Mortality among immigrants in England and Wales by major causes of death, 1971-2012: a longitudinal analysis of register-based data

Matthew Wallace, University of Liverpool
Hill Kulu, University of Liverpool

Recent research has observed a migrant mortality advantage among immigrants relative to the UK-born population living in England and Wales. However, while all-cause mortality is useful to show differences in mortality between immigrants and the host population, it can mask variation in mortality patterns from specific causes of death. This study analyses differences in the causes of death among immigrants living in England and Wales. We extend previous research by applying competing-risks survival analysis to study a large-scale longitudinal dataset from 1971-2012 to directly compare causes of death. We confirm low all-cause mortality among nearly all immigrants, except immigrants from Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland (who have high mortality). In most cases, low all-cause mortality among immigrants is driven by lower mortality from chronic diseases (in nearly all cases by lower cancer mortality and in some cases by lower mortality from cardiovascular diseases (CVD)). This low all-cause mortality often coexists with low respiratory disease mortality and among non-western immigrants, coexists with high relative mortality from infectious diseases; however, these two causes of death contribute little to mortality among immigrants. For men, CVD is the leading cause of death (particularly among South Asians). For women, cancer is the leading cause of death (except among South Asians, for whom CVD is also the leading cause). Differences in CVD mortality over time remain constant between immigrants relative to UK-born, but immigrant cancer patterns shows signs of some convergence to the cancer mortality among the UK-born (though cancer mortality is still low among immigrants by age 80). The study provides the most up-to-date, reliable UK and Europe based analysis of migrant mortality.

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 Presented in Session 121. Ethnicity, migration, and mortality