The effects of Labor market experiences on health outcomes for older Puerto Ricans

Abstract

Employment disruptions, type of employment, and socioeconomic uncertainty, have diverging health consequences for Hispanic workers in the U.S. (Strully, 2009). Puerto Ricans represent the second largest Hispanic group in the US, after Mexican-Americans (US Census Bureau, 2004) and the largest in the Northeast. Yet, the health indicators for Puerto Ricans are significantly worse than for the other Hispanic origin subgroups (Tucker, et al 2010; Hajat et al 2000). Longitudinal data on a cohort of Puerto Ricans in the Boston area aged 45-75 showed a substantial increase in the incidence of diabetes, heart disease and depression over a two-year period. Given this poorer health profile, we are interested in examining the impact of type of work and of time spent in the labor market on health outcomes at older age. We use data from the Boston Puerto Rican Health Study, 1500 participants aged 45- 75 years of age living in the greater Boston area (Tucker et al., 2010). The relationship between employment history, changes in employment status, and poor health outcomes (health problems, depression, etc.) is analyzed using ANOVA and Generalized Linear Models using SAS version 9.2 software. Controls for sociodemographic characteristics and migration history are included. Findings suggest that shorter time spent in the labor market and work interruptions have negative consequences for health outcomes later in life. Findings from this type of work are important to understanding and affecting change on racial and socioeconomic health disparities among minority populations.