Sociology, Department of


Document Type


Date of this Version



Published in final edited form as: J Aging Health. 2018 July ; 30(6): 965–986. doi:10.1177/0898264317703560.


HHS Public Access Author manuscript J Aging Health. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2019 July 01.


Objective—To describe differences in cognitive functioning across rural and urban areas among older Mexican adults.

Method—We include respondents aged 50+ in the 2012 Mexican Health and Aging Study (MHAS). Cognitive functioning by domain is regressed as a function of community size. The role of educational attainment in explaining rural/urban differences in cognitive functioning is examined.

Results—Respondents residing in more rural areas performed worse across five cognitive domains. The majority, but not all, of the association between community size and cognitive functioning was explained by lower education in rural areas.

Discussion—Respondents residing in more rural areas were disadvantaged in terms of cognitive functioning compared with those residing in more urban areas. Poorer cognitive functioning in late life may be the result of historical educational disadvantage in rural areas or selection through migration from rural to urban regions for employment.