Religion, Aging and International Migration: Evidence from the Mexican Health and Aging Survey

Margarita A. Mooney, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The U.S. Bureau of the Census predicts that, between 2000 and 2025, the elderly population of Latin America (aged 65 and up) will grow by 82%. In Mexico 10% of the population currently lives in the United States, whereas many of their parents remain in Mexico. Using data from the Mexican Health and Aging Study (MHAS) I examine the relationship between international migration and the health of elderly Mexicans. I find a positive relationship between the respondents’ mental health and having previously been a migrant to the United States. However, having children currently living in the United States has a negative impact on the mental health of elderly Mexicans. My analyses also show that the relationship between mental health and migration differs for older female Mexicans compared to older male Mexicans. Subsequent analyses for this paper will examine if religiosity mediates the relationship between mental health and migration.

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Presented in Poster Session 5