National Institute on Aging

Study Finds That Minority Elders Are Healthier in Ethnically Dense Communities

A new study published in the American Journal of Public Health find that Black and Hispanic seniors who live in neighborhoods with large minority populations are healthier than seniors who live in more racially mixed neighborhoods. The study of nearly 2,800 African Americans and more than 2,300 Mexican Americans found lower rates of cancer and heart disease among those who lived in predominantly minority neighborhoods.

Kimberly Alvarez, a Ph.D. student at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University and a co-author of the study, stated, “Living in the barrio or ethnically dense communities isn’t always bad for your health. For older minority adults, it’s actually the reverse..”

Co-author Becca Levy, associate professor of epidemiology and psychology at the Yale School of Public Health adds, “Communities with high ethnic diversity may be more likely to share values like respect for elders and have close-knit family structures.”


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  1. This concept is not new. It is one of the explanations for why countries with more homogenous populations live longer. Also, we know that discrimination is stressful and stress kills. This is a significant explanation for why hypertension and strokes are so high in non-white populations.

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