Elderly Living Arrangements Ethnic Comparisons

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Latino elderly are more likely to live in the community and less likely to be institutionalized than white elderly. In a recent National Nursing Home Survey, out of a total of 1.5 million elderly cared for in nursing homes, 2.7% were Latino, 7.8% were African American, and 89.5% were white. In addition, Latino elderly are less likely to live in homes for the aged than white and African American elderly (Cubillos & Prieto, 1987). For example, the ratio of white females 75 or over (12.4%) cared for in nursing homes was more than twice as great as the proportion of Latinos the same age (5.4%).

Latinos are less likely to live alone and more likely to live with family members than white and African American elderly. Over three-fourths (76.6%) of Latino elderly lived with family, compared with two-thirds (67.5%) of white elderly and approximately 6 out of 10 African American elderly (63.1%) (U.S. Bureau of the Census, 1990b). About 2 out of 10 elderly Latinos (22.0%) lived alone, compared to 3 out of 10 white elderly (30.6%), and one-third of African American elderly (33.4%) (U.S. Bureau of the Census, 1990b).

Latino elderly are more likely than other elderly to live in a multigenerational family where the child is the householder. In 1989, Latino elderly were less likely to be householders (60.2%) than white (70.7%) and African American (68.1%) elderly. Moreover, a larger percentage of elderly Latinos (38.7%) were nonhouseholders living with family members than white (30.7%) or African American (27.5%) elderly (U.S. Bureau of the Census, 1990b).

Latino elderly are less likely than other senior citizens to own their homes. In 1987, three out of four senior citizens owned their homes, but a disproportionate percentage of homeowners were white. More than three-fourths of white elderly owned homes (77%), while a little more than half of Latino elderly (56%) and more than three-fifths of African American (62%) were homeowners (U.S. Bureau of the Census & Department of Housing and Urban Development, 1989).

A 1988 survey (Westat, 1989) found that 22.4% of elderly Latinos lived alone, 48.7% lived with their spouse, and 28.9% lived with others. Respondents living with their spouse were more likely to own homes (65%) than those living alone (44%) or with others (34%). Respondents living alone were most likely to rent (52%), compared to those living with a spouse (31%) or with others (40%). A comparison of housing occupied by Latino elderly shows that those living with their spouse were more likely to live in a house (75%) than those living with others (71%) or living alone (48%). Latino elderly living alone were most likely to live in an apartment (48%), compared to those living with a spouse (22%) or those living with others (28%) (Westat, 1989, table 2-6).

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