Nativity, Age at Migration and Self-Rated Health Trajectories after Age 50: Evidence from the HRS

Zoya Gubernskaya, University of California, Irvine

Stressing the importance of age at arrival, this paper offers a framework for better understanding health disparities by nativity and among the foreign-born in old age. It uses longitudinal data from the 1992-2008 Health and Retirement Study (HRS) to construct linear random-intercept models and estimate disparities in self-rated health (SRH) after age 50 among Hispanic and non-Hispanic seniors in the U.S. Even though at age 50 both Hispanic and non-Hispanic foreign-born report better SRH compared to their native-born counterparts, those who migrated after age 35 experience accelerated SRH decline afterwards. Hispanic young adult migrants also experience steeper decline in SRH after age 50. Older age at migration is associated with a higher risk of accelerated health decline in later life, possibly, reflecting the longer exposure to unfavorable conditions in home countries and lack of resources due to the limited opportunities for socioeconomic incorporation in the U.S.

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Presented in Session 202: Health, Disability and Well-Being at Older Ages