Skip to main content
×
Home

RACIAL/ETHNIC DISPARITIES IN INFANT MORTALITY AMONG U.S. LATINOS: A Test of the Segmented Racialization Hypothesis1

  • Brenda L. Henry-Sanchez (a1) and Arline T. Geronimus (a2)
Abstract
Abstract

Despite shared colonization histories between the United States and Latin America, research examining racial disparities in health in the United States has often neglected Latinos. Additionally, descendants from Latin America residing in the United States are often categorized under the pan-ethnic label of Hispanic or Latino. This categorization obscures the group's heterogeneity, which is illuminated by research showing consistent differences in health for the three largest segments of the Latino population—Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, and Cubans. We examine whether the patterns of infant mortality associated with race in the non-Latino population also follow for Latinos. We also examine whether we can attribute patterns of infant mortality between the three largest Latino sub-groups to a process we term segmented racialization. We find that race operates for Latinos the same way it does for the non-Latino population and that there seems to be some evidence to support our segmented racialization hypothesis. The results point to the need to abandon the practices of combining Latino sub-groups as well as ignoring the racial diversity within the Latino population in health research.

Copyright
Corresponding author
Brenda Liz Henry-Sanchez, Senior Program Officer, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Route 1 and College Road East, Princeton, NJ 08543. E-mail: bhenry@rwjf.org
Footnotes
Hide All
1

The authors wish to acknowledge Ana Diez-Roux, Gilbert Gee, Harold Neighbors, and three anonymous reviewers for comments on an earlier draft of this paper. Study analyses were supported, in part, by the University of Michigan's Rackham Merit Fellowship Program, Rackham One-Term Dissertation Program, and Center for Research on Ethnicity, Culture, and Health Doctoral Training Program (funded by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences), and a fellowship from the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University.

Footnotes
References
Hide All
Acevedo-García Dolores and Bates Lisa M. (2008). Latino Health Paradoxes: Empirical Evidence, Explanations, Future Research, and Implications. In Rodriguez Havidan, Saenz Rogelio, and Menjivar Cecilia (Eds.), Latino/As in the United States: Changing the Face of America, pp. 101113. New York: Springer.
Acevedo-García Dolores, Soobader Mah-J, and Berkman Lisa F. (2007). Low Birthweight among U.S. Hispanic/Latino Subgroups: The Effect of Maternal Foreign-Born Status and Education. Social Science and Medicine, 65: 25032516.
Alcoff Linda Martin (2000). Is Latina/o Identity a Racial Identity? In Gracia Jorge J. E. and De Greiff Pablo (Eds.), Hispanics/Latinos in the United States: Ethnicity, Race, and Rights, pp. 2344. New York: Routledge.
Appelbaum Nancy P., Macpherson Anne S., and Rosemblatt Karin A. (2003). Racial Nations. In Appelbaum Nancy P., Macpherson Anne S., and Rosemblatt Karin A. (Eds.), Race & Nation in Modern Latin America, pp. 131. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press.
Barot Rohit and Bird John (2001). Racialization: The Genealogy and Critique of a Concept. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 24(4): 601618.
Bashi Vilna and McDaniel Antonio (1997). A Theory of Immigration and Racial Stratification. Journal of Black Studies, 27(5): 668682.
Bonilla-Silva Eduardo (2004). From Bi-Racial to Tri-Racial: Towards a New System of Racial Stratification in the U.S.A. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 27(6): 931950.
Borrell Luisa N. (2006). Self-Reported Hypertension and Race among Hispanics in the National Health Interview Survey. Ethnicity and Disease, 16: 7177.
Borrell Luisa N. and Crawford Natalie (2006). Race, Ethnicity, and Self-Rated Health Status in the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System Survey. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, 38(3): 387403.
Borrell Luisa N. and Dallo Florence (2008). Self-Rated Health and Race among Hispanic and Non-Hispanic Adults. Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, 10(3): 229238.
Carbado Devon W. (2005). Racial Naturalization. American Quarterly, 57(3): 633658.
Carter-Pokras Olivia and Zambrana Ruth E. (2001). Latino Health Status. In Aguirre-Molina Marilyn, Molina Carlos W., and Zambrana Ruth E. (Eds.), Health Issues in the Latino Community, pp. 2354. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Chomitz Virgina R., Cheung Lillian W.Y., and Lieberman Ellice (1995). The Role of Lifestyle in Preventing Low Birth Weight. The Future of Children, 5: 121138.
Colen Cynthia G. (2011). Addressing Racial Disparities in Health Using Life Course Perspectives: Toward a Constructive Criticism. Du Bois Review, 8(1): 7994.
Colen Cynthia G., Geronimus Arline T., Bound John, and James Sherman (2006). Maternal Upward Socioeconomic Mobility and Black-White Disparities in Infant Birthweight. American Journal of Public Health, 96(11): 20322039.
Crenshaw Carrie (1997). Resisting Whiteness' Rhetorical Silence. Western Journal of Communication, 61(3): 253278.
Dulitsky Ariel E. (2005). A Region in Denial: Racial Discrimination and Racism in Latin America. In Dzidzienyo Anani and Oboler Susan (Eds.), Neither Enemies nor Friends: Latinos, Blacks, Afro-Latinos, pp. 3960. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Engle William A. and the Committee on Fetus and Newborn (2008). Surfactant-Replacement Therapy for Respiratory Distress in the Preterm and Term Neonate. Pediatrics, 121: 419432.
Escarce Jose J., Morales Leo S., and Rumbaut Ruben G. (2006). The Health Status and Health Behaviors of Hispanics. In Tienda Marta and Mitchell Faith (Eds.), Hispanics and the Future of America, pp. 362409. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.
Fisher Sue and Groce Stephen B. (1985). Doctor-Patient Negotiation of Cultural Assumptions. Sociology of Health and Illness, 7(3): 342–74.
Forman Tyrone, Goar Carla, and Lewis Amanda E. (2004). Neither Black nor White?: An Empirical Test of the Latin Americanization Thesis. Race and Society, 5(1): 6584.
Franzini Luisa, Ribble John C., and Keddie Arlene M. (2001). Understanding the Hispanic Paradox. Ethnicity and Disease, 11: 496518.
Frisbie W. Parker, Forbes Douglas, and Hummer Robert A. (1998). Hispanic Pregnancy Outcomes: Additional Evidence. Social Science Quarterly, 79: 149169.
Frisbie W. Parker, Song Seung-eun, Powers Daniel A., and Street Julie A. (2004). The Increasing Racial Disparity in Infant Mortality: Respiratory Distress Syndrome and Other Causes. Demography, 41(4): 773800.
Fuentes-Afflick Elena and Lurie Peter (1997). Low Birth Weight and Latino Ethnicity. Examining the Epidemiologic Paradox. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, 151(7): 665674.
Geronimus Arline T. (1986). The Effects of Race, Residence, and Prenatal Care on the Relationship of Maternal Age to Neonatal Mortality. American Journal of Public Health, 76: 14161421.
Geronimus Arline T. (1987). On Teenage Childbearing and Neonatal Mortality in the United States. Population and Development Review, 13(2): 245279.
Geronimus Arline T. (1992). The Weathering Hypothesis and the Health of African American Women and Infants: Evidence and Speculations. Ethnicity and Disease, 2(3): 207221.
Geronimus Arline 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(4): 589597.
Geronimus Arline T. (2001). Understanding and Eliminating Racial Inequalities in Women's Health in the United States: The Role of the Weathering Conceptual Framework. Journal of the American Medical Women's Association, 56(4): 133136.
Geronimus Arline T., Bound John, Keene Danya, and Hicken Margaret (2007). Black-White Differences in Age Trajectories of Hypertension Prevalence among Adult Women and Men, 1999–2002. Ethnicity and Disease, 17(1): 4048.
Geronimus Arline T., Hicken Margaret, Keene Danya, and Bound John (2006). “Weathering” and Age-Patterns of Allostatic Load Scores among Blacks and Whites in the United States. American Journal of Public Health, 96(5): 826833.
Geronimus Arline T., Hicken Margaret T., Pearson Jay A., Seashols Sarah J., Brown Kelly L., and Cruz Tracey Dawson (2010). Do U.S. Black Women Experience Stress-Related Accelerated Biological Aging?: A Novel Theory and First Population-Based Test of Black-White Differences in Telomere Length. Human Nature, 21(1): 1938.
Geronimus Arline T. and Korenman Sanders (1993). Maternal Youth or Family Background?: On the Health Disadvantages of Infants with Teenage Mothers. American Journal of Epidemiology, 137(2): 213225.
Golash-Boza Tanya (2006). Dropping the Hyphen? Becoming Latino(a)-American through Racialized Assimilation. Social Forces, 85(1): 2755.
Henry Brenda L. (2007). Latinos and Race: An Overdue Examination into the Impact of Race on Latino Birth Outcomes. PhD Dissertation, Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, University of Michigan.
Holzman C., Eyster Janet, Kleyn Mary, Messer Lynn C., Kaufman Jay S., Laraia Barbara A., O'Campo Patricia, Burke Jessica G., Culhane Jennifer, and Elo Irma T. (2009). Maternal Weathering and Risk of Preterm Delivery. American Journal of Public Health, 99(10): 18641871.
Hummer Robert A., Powers Daniel A., Pullum Starling G., Gossman Ginger L., and Frisbie W. Parker (2007). Paradox Found (Again): Infant Mortality among the Mexican-Origin Population in the United States. Demography, 44(3): 441457.
Klein Herbert S. (1986). African Slavery in Latin American and the Caribbean. New York: Oxford University Press.
Kleinman Joel C. and Kessel Samuel S. (1987). Racial Differences in Low Birth Weight: Trends and Risk Factors. The New England Journal of Medicine, 317(12): 749753.
Koshy Susan (2001). Morphing Race into Ethnicity: Asian Americans and Critical Transformations of Whiteness. Boundary 2, 28(1): 153194.
Kotelchuck Milton (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(9): 14141420.
Landale Nancy S. and Oropesa Ralph S. (2005). What Does Skin Color Have to Do With Infant Health?: An Analysis of Low Birth Weight among Mainland and Island Puerto Ricans. Social Science and Medicine, 61(2): 379391.
Lillie-Blanton Marsha, Parsons P. Ellen, Gayle Helene, and Dievler Anne (1996). Racial Differences in Health: Not Just Black and White, But Shades of Gray. Annual Review of Public Health, 17(1): 411448.
Link Bruce G. and Phelan Jo (1995). Social Conditions as Fundamental Causes of Disease. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, (Extra Issue): 8094.
Link Bruce G. and Phelan Jo (1996). Understanding Sociodemographic Differences in Health: The Role of Fundamental Social Causes. American Journal of Public Health, 86: 471473.
Logan John R. (2003). How Race Counts for Hispanic Americans. ⟨http://mumford.albany.edu/census/blacklatinoreport/blacklatinoreport.pdf⟩ (accessed February 10, 2004).
Love Catherine, David Richard J., Rankin Kristin M., and Collins James W. (2010). Exploring Weathering: Effects of Lifelong Economic Environment and Maternal Age on Low Birth Weight, Small for Gestational Age, and Preterm Birth in African-American and White Women. American Journal of Epidemiology, 172(2): 127134.
Lu Michael C. and Halfon Neal (2003). Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Birth Outcomes: A Life-Course Perspective. Maternal and Child Health Journal, 7(1): 1330.
Malloy Michael H. and Freeman Daniel H. (2000). Respiratory Distress Syndrome Mortality in the United States, 1987 to 1995. Journal of Perinatology, 20(7): 414420.
Markides Kyriakos S. and Coreil Jeannine (1986). The Health of Hispanics in the Southwestern United States: An Epidemiologic Paradox. Public Health Reports, 101(3): 253265.
Markides Kyriakos S. and Eschbach Karl (2005). Aging, Migration and Mortality: Current Status of Research on the Hispanic Paradox. Journals of Gerontology, Series B: Social Sciences and Psychological Sciences, 60(Special Issue 2): S68S75.
Marotta Sylvia A. and Garcia Jorge G. (2003). Latinos in the United States in 2000. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, 25(1): 1334.
Martinez Elizabeth (1993). Beyond Black/White: The Racisms of Our Time. Social Justice, 20(1-2): 2234.
Martinot Steve (2003). The Rule of Racialization: Class, Identity, Governance. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press.
Massey Douglas S. and Bitterman Brooks (1985). Explaining the Paradox of Puerto Rican Segregation. Social Forces, 64(2): 306331.
Massey Douglas S. and Denton Nancy A. (1989). Hypersegregation in U.S. Metropolitan Areas: Black and Hispanic Segregation along Five Dimensions. Demography, 26(3): 373391.
Mays Vickie M., Ponce Ninez A., Washington Donna L., and Cochran Susan D. (2003). Classification of Race and Ethnicity: Implications for Public Health. Annual Review of Public Health, 24: 83110.
McKenney Nampeo R. and Bennett Claudette E. (1994). Issues Regarding Data on Race and Ethnicity: The Census Bureau Experience. Public Health Reports, 109(1): 1625.
Mintz Sidney W. (1989). Caribbean Transformations. New York: Columbia University Press.
O'Campo Patricia, Xue Xiaonan, Wang Mei-Cheng, and Caughy Margaret O'Brien (1997). Neighborhood Risk Factors for Low Birthweight in Baltimore: A Multilevel Analysis. American Journal of Public Health, 87(7): 11131118.
Osypuk Theresa L. and Acevedo-García Dolores (2008). Are Racial Disparities in Preterm Birth Larger in Hypersegregated Areas? American Journal of Epidemiology, 167(11): 12951304.
Palloni Alberto and Arias Elizabeth (2004). Paradox Lost: Explaining the Hispanic Adult Mortality Advantage. Demography, 41(3): 385415.
Palloni Alberto and Morenoff Jeffrey D. (2001). Interpreting the Paradoxical in the Hispanic Paradox: Demographic and Epidemiologic Approaches. The Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 954: 140174.
Pedraza-Bailey Silvia (1985). Political and Economic Migrants in America: Cubans and Mexicans. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press.
Portes Alejandro and Zhou Min (1993). The New Second Generation: Segmented Assimilation and its Variants. The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 530(1): 7496.
Rauh Virginia A., Andrews Howard F., and Garfinkel Robin S. (2001). The Contribution of Maternal Age to Racial Disparities in Birthweight: A Multilevel Perspective. American Journal of Public Health, 91(11): 18151824.
Reichman Nancy E. and Pagnini Deanna L. (1997). Maternal Age and Birth Outcomes: Data from New Jersey. Family Planning Perspectives, 29(6): 268–272, 295.
Rich-Edwards Janet W., Buka Stephen L., Brennan Robert T., and Earls Felton (2003). Diverging Associations of Maternal Age with Low Birthweight for Black and White Mothers. International Journal of Epidemiology, 32(1): 8390.
Rodriguez Clara E. (2000). Changing Race: Latinos, the Census, and the History of Ethnicity in the United States. New York: New York University Press.
Rosenwaike Ira M. (1987). Mortality Differentials among Persons Born in Cuba, Mexico, and Puerto Rico Residing in the United States, 1979–81. American Journal of Public Health, 77(5): 603606.
Schulman Kevin A., Berlin Jesse A., Harless William, Kerner Jon F., Sistrunk Shryl, Gersh Bernard J., Dube Ross, Taleghani Christopher K., Burke Jennifer E., Williams Sankey, Eisenberg John M., and Escarce Jose J. (1999). The Effect of Race and Sex on Physicians' Recommendations for Cardiac Catheterization. The New England Journal of Medicine, 340: 618626.
Scribner Richard (1996). Editorial: Paradox as Paradigm—the Health Outcomes of Mexican Americans. American Journal of Public Health, 86(3): 303305.
Sharfstein Daniel J. (2003). The Secret History of Race in the United States. The Yale Law Journal, 112(6): 14731509.
Singh Gopal K. and van Dyck Peter C. (2010). Infant Mortality in the United States, 1935–2007: Over Seven Decades of Progress and Disparities. A 75th Anniversary Publication. Health Resources and Services Administration, Maternal and Child Health Bureau. Rockville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Singh Gopal K. and Yu Stella M. (1996). Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes: Differences Between US- and Foreign-Born Women in Major US Racial and Ethnic Groups. American Journal of Public Health, 86: 837843.
Smedley Brian D., Stith Adrienne Y., and Nelson Alan R. (Eds.) (2003). Unequal Treatment: Confronting Racial Ethnic Disparities in Health Care. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.
Torres-Saillant Silvio (2005). Racism in the Americas and the Latino Scholar. In Dzidzienyo Anani and Oboler Suzanne (Eds.), Neither Enemies Nor Friends: Latinos, Blacks, Afro-Latinos, pp. 281304. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Valero de Bernabe Javier, Soriano Trinidad, Albaladejo Romana, Juarranz Margarita, Calle Marisa Elisa, Martinez David, and Dominquez-Roja Vicente (2004). Risk Factors for Low Birth Weight: A Review. European Journal of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Biology, 116(1): 315.
van Ryn Michelle and Fu Steven S. (2003). Paved with Good Intentions: Do Public Health and Human Service Providers Contribute to Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Health? American Journal of Public Health, 93(2): 248255.
Vega William A. and Amaro Hortensia (1994). Latino Outlook: Good Health, Uncertain Prognosis. Annual Review of Public Health, 15: 3967.
Wildsmith Elizabeth M. (2002). Testing the Weathering Hypothesis among Mexican Origin Women. Ethnicity and Disease, 12: 470479.
Yancey George (2003). Who Is White? Latinos, Asians, and the New Black/NonBlack Divide. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner.
Zhou Min (1997). Segmented Assimilation: Issues, Controversies, and Recent Research on the New Second Generation. International Migration Review, 31(4): 9751008.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Du Bois Review: Social Science Research on Race
  • ISSN: 1742-058X
  • EISSN: 1742-0598
  • URL: /core/journals/du-bois-review-social-science-research-on-race
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords:

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 5
Total number of PDF views: 33 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 214 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 22nd November 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.