The healthy immigrant paradox and health convergence

Amelie F. Constant

Research output: Book/ReportReportProfessional

Abstract

The health status of people is a precious commodity and central to economic, socio-political, and environmental dimensions of any country. Yet it is often the missing statistic in all general statistics, demographics, and presentations about the portrait of immigrants and natives. In this paper we are concerned with international migration and health outcomes in the host countries. Through a general literature review and examination of specific immigration countries, we provide insights into the Healthy Immigrant Paradox and the health assimilation of immigrants as we also elucidate selection and measurement challenges. While health is part of human capital, health assimilation is the mirror image of earnings assimilation. Namely, immigrants arrive with better health compared to natives and their health deteriorates with longer residence in the host country, converging to the health of natives or becoming even worse. A deeper understanding of immigrant health trajectories, and disparities with natives and other immigrants is of great value to societies and policymakers, who can design appropriate policy frameworks that address public health challenges, and prevent the health deterioration of immigrants.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherUNU-MERIT working papers
Volume2017
Edition044
Publication statusPublished - 26 Sep 2017

JEL classifications

  • i10 - Health: General
  • i12 - Health Production
  • i14 - Health and Inequality
  • f22 - International Migration
  • j11 - Demographic Trends, Macroeconomic Effects, and Forecasts
  • j14 - "Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-labor Market Discrimination"
  • j15 - "Economics of Minorities, Races, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination"
  • j24 - "Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity"
  • j61 - "Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers"
  • o15 - "Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration"

Keywords

  • Health status
  • Healthy Immigrant Paradox
  • International migration
  • Assimilation
  • Age-Cohort-Period effects
  • Selection
  • Aging

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