Gender and Racial Differences in the Health of Older People (60+) in Brazil

Susan De Vos, University of Wisconsin at Madison
Luisa Schwartzman, University of Wisconsin at Madison

This paper examines racial and gender differences in health among elderly (60+) people in Brazil using 1998 national household survey micro-data (PNAD). Despite the possibly inherent contradictions in doing so, we find that the health (more literally functional ability) of Black and Brown elders, or of elderly women, is not as good as the health of elderly Whites or men. Furthermore, it appears that racial differences can be explained by socioeconomic factors but that gender differences cannot. In the process of this exploration, we delve into issues of comparatively indicating health and imputing marital status. Although we found no evidence that there is an additional health disadvantage to being Black or Brown AND female, we strongly urge future health research to consider gender and socioeconomic differentials together rather than only separately, as is often the case.

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Presented in Session 48: Race, Gender, Aging, and Health