T. (1996). Black/white differences in the relationship of maternal age to birthweight: A population-based test of the weathering hypothesis. Social Science and Medicine, 42, 589–597.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Guendelman, S. (2000). Immigrants may hold clues to protecting health during pregnancy. In Jamner & D. Stokols (Eds.), Promoting human wellness: New frontiers for research, practice, and policy (pp. 222–257). Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hummer, R. A., Benjamins, M., & Rogers, R. G. (2004). Race/ethnic disparities in health and mortality among the elderly: A documentation and examination of social factors, chap. 3. In N. Anderson, R. Bulatao, & B. Cohen (Eds.), Critical perspectives on racial and ethnic differences in health in late life (pp. 53–94). Washington DC: National Research Council.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hummer, R. A., Biegler, M., DeTurk, P., Forbes, D., Frisbie, W. P., Hong, Y., & Pullum, S. G. (1999). Race/ethnicity, nativity, and infant mortality in the United States. Social Forces, 77, 1083–1118.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hummer, R. A., Powers, D. A., Pullum, S. G., Gossman, G. L., & Frisbie, W. P. (2007). Paradox found (again): Infant mortality among the Mexican origin population in the United States. Demography, 44, 441–457.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Jasso, G., Massey, D. S., Rosenzweig, & Smith, J. P. (2004). Immigrant health: selectivity and acculturation, chap. 7. In N. B. Anderson, R. A. Bulatao, & B. Cohen (Eds.), Critical perspectives on racial and ethnic differences in health in late life (pp. 227–266). Washington DC: National Academies Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kaestner, R., Pearson, J. A., Keene, D., & Geronimus, A. T. (2009). Stress allostatic load, and the health of Mexican immigrants. Social Science Quarterly, 90, 1089–1111.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kotelchuck, M. (1994). An evaluation of the Kessner adequacy of prenatal care index and a proposed adequacy of prenatal care utilization index. American Journal of Public Health, 84, 1414–1420.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Landale, N. S., Oropesa, R. S., & Gorman, B. K. (2000). Migration and infant death: Assimilation or selective migration among Puerto Ricans. American Sociological Review, 65, 888–909.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Leite, P., Angola, A., Castaneda, X., Felt, E., Scherker, M., & Ramirez, T. (2013). Health outcomes of Mexican immigrant women in the U.S. Migration Policy Institute, Migration Information Source ISSN 1946-4937. www.migrationpolicy.org.

  • Liao, Y., Cooper, R., Cao, G., Durazo-Arvizu, R., Kaufman, J., Luke, A., & McGee, D. (1998). Mortality patterns among adult Hispanics: Findings from the NHIS, 1986–1990. American Journal of Public Health, 88, 227–232.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Livingston, G. & Cohn, D. (2010). The new demography of American motherhood. A Social & Demographic Trends Report, Pew Research Center Social and Demographic Trends Project.

  • Markides, K. S., & Coreil, J. (1986). The health of Hispanics in the Southwestern United States: An epidemiologic paradox. Public Health Reports, 101, 253–265.

    Google Scholar 

  • Markides, K. S., & Eschbach, K. (2005). Aging, migration and mortality: Current status of research on the Hispanic paradox. Journals of Gerontology: Series B, 60B((special issue II)), 68–75.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Massey, D. S. (2001). Residential segregation and neighborhood conditions in US metropolitan areas. In N. J. Smelser, W. J. Wilson, & F. Michell (Eds.), America becoming: racial trends and their consequences. Washington DC: National Academy Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Mathews, T. J., & MacDorman, M. F. (2008). Infant mortality statistics from the 2005 period linked birth/infant death data set. National Vital Statistics Reports; Vol. 57, no 2. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics.

  • National Center for Health Statistics. (1995–2002). Birth cohort linked birth/infant death data set and documentation. NCHS CD-ROMs, Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

  • Palloni, A., & Arias, E. (2004). Paradox lost: Explaining the Hispanic adult mortality advantage. Demography, 41(3), 385–415.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Palloni, A., & Morenoff, J. D. (2001). Interpreting the paradoxical in the Hispanic paradox. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 954, 140–174.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Portes, A. (1995). Children of immigrants: segmented assimilation and its determinants. In A. Portes (Ed.), The economic sociology of immigration: Essays on networks, ethnicity, and entrepreneurship (pp. 248–279). New York: Russell Sage.

    Google Scholar 

  • Portes, A., & Zhou, M. (1993). The new second generation: Segmented assimilation and its variants among post-1965 immigrant youth. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 530, 75–98.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Powers, D. A. (2013). Paradox revisited: A further investigation of race/ethnic differences in infant mortality by maternal age. Demography, 50, 495–520. doi:10.1007/s13524-012-0152-6.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Powers, D. A., Yoshioka, H., & Yun, M.-S. (2011). mvdcmp: Multivariate decomposition for nonlinear response models. The Stata Journal, 11, 556–576.

    Google Scholar 

  • Rogers, R. G., Hummer, R. A., & Nam, C. B. (2002). Living and dying in the U.S.A.: Behavioral, health, and social differentials in adult mortality. San Diego, CA: Academic Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Rosenbaum, E., & Friedman, S. (2001). Differences in the locational attainment of immigrant and native born households with children in New York City. Demography, 38, 337–348.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Saenz, R. (1997). Ethnic concentration and Chicano poverty: A comparative approach. Social Science Research, 26, 205–228.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Scribner, R., & Dwyer, J. H. (1989). Acculturation and low birthweight among Latinos in the Hispanic HANES. American Journal of Public Health, 79, 1263–1267.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Singh, G. K., & Siahpush, M. (2001). All-cause and cause-specific mortality of immigrants and native born in the United States. American Journal of Public Health, 91, 392–399.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Singh, G. K., & Siahpush, M. (2002). Ethnic-immigrant differentials in health behaviors, morbidity, and cause-specific mortality in the United States: An analysis of two national data bases. Human Biology, 74, 83–109.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Singh, G. K., & Yu, S. M. (1996). Adverse pregnancy outcomes: Differences between U.S.- and foreign-born women in major U.S. racial and ethnic groups. American Journal of Public Health, 86, 837–843.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Smith, D. P., & Bradshaw, B. S. (2006). Rethinking the Hispanic paradox: Death rates and life expectancy for US non-Hispanic White and Hispanic populations. American Journal of Public Health, 96, 1686–1692.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Turra, C. M., & Elo, I. T. (2008). The impact of Salmon bias on the hispanic mortality advantage: New evidence from social security data. Population Research and Policy Review, 27, 515–530.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • White, K. D., Grossman, K., & Hopkins, J. E. Potter. (2012). Cutting family planning in Texas. New England Journal of Medicine, 367, 1179–1181. doi:10.1056/NEJMp120792.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Wildsmith, E. M. (2002). Testing the weathering hypothesis among Mexican-origin women. Ethnicity and Disease, 12, 470–479.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgments

The author gratefully acknowledges the support for this research provided by NICHD Grant NO. R01 HD049754 and National Institute for Health Center Grant R24 HD42849-9 and would like to thank Jiwon Jeon for helpful comments.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Daniel A. Powers.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Powers, D.A. Erosion of Advantage: Decomposing Differences in Infant Mortality Rates Among Older Non-Hispanic White and Mexican-Origin Mothers. Popul Res Policy Rev 35, 23–48 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11113-015-9370-0

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11113-015-9370-0

Keywords

Navigation