Racial and Ethnic Variation in Health Inequalities in the U.S.

Rachel T. Kimbro, Rice University
Sharon Bzostek, Princeton University
Germán Rodríguez, Princeton University

Using pooled data from the 2000-2006 National Health Interview Survey (N=147,039), we document how the relationship between education and a broad range of health measures varies by race/ethnicity and nativity. We find significant differences in the education ‘gradient’ by race/ethnicity across every outcome we consider. That is, education is a more powerful determinant of health behaviors and outcomes for some groups than for others. In addition, for all race/ethnic groups in our sample, the education differentials for the foreign-born groups are typically more modest than those for the corresponding native-born populations. We also illustrate how the education-health relationship varies across Hispanic and Asian subgroups. Our findings suggest that a complex set of mechanisms, involving the immigration process and assimilation of immigrants into U.S. society, are likely to give rise to these patterns.

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Presented in Session 71: Adult Mortality Differences by Race/Ethnicity