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

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.

Corresponding author
Brenda Liz Henry-Sanchez, Senior Program Officer, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Route 1 and College Road East, Princeton, NJ 08543. E-mail:
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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.

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Du Bois Review: Social Science Research on Race
  • ISSN: 1742-058X
  • EISSN: 1742-0598
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