Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health

, Volume 7, Issue 4, pp 221–232 | Cite as

Disparities in Mortality Patterns Among Canadian Immigrants and Refugees, 1980–1998: Results of a National Cohort Study

  • Marie DesMeules
  • Jenny Gold
  • Sarah McDermott
  • Zhenyuan Cao
  • Jennifer Payne
  • Bryan Lafrance
  • Bilkis Vissandjée
  • Erich Kliewer
  • Yang Mao


This study examines mortality patterns among Canadian immigrants, including both refugees and non-refugees, 1980–1998. Records of a stratified random sample of Canadian immigrants landing between 1980–1990 (N = 369,936) were probabilistically linked to mortality data (1980–1998). Mortality rates among immigrants were compared to those of the general Canadian population, stratifying by age, sex, immigration category, region of birth and time in Canada. Multivariate analysis examined mortality risks for various immigrant subgroups. Although immigrants presented lower all-cause mortality than the general Canadian population (SMR between 0.34 and 0.58), some cause-specific mortality rates were elevated among immigrants, including mortality from stroke, diabetes, infectious diseases (AIDS and hepatitis among certain subgroups), and certain cancers (liver and nasopharynx). Mortality rates differed by region of birth, and were higher among refugees than other immigrants. These results support the need to consider the heterogeneity of immigrant populations and vulnerable subgroups when developing targeted interventions.


mortality immigration refugees longitudinal record linkage 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marie DesMeules
    • 1
  • Jenny Gold
    • 1
  • Sarah McDermott
    • 1
  • Zhenyuan Cao
    • 1
  • Jennifer Payne
    • 1
  • Bryan Lafrance
    • 2
  • Bilkis Vissandjée
    • 3
  • Erich Kliewer
    • 4
  • Yang Mao
    • 1
  1. 1.Surveillance Risk Assessment Division, Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention and ControlPublic Health Agency of CanadaOttawaCanada
  2. 2.Health Statistics DivisionStatistics CanadaOttawaCanada
  3. 3.School of Nursing SciencesUniversity of MontrealMontrealCanada
  4. 4.Department of Epidemiology and Cancer Registry of Cancer Care ManitobaWinnipegCanada

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