The healthy immigrant paradox and health convergence
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.
Keywords: Health status; Healthy Immigrant Paradox; International migration; Assimilation; Age-Cohort-Period effects; Selection; Aging
JEL Classification: I00, I10, I12, I14, I18, J00, F22, J11, J14, J15, J24, J61, O15