An Examination of Health Selection among U.S. Immigrants Using Multi-National Data

Annie Ro, University of California, Irvine
Nancy Fleischer, University of South Carolina
Bridgette Blebu, University of California, Irvine

This project combined data from 16 countries and the US to explore the “healthy migrant effect.” The first aim of the project was to determine the extent of health selection among migrants to the US by comparing their health status to non-migrants in their countries of origin. We used Duncan’s Index of Dissimilarity as our measure of selectivity. In all countries, the proportion of migrants reporting excellent health was higher than the proportion of their non-migrating counterparts. The second aim was to identify sending country-level correlates of health selection. We correlated geographic distance, linguistic distance, infant mortality, urbanicity, and GDP per capita with our health selection measure. Geographic distance had the largest correlation coefficient among men and women. The planned third aim of the paper is to determine whether health selection accounts for the commonly-observed differences in health between immigrants and the US-born in analyses of US data.

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Presented in Session 189: Migration and Health