Hispanic Baby Boomers: Golden Years Not So Golden

By EGP News Report

The old adage “healthy, wealthy, and wise” appears to be more of a fantasy than a reality for aging Latino Baby Boomers, according to Cal State L.A.’s Professor of Social Work Valentine M. Villa, the lead author on a research article recently published in a special issue of “The Gerontologist.”

“Latino Baby Boomers are likely to experience health and economic inequities similar to their parents as they enter the ranks of the elderly population,” according to Villa and his colleagues.

The research article is the first comprehensive analysis of the health of the Hispanic Baby Boom population, according to a Cal State L.A. statement announcing the article.

Latino Baby Boomers, born between 1946 and 1964 (ages 43-61), are more likely than their non-Hispanic white peers to report poorer health across all health indicators, including diabetes, obesity, functional difficulties and self-rated health, according to the article. Lower education rates and higher levels of poverty are contributing factors, according to Villa, who is also director of the Applied Gerontology Institute at CSULA and a resident of Alhambra.

The researchers used data from the 2007 California Health Interview Survey to come up with their findings.

They note that makeup of the U.S. elderly population will shift over the next 40 years, with Hispanics increasing from their current 7 percent, or 2.9 million of the individuals over 65, to 20 percent, or 17.5 million of the estimated 80 million seniors by 2050.

The majority of elderly Latinos will be of Mexican origin — U.S.-born Mexicans, naturalized Mexican immigrants, and noncitizen Mexican immigrants — and “Little is Little is known about the health status of this population.”

As a group, they do not share the same advantages of health, income, and educational attainment enjoyed by U.S.-born non-Hispanic whites. The cumulative impact of these disparities “are likely to result in continued or worse health disparities,” according to the article, “Hispanic Baby Boomers: Health Inequities Likely to Persist in Old Age,” published in March of this year.

The article’s authors dispute the notion that the next generation of the elderly will need fewer aging programs and services.

“Reductions in federal entitlement programs for the elderly adults that delay eligibility, scale back programs and services, or increase costs to consumers may exacerbate those inequities,” they state.

To refer to the published article, click here: http://www.calstatela.edu/academic/hhs/PDF/new/GeronBabyBoom.pdf

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May 3, 2012  Copyright © 2012 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.

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