Childhood Disadvantage, Gender and Health of Older Immigrants in the United States

Zoya Gubernskaya, University at Albany, State University of New York (SUNY)
Seulki Kim , University at Albany, State University of New York (SUNY)

Research on health disparities in later life increasingly emphasizes long-lasting consequences of early childhood experiences. Although the associations between childhood disadvantage and health outcomes in later life are robust, little is known about the relationship between early life conditions and health among the older immigrant populations. The paper uses panel data from the 1992-2014 Health and Retirement Study (HRS) to test whether and how the association between childhood disadvantage and health in later life varies by nativity. The results show that compared to U.S.-born older adults, immigrants are more likely to report poor self-rated health (SRH) and experience poverty during childhood. Childhood disadvantage is a strong predictor of poor SRH and developing chronic conditions in later life among the U.S.- and foreign-born alike. However, the relationship between childhood disadvantage and subsequent health is weaker among the foreign-born men than among the U.S.-born men. No such differences are found among women.

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 Presented in Session 114. The Life Course Origins of Self-rated Health