The term ‘Hispanics’ is used to refer to people who are Spanish in origin that came from places such as Latin America, Europe, Caribbean and many other places. This ethnic group has diversity when it comes to their socioeconomic status, race, nativity, U.S. citizenship status and migration experiences. According to the 2000 Census, there are about 32.8 million people living in the country who have been identified as Hispanic. Of course, this includes varying races such as Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, etc.
When referred to as a population, Hispanics are relatively younger than the white American population in the U.S. Generally, this ethnic group is also poor. Their stature is better than the African Americans but still they are experiencing high rates of poverty compared to non-Hispanic whites. Hispanics are continually facing structural challenges to improve their economic status.
For one, a large portion of their population is still isolated from high-paying jobs because they live in inner cities. They are also one of the educationally disadvantaged groups living in the country. Furthermore, Hispanics are unaware of the many health issues that concern their community as they lack professional help and have disparities in educational attainment.
Health Status of Hispanics
Mortality. Compared to African Americans, Hispanics have a lower age-adjusted mortality rate even though they have disparities in education, employment and health care. In some cases, they also have lower rates than non-Hispanic whites. Heart disease, stroke and cancer are few of the most common causes of death among this ethnic group. They are also accident prone, especially the young ones. They have a number of similarities with non-Hispanic whites and blacks when it comes to diseases that they incur.
Fertility and infant outcomes. The Hispanic community living in the U.S. has a very interesting pattern when it comes to this issue. They tend to have larger family sizes as compared to non-Hispanic whites and blacks. They also have high percentages for young pregnancies and unmarried mothers. Both situations are often used as proxies for relative disadvantage. In general, the fertility profile of Mexican Americans suggest significant disadvantages because they have larger families, limited resources, high percentage rates of unmarried and young pregnancies and poorly educated mothers. But they do have slightly favorable birth outcomes than non-Hispanic whites and blacks.
Morbidity. The morbidity data for Hispanics of Cuban, Mexican and other related descent does not fall far from their mortality rate. They have lower prevalence of functional limitations than non-Hispanic whites. This is something worth noting because Latinos are known to have numerous disadvantages that negatively affect their well-being. This is referred to as the epidemiological paradox – despite the disparities among the Hispanic community which often leads to discrimination, they have lower rates of morbidity as compared to the privileged population of the non-Hispanic whites.