Explaining the Latino Asthma Advantage: The Role of Neighborhood Social Context
Kathleen A. Cagney, University of Chicago
Christopher Browning, Ohio State University
Danielle Wallace, University of Chicago
The relative advantage of Foreign-born Latinos with respect to health has been observed for both mortality and morbidity. The explanation of this paradox has remained elusive. We examine the extent to which the Latino paradox exists for asthma prevalence. We then explore the role of neighborhood social context in understanding any observed Latino advantage. Theories of social organization, collective efficacy, and the urban ethnic enclave are invoked. We combine the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods-Community Survey with two other data sources and employ Hierarchical Generalized Linear Modeling techniques. We find a distinctly graded effect for asthma prevalence among Foreign-born Latinos, depending upon community composition—Foreign-born Latinos embedded in a neighborhood with a high percentage of Foreign-born residents experience significantly lower asthma prevalence while those in communities with a low percentage have the highest prevalence overall. The Latino advantage with respect to asthma only accrues when it is socially leveraged.