Assimilation and Emerging Health Disparities among New Generations of US Children

by Erin R. Hamilton, Jodi Berger Cardoso, Robert A. Hummer, and Yolanda C. Padilla
in Demographic Research, Volume 25 (2011), 1-38

This article shows that the prevalence of four common child health conditions increases across generations (from first-generation immigrant children to second-generation U.S.-born children of immigrants to third-and-higher-generation children) within each of four major U.S. racial/ethnic groups. In the third-plus generation, black and Hispanic children have higher rates of nearly all conditions. Health care, socioeconomic status, parents’ health, social support, and neighborhood conditions influence child health and help explain third-and-higher-generation racial/ethnic disparities. However, these factors do not explain the generational pattern. The generational pattern may reflect cohort changes, selective ethnic attrition, unhealthy assimilation, or changing responses to survey questions among immigrant groups.

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