Gender differentials in housing conditions: The Mexican elderly, 1970-1990

Silvia Raquel Llera Lomeli, University of Pennsylvania


The age-structure of the Mexican population has begun a slow but important "aging" process. Since the aging phenomenon is new in Mexico, little demographic research has been conducted on this issue. This investigation intends to contribute to filling this void through the examination of one aspect of the elderly's condition: housing. Suitable living accommodations are necessary to guarantee the well-being of people in any age group but are especially important to the elderly since, as people age, they spend more time at home than younger cohorts. According to the general premises of Feminist and Social Theories on aging, one would expect to find the elderly, and specifically the elderly women living in worse basic housing conditions than the rest of the population. Without debating each particular theoretical premise, the main objective of this investigation is to explore the case of the Mexican elderly and specifically that of elderly women to determine whether it supports these general propositions. Considering that some housing characteristics are closely related not only to individual factors but also to neighborhood, community, and State socioeconomic characteristics, a multi-level perspective was adopted. The general results obtained through regression analysis showed, first, that housing conditions differ for women and men. However, these results were contrary to what was expected according to feminist theories: women and not men, were more likely to live in better housing conditions, and women without a spouse were not disadvantaged. Second, and in apparent contradiction with the aging theories and the experience observed in other countries, the elderly had a higher likelihood of living in better basic housing conditions than younger adults. The combination of these two patterns resulted in elderly women living in more suitable accommodations than the other sectors of the population. Nonetheless, the analysis demonstrated that education and the socioeconomic level of the State of residence are the two variables that account for the greatest proportion of the explained variation in individual's housing. Thus, the effects of the other covariates, including age and gender, can only be considered as moderate modifiers of these effects.

Subject Area

Demographics|Minority & ethnic groups|Sociology|Latin American history|Gerontology|Social structure

Recommended Citation

Llera Lomeli, Silvia Raquel, "Gender differentials in housing conditions: The Mexican elderly, 1970-1990" (1996). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI9636181.