Using the 1979 Chicano Survey and four different operational definitions of retirement, we explored the effects of age, gender, health, birthplace, and lifetime work experience on the retirement of Mexican Americans. We found that correlates of retirement vary by the definition used. Frequent health limitations was associated with retirement defined by self-reported retirement or self-reported current work status, but not defined by respondents' self-described activities or receipt of retirement income. Operational definitions often used in discussions of timing and determinants of retirement, thus, poorly fit the lifetime work patterns and retirement process of Mexican Americans.

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