Selection vs. Protection, Composition vs. Context: Identifying the Mechanisms of Favorable Barrio “Effects” on Mexican-American Health

Fernando Riosmena, University of Colorado, Boulder
Emily Steiner, University of Colorado, Boulder
Jamie L. Humphrey, University of Colorado, Boulder
Elisabeth D. Root, University of Colorado, Boulder

Coethnic concentration/isolation/segregation are positively associated with Mexican-American health. This is puzzling because many Mexican-American communities are disadvantaged and as clustering is generally negatively associated with health in other disadvantaged communities. As such, it remains unclear whether positive barrio “effects” are an artifact of the composition of enclaves due to selective in- our out-migration, or if they are true proxies for advantages conferred by living close to coethnics. We assess selection vs. different forms of protection on Mexican American adult health from the 2005-2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey merged with contextual data from the 2005-2009 American Community Survey (ACS). We will assess selection vs. protection using propensity score matching and other tests. We also use a more flexible, distance-buffer-based definition of residential environments. Preliminary results confirm the presence of a barrio “effect” on national data and points to a stronger signal among immigrants than the U.S.-born.

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 Presented in Session P5. Adult Health and Mortality