Sociology, Department of


Date of this Version



Published (as Chapter 12) in W. A. Vega, J. L. Angel, L. M. F. Gutiérrez Robledo, & K. S. Markides, eds., Contextualizing Health and Aging in the Americas, (Springer, 2019), pp 249–269.

doi 10.1007/978-3-030-00584-9_12


© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019. Used by permission.


Although research has documented better health and longer life expectancy among the foreign-born relative to their U.S.-born counterparts, the U.S. Mexican-origin immigrant population is diverse and the healthy immigrant effect likely varies by key structural and demographic factors such as gender, migration history, and duration in the United States. Using a life course framework, we use data from the Hispanic Established Populations for the Epidemiologic Study of the Elderly (H-EPESE 1993–2013) which includes Mexican-American individuals aged 65 and older to assess the heterogeneity in the immigrant health advantage by age of migration and gender. We find that age of migration is an important delineating factor for disability among both men and women. The healthy immigrant hypothesis is only observable among mid- and late-life migrant men for ADL disability. While among immigrant women, late-life migrants are more likely to have an IADL disability putting them at a health disadvantage. These findings illustrate that Mexican immigrants are not a homogeneous group and migrant health selectivity depends on both gender and when migrants arrived in the United States.