A Re-Examination of the Hispanic Mortality Paradox

Palloni, Alberto, and Elizabeth Arias
Working paper no. 2003-01


We test three competing explanations of the adult “Hispanic mortality paradox:” data artifact, migration, and cultural or social buffering effects. Based on a series of parametric hazard models estimated on 9 years of mortality follow-up data, our results suggest that the “Hispanic” mortality advantage is a feature found only among foreign-born Mexicans and foreign-born Hispanics other than Cubans or Puerto Ricans. Although data are not available to appropriately test the hypotheses, our analysis suggests that the foreign-born Mexican advantage can be attributed to return migration. However, we were unable to account for the mortality advantaged observed among foreign-born Other Hispanics.