Sociology, Department of


Date of this Version



J Aging Health. 2015 October ; 27(7): 1247–1265


HHS Public Access



Objective—This study examines the potential effects of nativity and acculturation on active life expectancy (ALE) among Mexican-origin elders.

Method—We employ 17 years of data from the Hispanic Established Population for the Epidemiologic Study of the Elderly to calculate ALE at age 65 with and without disabilities.

Results—Native-born males and foreign-born females spend a larger fraction of their elderly years with activities of daily living (ADL) disability. Conversely, both foreign-born males and females spend a larger fraction of their remaining years with instrumental activities of daily life (IADL) disability than the native-born. In descriptive analysis, women with low acculturation report higher ADL and IADL disability. Men manifest similar patterns for IADLs.

Discussion—Although foreign-born elders live slightly longer lives, they do so with more years spent in a disabled state. Given the rapid aging of the Mexican-origin population, the prevention and treatment of disabilities, particularly among the foreign born, should be a major public health priority.