Understanding age variations in the migrant mortality advantage

Michel Guillot, University of Pennsylvania
Myriam Khlat, Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED)
Irma T. Elo, University of Pennsylvania
Matthieu Solignac, University of Pennsylvania

This paper examines typical age variations in foreign-born vs. native born mortality ratios, with the purpose of gaining insight about underlying mechanisms explaining why the mortality of migrants in receiving countries differs from that of non-migrants. We examine the four main explanations that have been proposed in the literature for the migrant mortality advantage (i.e., data quality issues; migrant selection at entry; migrant selection at exit; and cultural effects), and formulate expectations as to whether they should generate an increase, a decrease, or no change in relative mortality over the life course. Finally, using data from France and the US for the period 2000-2010, typical age patterns of migrant relative mortality are examined in light of this theoretical framework. We find that while some explanations are consistent with observed age variations, others are not and can be dismissed as major mechanisms explaining the migrant mortality advantage.

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 Presented in Session 123. Immigration, acculturation and health status