Neighborhood context and mortality among older Mexican Americans: is there a barrio advantage?

Am J Public Health. 2004 Oct;94(10):1807-12. doi: 10.2105/ajph.94.10.1807.


Objectives: We examined whether Mexican Americans living in high-density Mexican American neighborhoods experience increased morbidity and mortality compared with the rates observed among Mexican Americans living in low-density areas.

Methods: We conducted a prospective analysis of a cohort of 3050 Mexican Americans aged 65 years or older. We examined prevalence of 6 medical conditions and survival over 7 years of follow-up in relation to percentage of Mexican Americans in the census tract.

Results: With adjustment for covariates, odds for disease prevalence among older Mexican Americans as a function of percentage of Mexican Americans in the census tract were 0.33 (95% confidence interval [CI]=0.16, 0.71) for stroke, 0.28 (95% CI= 0.11, 0.70) for cancer, and 0.31 (95% CI=0.10, 0.98) for hip fracture. The hazard ratio for all-cause mortality over 7 years' follow-up was 0.64 (95% CI=0.42, 0.96).

Conclusions: Sociocultural advantages conferred on Mexican Americans by living in high-density Mexican American neighborhoods outweigh the disadvantages conferred by the high poverty of those neighborhoods.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mexican Americans*
  • Mortality / trends*
  • Poverty Areas
  • Prevalence
  • Prospective Studies
  • Residence Characteristics*
  • Risk Factors
  • Social Environment
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Southwestern United States / epidemiology