The Impact of Acculturation and Racialization on Self-Rated Health Status Among U.S. Latinos

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We investigate the Hispanic paradox by examining the relationship between acculturation and health status of Latinos to understand nuances among this growing heterogeneous population using a 2011 Latino Decisions survey. We find that acculturation remains an important determinant of Latino health; however, this varies based on whether the sample is restricted to immigrants or includes all Latino adults and on the measures of acculturation employed. We find Latino citizens reported better health than non-citizens; however, other acculturation measures, such as language use and time in the U.S. do not have a marked effect. Furthermore, skin color matters only for U.S.-born Latinos. Racialization is therefore important to consider within the context of the Hispanic paradox. Our findings suggest that some of the disadvantages stemming from minority status in the U.S. are more prominent among Latinos who have greater experience with the racial hierarchy of the U.S. and greater acculturation more broadly.