Sociology, Department of


Date of this Version



Published in The Journals of Gerontology: Series B (2019)



Copyright © 2019 Adriana M. Reyes and Marc A. Garcia. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Gerontological Society of America. Used by permission


Objectives: Using a gendered life course perspective, we examine whether the relationship between age of migration and mortality is moderated by gender among a cohort of older Mexican-Americans.

Methods: Data from the Hispanic Established Populations for the Epidemiological Study of the Elderly and recently matched mortality data are used to estimate Cox proportional hazard models.

Results: Our findings indicate the relationship between age of migration and mortality is moderated by gender suggesting a more nuanced perspective of the immigrant mortality paradox. Among men, midlife migrants exhibit an 18 percent lower risk of mortality compared to their U.S.-born co-ethnics, possibly due to immigrant selectivity at the time of migration. Conversely, late-life migrant women exhibit a 17 percent lower risk of mortality relative to U.S.-born women, attributed in part to socio-cultural characteristics that influence lifestyle risk factors across the life course.

Discussion: Selection mechanisms and acculturation processes associated with the immigrant experience are contingent on both age and gender suggesting the utility of an integrated life course approach to contextualize the mortality profiles of older immigrants. These findings demonstrate the heterogeneity among immigrants and highlight the need to understand gender differences in the migration process when assessing the immigrant mortality paradox.