The healthy immigrant effect: Patterns and evidence from four countries

Kennedy, Steven, Kidd, Michael P., McDonald, James Ted, & Biddle, Nicholas (2015) The healthy immigrant effect: Patterns and evidence from four countries. Journal of International Migration and Integration, 16(2), pp. 317-332.

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The existence of a healthy immigrant effect—where immigrants are on average healthier than the native born—is a widely cited phenomenon across a multitude of literatures including epidemiology and the social sciences. There are many competing explanations. The goals of this paper are twofold: first, to provide further evidence on the presence of the healthy immigrant effect across source and destination country using a set of consistently defined measures of health; and second, to evaluate the role of selectivity as a potential explanation for the existence of the phenomenon. Utilizing data from four major immigrant recipient countries, USA, Canada, UK, and Australia allows us to compare the health of migrants from each with the respective native born who choose not to migrate. This represents a much more appropriate counterfactual than the native born of the immigrant recipient country and yields new insights into the importance of observable selection effects. The analysis finds strong support for the healthy immigrant effect across all four destination countries and that selectivity plays an important role in the observed better health of migrants vis a vis those who stay behind in their country of origin.

Impact and interest:

17 citations in Scopus
14 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 77996
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional Information: Published online: 15 April 2014
Keywords: Immigrant health, Selection effects, Smoking, Obesity
DOI: 10.1007/s12134-014-0340-x
ISSN: 1874-6365
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2014 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht
Deposited On: 22 Oct 2014 22:24
Last Modified: 23 Jun 2017 02:02

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