A “healthy immigrant effect” or a “sick immigrant effect”? Selection and policies matter
- 279 Downloads
Previous literature on a variety of countries has documented a “healthy immigrant effect” (HIE). Accordingly, immigrants arriving in the host country are, on average, healthier than comparable natives. However, their health status dissipates with additional years in the country. HIE is explained through the positive self-selection of healthy immigrants as well as the positive selection, screening and discrimination applied by host countries. In this article we study the health trajectories of immigrants within the context of selection and migration policies. Using SHARE data we examine the HIE, comparing Israel and 16 European countries that have fundamentally different migration policies. Israel has virtually unrestricted open gates for Jewish people around the world, who in turn have ideological rather than economic considerations to move. European countries have selective policies with regards to the health, education and wealth of migrants, who also self-select themselves. Our results provide evidence that (1) immigrants who move to Israel have compromised health and are significantly less healthy than comparable natives. Their health disadvantage persists for up to 20 years of living in Israel, after which they become similar to natives; (2) immigrants who move to Europe have significantly better health than comparable natives. Their health advantage remains positive for many years. Even though during some time lapses they are not significantly different from natives, their health status never becomes worse than that of natives. Our results are important for migration policy and relevant for domestic health policy.
KeywordsSelf-reported health status Immigration Europe Israel Older population Multilevel regression SHARE
JEL CodesC22 J11 J12 J14 O12 O15 O52
We are grateful for comments and suggestions by participants at the Annual Migration Meeting in Dakar, Senegal, and the Annual Meeting of the Southern Economic Association in New Orleans, LA, USA. We have also benefited from discussions with Maurice Schiff, James Smith and Klaus F. Zimmermann. Part of this study was conducted while Shoshana Neuman was visiting IZA (summer 2014 and summer 2015). She would like to thank IZA for their hospitality and excellent research facilities.
Teresa García-Muñoz would like to thank MICINN (ECO2013-44879-R) and Junta de Andalucía (SEJ-1436) for financial support.
The SHARE data collection has been primarily funded by the European Commission through FP5 (QLK6-CT-2001-00360), FP6 (SHARE-I3: RII-CT-2006-062193, COMPARE: CIT5-CT-2005-028857, SHARELIFE: CIT4-CT-2006-028812) and FP7 (SHARE-PREP: N°211909, SHARE-LEAP: N°227822, SHARE M4: N°261982). Additional funding from the German Ministry of Education and Research, the US National Institute on Aging (U01_AG09740-13S2, P01_AG005842, P01_AG08291, P30_AG12815, R21_AG025169, Y1-AG-4553-01, IAG_BSR06-11, OGHA_04-064) and various national funding sources is gratefully acknowledged (see www.share-project.org).
- 5.Börsch-Supan, A.: Survey of health, ageing and retirement in Europe (SHARE) wave 2. Release version: 5.0.0. SHARE-ERIC. Data set (2016a). doi:10.6103/SHARE.w2.500
- 6.Börsch-Supan, A.: Survey of health, ageing and retirement in Europe (SHARE) wave 5. Release version: 5.0.0. SHARE-ERIC. Data set (2016b). doi:10.6103/SHARE.w5.500
- 7.Börsch-Supan, A., Brandt, M., Hunkler, C., Kneip, T., Korbmacher, J., Malter, F., Schaan, B., Stuck, S., Zuber, S.: Data resource profile: the survey of health, ageing and retirement in Europe (SHARE). Int. J. Epidemiol. (2013). doi:10.1093/ije/dyt088
- 9.Constant, A., Garcia-Muñoz, T, Neuman, S., Neuman, T.: Micro- and macro determinants of health: older immigrants in Europe. IZA, Bonn: Discussion Paper No. 8754 (2014)Google Scholar
- 12.Garcia-Muñoz, T., Neuman, S., Neuman, T.: Health risk factors among the older European populations: personal and aggregate country effects. IZA, Bonn: Discussion Paper No. 8529 (2014)Google Scholar
- 14.Israel, Central Bureau of Statistics, Annual Statistical Abstract (2014)Google Scholar
- 15.Jasso, G., Massey, D.S., Rosenzweig, M.R., Smith, J.: Immigrant health: selectivity and acculturation. In: Anderson, N.B., Bulatao, R.A., Cohen, B. (eds.) Critical perspectives on racial and ethnic differences in health in late life (pp. 227–266). National Academies Press, Washington, DC (2004)Google Scholar
- 17.Leshem-Rubinow, E., Shenhar-Tsarfaty, S., Milwidsky, A., Toker, S., Shapira, I., Berliner, S., Benyamini, Y., Melamed, S., Rogowski, O.: Self-rated health is associated with elevated C-reactive protein even among apparently healthy individuals. Isr. Med. Assoc. J. 17, 213–218 (2015)PubMedGoogle Scholar
- 18.Manoff, A., Vardi, H., Enten, R.S., Shahar, D.R.: Differences in dietary consumption patterns and obesity rates between immigrants from the former USSR and a country’s native population. Int. J. Food Saf. 4, 119–130 (2011)Google Scholar
- 20.Neuman, S.: Aliya to Israel: immigration under conditions of adversity. In: Zimmermann, K.F. (ed.) European Migration: What Do We Know?, pp. 459–506. Oxford University Press, Oxford (2005)Google Scholar
- 21.Neuman, S.: Are immigrants healthier than native residents?, IZA World of Labor: 208 (2014)Google Scholar
- 28.United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division. International migration—the 2013 revision (2013)Google Scholar