Objectives: The purpose of this study was to assess the mortality pattern of the adult Hispanic population in the United States.
Methods: This was a cohort study using data from the National Health Interview Survey from 1986 through 1990. Deaths were ascertained by matching the National Death Index through 1991.
Results: This representative national sample included 297,640 non-Hispanic Whites, 53,552 Blacks, and 27,239 Hispanics, all aged 18 years or older at baseline. Different matching criteria resulted in modest differential estimates of the number of deaths by ethnic groups; these differences were quantitatively more important for Hispanics. Overall age-standardized mortality was lower among Hispanics. A prominent age by race interaction was apparent. The Hispanic: White mortality ratio was 1.33, 0.92, and 0.76 among men aged 18 through 44, 45 through 64, and 65 and older, respectively. Among women in the same age groups the Hispanic: White mortality ratio was 1.22, 0.75, and 0.70, respectively.
Conclusions: Longitudinal cohorts provide an important source of health status information on Hispanics. These results suggest that overall mortality is lower among Hispanics than among non-Hispanic Whites, especially in the oldest age group. Among younger and middle-aged persons, the mortality of Hispanics is similar to or even higher than that of Whites.