Does Migration Destination Affect the Mortality Advantage of Mexican Immigrants? A Comparison of Traditional, New, and Emerging Destinations

Andrew Fenelon, National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), CDC

Health declines for immigrants with greater exposure to the United States, but the specific characteristics of the migration and assimilation processes that contribute to this pattern are less clear. As the Mexican population in the US has grown, it has expanded outside traditional gateways in California and Texas to new destinations throughout the US. This study examines the mortality of Mexican immigrants in Traditional versus New and Emerging destinations in the US. Using National Health Interview Survey data between 1989 and 2009 the analysis finds that Mexican immigrants in New and Emerging destinations have a significant survival advantage over their counterparts in traditional established destinations. This advantage may reflect selective migration to new destinations, superior employment prospects, or slower behavioral assimilation. US-born Mexicans do not benefit from this advantage. The results suggest that the spatial characteristics of the assimilation process are important when considering the health of immigrants.

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Presented in Session 136: Health Disparities among U.S. Hispanic and Immigrant Populations