Hispanic women who identify as Black or another race have worse functional health than their counterparts who identify as White, according to new research. This research is part of a new special issue of Research on Aging (ROA, a journal from SAGE Publishing) focused on aging and health among Hispanic populations in the United States and in Latin America.
Looking at data from 42,908 U.S. Hispanic women, ages 18-85, from 1997 to 2011, Chinn and Hummer examined the relationship between race and certain functional limitations related to the body -- inabilities or difficulties in performing daily activities such as bending or kneeling, walking a quarter mile, grasping objects, etc. The researchers found that:
- Among those born in the U.S., Hispanic women who identify as Black have a 31% higher rate of functional limitations than those who identify as White while those who identify as other races have a 22% higher rate of functional limitations.
- Among the women born outside of the U.S., Hispanic women who identify as White have a 1.5 % lower rate of functional limitations relative to other race Hispanic women and a 2.6% lower rate of functional limitations relative to Hispanic women who identify as Black Hispanic, despite different geographic or socioeconomic conditions.
- Over 25% of the U.S.-born Hispanic women who identify as Black reported living below the poverty line while about 16% of U.S.-born Hispanic women who identify as White or other races reported living in poverty.
- U.S.-born Hispanic women living below the poverty level had a 74% higher rate of functional limitations compared to Hispanic women not living in poverty.
Chinn and Hummer continued, "Racial identity--or at least the distinction between identifying as Black or White--may have particular salience for the health of Hispanic adults among the second and higher generations. One strong possibility for this is that U.S.-born Black Hispanics simply have greater exposure to the harsh reality of being Black in American society than foreign-born Black Hispanics."