Mortality of Hispanic Populations: Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, and Cubans in the United States and in the Home Countries

Mortality of Hispanic Populations: Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, and Cubans in the United States and in the Home Countries

Mortality of Hispanic Populations: Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, and Cubans in the United States and in the Home Countries

Mortality of Hispanic Populations: Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, and Cubans in the United States and in the Home Countries

Synopsis

Although recent studies have increased our knowledge of the demographic characteristics and culture of this multiethnic population, until now there has been no comprehensive discussion of the Hispanic mortality experience, a potential key to assessing the relative health status of Spanish-origin subgroups in American society. Addressing the pressing need for more accurate, current, and comprehensive data for specific ethnic groups, this volume presents coherent research on the mortality patterns of the three largest Hispanic subgroups and, in the process, helps dispel many anecdotal and romanticized notions about Hispanic health and illness.

Excerpt

Ira Rosenwaike

Hispanics in the United States, numbering 14.6 million at the 1980 census, are the nation's second largest and fastest growing minority population. Recent studies (Tienda and Ortiz, 1986; Melville, 1988; Rosenwaike, 1987; Bean and Tienda, 1987) have increased our knowledge of the demographic characteristics and culture of this multiethnic population, yet, to date, there has been no comprehensive discussion of the Hispanic mortality experience, a potential key to assessing the relative health status of Spanish-origin subgroups in American society.

The purpose of this volume is to present a work of coherent research on the mortality patterns of the three largest Hispanic subgroups and, in the process, help dispel many anecdotal and romanticized notions about Hispanic health and illness.

The Hispanic population under consideration is young, highly urbanized, and multiracial, but it has no firm, collective identity, despite strong lingual and cultural links. It is, for the most part, a population originating in twentieth-century immigration, consisting of distinct subgroups, each concentrated in a different region of the country, each with its own socioeconomic profile.

The concept of a generalized Hispanic minority stems more from governmental agency designation and Anglo-American perceptions than from any collective initiative by the subgroups themselves (Portes and Truelove, 1987). Indeed, the very word "Hispanic" was and is a rubric used by researchers and bureaucrats to simplify dealings with the Spanish-origin subgroups. It is a term that should be used advisedly, lest unwarranted . . .

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