ies have not systematically assessed the health outcomes of infants of immigrant women from other national origins (see Cabral et al., 1990; Rumbaut and Weeks, 1989, 1996; and Singh and Yu, 1996, for exceptions). Thus, the extent to which the epidemiological paradox is characteristic of most or only a few immigrant groups has not been established.

The present study addresses this issue using data from the 1989, 1990, and 1991 Linked Birth/Infant Death Datasets (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1995). The relationship between maternal nativity (U.S. versus foreign birthplace) and infant health is examined in a number of Latino and Asian groups, including Mexicans, Cubans, Puerto Ricans,1 Central/ South Americans, Chinese, Filipinos, Japanese, and other Asian/ Pacific Islanders.

BACKGROUND

Over the past several decades, both the number and the diversity of U.S. immigrants have increased sharply (Portes and Rumbaut, 1996). Since the mid-1980s, about 1 million legal immigrants have been admitted to the United States each year (U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1996). These new immigrants have come primarily from countries in Asia and Latin America. In 1993, for example, about 40 percent were from Asia and 37 percent were from Latin America and the Caribbean. The major Asian source countries are mainland China, the Philippines, Vietnam, India, and Korea. Major origin countries in Latin America and the Caribbean include Mexico, the Dominican Republic, and El Salvador.

The recency of immigration from Asia and Latin America is evident in the high proportion of U.S.-born infants who have foreign-born mothers. Although 18 percent of all U.S. births are to foreign-born women, 62 percent of Latino births and 85 per-

1  

Puerto Ricans are not an immigrant group per se because of the commonwealth status of the island of Puerto Rico. Nonetheless, because they are one of the largest Hispanic groups in the United States, we include them in the analysis for comparative purposes. For Puerto Ricans the ''foreign born" are those born in Puerto Rico.



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