Hispanic Paradox in North Carolina: Explaining the Favorable Birth Weight Profile of Children Born to Foreign Born Hispanic Mothers Public Deposited

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  • March 19, 2019
  • Fishman, Samuel
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Sociology
  • Much research finds that Hispanic Americans have similar health outcomes to non-Hispanic white Americans despite facing discrimination and having relatively low socioeconomic statuses. In the context of this “Hispanic Paradox”, this paper documents the effects of race and ethnicity on birth weight in North Carolina, exploring several maternal health behaviors and conditions that could account for the favorable birth outcomes of Hispanics (vis-à-vis other groups). I use data from the North Carolina Birth Certificates, information on 901,873 first parity, singleton births between 1990 and 2009. While previous research finds similar rates of low birth weight among Hispanics and non-Hispanic whites, my research finds that foreign born Hispanic mothers have a lower risk of low, very low, and high birth weight than do non-Hispanic white mothers. Foreign born Hispanic mothers’ favorable birth weight profile stems from longer pregnancies and lower rates of prenatal smoking relative to non-Hispanic white mothers.
Date of publication
Resource type
Rights statement
  • In Copyright
  • Harris, Kathleen Mullan
  • Morgan, S. Philip
  • Hummer, Robert
  • Master of Arts
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School
Graduation year
  • 2016

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