Health differences between migrant and non-migrant elderly in Europe: the role of integration policies and public attitudes towards migration and migrants (2004-2013)
Matias Reus-Pons, University of Groningen
Hadewijch Vandenheede, Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Helga A. G. de Valk, Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (NIDI) and Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Integration policies and public attitudes towards migration and migrants have so far received little attention when studying health differences between migrants and non-migrants. Our aim is to incorporate these dimensions to explain health inequalities between migrants and non-migrants aged 50 to 79 across ten European countries using a variety of health indicators: self-rated health, diabetes, and depression. We performed multivariate logistic regressions using data from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) enriched with data from the European Social Survey (ESS) and the Migrant Integration Policy Index (MIPEX). Overall migrants, and especially those of non-western origin, had higher odds of poor self-rated health and depression as compared to non-migrants. Non-western migrants had higher odds of diabetes than non-migrants. Less favourable public attitudes towards migration and migrants were associated with poorer self-rated health and diabetes among migrants. The association between integration policies and migrant health was less clear. Neither integration policies nor public attitudes towards migration and migrants seemed to be strongly associated with migrant inequalities in depression. In light of these results, promoting more favourable public attitudes towards migration and migrants might help reducing migrant health inequalities at older ages to a greater extent than implementing more inclusive integration policies.