Health status of migrants in Australia

Arusyak Sevoyan, University of Adelaide

Although there has been a large body of research looking at migrant health issues, there is little understanding of migrant health in Australia due to limited research. Australia is among the top migration countries, where about half of the population is a first- or second-generation migrant, and where more than quarter of the labour force consists of migrants. This study adds to our understanding of migrant health in Australia by exploring the health status and health risk factors of migrants in comparison to the native-born population in Australia. It uses data from the Australian Health Survey conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) in 2011-12. The analysis includes two measures of health: self-assessed health and Body Mass Index. Migrant status as the main predictor is broken into categories according to the year of arrival to explore the possible effect of assimilation on health outcomes. The preliminary results show that migrants in Australia report better health than the native born population controlling for other factors. However, the better health status is mostly attributable to the newly arrived migrants, as the health status of earlier waves of migrants is not significantly different from that of native Australians. Health risk factors are also found to be much lower among migrants of all categories compared to the native born. To further explore the health of migrants more measures of health and country of birth of migrants are intended to be added to the analysis in preparation for the conference.

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Presented in Session 123: Immigration, acculturation and health status