The startling report released Wednesday is the strongest evidence yet of the “Hispanic paradox” — long life expectancy for a population that has a large share of poor, undereducated members. A leading theory is that Hispanics who manage to immigrate to the U.S. are among the healthiest from their countries.
A Hispanic born in 2006 could expect to live about 80 years and seven months, the government estimates. Life expectancy for a white is about 78, and for a black, just shy of 73 years.
Until recently, federal researchers didn’t calculate life expectancy for Hispanics as a separate group; they were included among the black and white populations. The report is based on death certificates.
By breaking out the longer-living Hispanics, the life expectancies for non-Hispanic whites and blacks both declined slightly, said the report’s author, Elizabeth Arias of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
An estimated 40 percent of the U.S. Hispanic population are people born in other countries who immigrated here, and in some cases they arrived after arduous journeys to do taxing manual labor. It takes a fit person to accomplish that, suggesting that the United States is gaining some of the healthiest people born in Mexico and other countries, said Dr. Peter Muennig, an assistant professor at Columbia University’s school of public health who has studied life expectancy in different countries.
The CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics released the new report Wednesday.