Methods: This study utilized cross-sectional data from the 2004 Immigration and Intergenerational Mobility in Metropolitan Los Angeles Survey, which included responses from self-identified African Americans (n=445), Asians (n=1,698), Latinos (n=1,808) and non-Hispanic whites (n=704) respondents. In addition to controlling for age and martial status, socioeconomic variables included: education, income, savings or checking account status, homeownership, and ownership of mutual funds, stocks, or 401ks. The outcome measure, self-rated health, is considered a quality global evaluation of a person's health and is also considered a more influential predictor of mortality compared to other objective health measures. Multinomial logistic regression techniques estimated how each factor predicts the probability of being in one category of health status versus another for every racial and ethnic group. In this study, the “poor” category served as the reference group.
Results: Results of the multinomial regression equation suggest that racial and ethnic differences exist in determining how SES shapes health. Among African Americans, income, and age were significant, but homeownership played a much more significant role. Among Asians, only income and age significantly predicted health status. Among Latinos, income and age were significant predictors, however, owning a checking account had the strongest association with health status. Among non-Hispanic whites, age and education were significant, but homeownership predicted the greatest odds of significantly predicting better health.
Conclusion: Our findings lend support to the social policy initiatives that created asset development programs since assets have a positive influence on health, independent of income. Continuing to fund asset development programs could be a viable way of reducing health inequities among America's various racial and ethnic groups, in particular African Americans and Latinos. Our findings suggest that although education and income are highly relevant aspects of the health/SES gradient, assets also share an equally significant association.