Disparities in cognitive functioning of U.S. older adults by race and Hispanic origin

Carlos Diaz-Venegas, Max-Planck Institute for Demographic Research
Brian Downer, University of Texas at Galveston
Kenneth M. Langa, University of Michigan
Rebeca Wong, University of Texas at Galveston

Objective: Examine differences in cognition for older adults in the U.S. stratifying by race and Hispanic origin. Data/Methods: The final sample includes 18,982 participants aged 50 or older who received a modified version of the Telephone Interview for Cognitive Status during the 2010 Health and Retirement Study. Ordinary Least Squares will be used to examine differences in overall cognition according to gender, race, and Hispanic origin. Results: Cognition declined with age for all race/ethnicity groups. Non-Hispanic white, non-Hispanic black, Cuban, and other Hispanic women have higher scores compared to males while the scores for the rest of the races and ethnic groups favor men by a narrow margin. Mexican older adults exhibited higher scores than Puerto Ricans but lower than Cubans and other Hispanics Discussion: Our results highlight the relationship between race/ethnicity, gender, and cognition. The unique social and cultural characteristics of Hispanic sub-populations may contribute to differences in cognition.

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Presented in Session 28: Health disparities and well-being at older ages