Gender and Age of Migration Differences in Mortality Among Older Mexican Americans



Using a gendered life course perspective, we examine whether the relationship between age of migration and mortality is moderated by gender among a cohort of older Mexican Americans.


Data from the Hispanic Established Populations for the Epidemiological Study of the Elderly and recently matched mortality data are used to estimate Cox proportional hazard models.


Our findings indicate that the relationship between age of migration and mortality is moderated by gender, suggesting a more nuanced perspective of the immigrant mortality paradox. Among men, midlife migrants exhibit an 18% lower risk of mortality compared to their U.S.-born co-ethnics, possibly due to immigrant selectivity at the time of migration. Conversely, late-life migrant women exhibit a 17% lower risk of mortality relative to U.S.-born women, attributed in part to socio-cultural characteristics that influence lifestyle risk factors across the life course.


Selection mechanisms and acculturation processes associated with the immigrant experience are contingent on both age and gender, suggesting the utility of an integrated life course approach to contextualize the mortality profiles of older immigrants. These findings demonstrate the heterogeneity among immigrants and highlight the need to understand gender differences in the migration process when assessing the immigrant mortality paradox.

The full study is available in The Journals of Gerontology.