Mortality Differences by Race, Ethnicity, and Nativity: Estimates from California

Hans Johnson, Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC)
Joseph M. Hayes, Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC)

The most basic measures of a population’s health – mortality rates and life expectancies – have not been estimated by nativity (U.S. born and foreign born)for many ethnic groups in California or the nation. In this paper, we combine California administrative records on deaths with census population counts to develop mortality rates for twenty different groups in California. We find substantial differences in life expectancies between men and women, between U.S. natives and immigrants, and across racial and ethnic groups in California. Differences by nativity vary tremendously across racial and ethnic groups, with foreign-born blacks and Mexican males having the largest advantage over their native born co-ethnics. Indeed, U.S. born Mexican males have lower life expectancies than white males, while foreign-born Mexican males have longer life expectancies than white males. Among some Asian groups, U.S. natives outlive immigrants. The paper considers uncertainties due to data limitations.

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Presented in Poster Session 1: Aging, Life Course, Health, Mortality, and Health Care