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Health - Health Care, Pregnancy And Birth, Diseases And Minority Populations, Aids, Behaviors That Threaten Health

hispanics hispanic americans age

The demographic profiles of non-Hispanic African-Americans, Hispanics, Asian-Americans, Pacific Islanders, Native Americans, and Alaska Natives differ considerably from those of the nonminority population. Because a high percentage of minorities live in urban areas, they are exposed to a greater number of environmental hazards, including pollution, traffic hazards, substandard and/or overcrowded housing, and crime. Occupational risks are also greater for minorities because a greater percentage of them are employed in potentially dangerous jobs. Poverty, which is experienced disproportionately by African-Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans and Alaska Natives, leads to poor nutrition, poor housing conditions, and poor access to health care. In addition, the amount of stress involved in facing daily discrimination and changing cultural environments as well as the lack of resources for solving stressful situations can play a critical role in the mental health of minority groups.

As a whole, Hispanics enjoy better health on a variety of measures than do non-Hispanic whites, despite Hispanics' disadvantaged position, higher poverty rates, lower educational attainment, and the obstacles to health care that they encounter. This is most likely due in part to the fact that Hispanics in the United States are younger than the non-Hispanic white population. More than a third (34.4%) of Hispanics were under the age of eighteen in 2002, compared with 22.8% of non-Hispanic whites. Conversely, only 5.1% of Hispanics were age sixty-five or older, compared with 14.4% of non-Hispanic whites. (See Figure 6.1.) In The Hispanic Population in the United States: March 2002 (June 2003,, Roberto R. Ramirez and G. Patricia de la Cruz explain that this age differential is partly due to the higher fertility rate of Hispanics and partly to their recent immigration status—younger people tend to immigrate; in 2002 four out of ten Hispanics in the United States were foreign born.

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