Unemployment and Mental Health among Mexican Immigrants and Other Population Groups in the United States

Maritza Caicedo Riascos, Edwin van Gameren


We analyze the impact of unemployment on the mental health of Mexican immigrants, comparing them with Mexicans born in the United States, other Hispanics, and white and African-American natives, using the 1999 and 2009 National Health Interview Surveys. Noteworthy is the low prevalence of mental health disorders among Mexican immigrants. Despite strongly increased unemployment rates, mental health problems remained rather stable; nevertheless—while accounting for the possibility of bidirectional causality using instrumental variables—our findings suggest a strong negative effect of unemployment on mental health. Group composition effects help to explain this. The impact of unemployment on mental health
strongly increased among native whites while for the socioeconomically more disadvantaged African-Americans and Hispanics the impact was unchanged.

Palabras clave

Unemployment; mental health; Latin-Americans in the US; Mexican immigrants; causal analysis.



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