Demography

, Volume 51, Issue 4, pp 1159–1173 | Cite as

The Consequences of Migration to the United States for Short-Term Changes in the Health of Mexican Immigrants

  • Noreen Goldman
  • Anne R. Pebley
  • Mathew J. Creighton
  • Graciela M. Teruel
  • Luis N. Rubalcava
  • Chang Chung
Article

Abstract

Although many studies have attempted to examine the consequences of Mexico-U.S. migration for Mexican immigrants’ health, few have had adequate data to generate the appropriate comparisons. In this article, we use data from two waves of the Mexican Family Life Survey (MxFLS) to compare the health of current migrants from Mexico with those of earlier migrants and nonmigrants. Because the longitudinal data permit us to examine short-term changes in health status subsequent to the baseline survey for current migrants and for Mexican residents, as well as to control for the potential health selectivity of migrants, the results provide a clearer picture of the consequences of immigration for Mexican migrant health than have previous studies. Our findings demonstrate that current migrants are more likely to experience recent changes in health status—both improvements and declines—than either earlier migrants or nonmigrants. The net effect, however, is a decline in health for current migrants: compared with never migrants, the health of current migrants is much more likely to have declined in the year or two since migration and not significantly more likely to have improved. Thus, it appears that the migration process itself and/or the experiences of the immediate post-migration period detrimentally affect Mexican immigrants’ health.

Keywords

Immigrant Health status Self-rated health Selection Mexico 

References

  1. Abraído-Lanza, A. F., Armbrister, A. N., Flórez, K. R., & Aguirre, A. N. (2006). Toward a theory-driven model of acculturation in public health research. American Journal of Public Health, 96, 1342–1346.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Abraído-Lanza, A. F., Chao, M. T., & Flórez, K. R. (2005). Do healthy behaviors decline with greater acculturation? Implications for the Latino mortality paradox. Social Science & Medicine, 61, 1243–1255.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Acevedo-Garcia, D. (2001). Zip code–level risk factors for tuberculosis: Neighborhood environment and residential segregation in New Jersey, 1985–1992. American Journal of Public Health, 91, 734–741.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Antecol, H., & Bedard, K. (2006). Unhealthy assimilation: Why do immigrants converge to American health status levels? Demography, 43, 337–360.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Barquera, S., Durazo-Arvizu, R. A., Luke, A., Cao, G., & Cooper, R. S. (2008). Hypertension in Mexico and among Mexican Americans: Prevalence and treatment patterns. Journal of Human Hypertension, 22, 617–626.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bzostek, S., Goldman, N., & Pebley, A. (2007). Why do Hispanics in the USA report poor health? Social Science & Medicine, 65, 990–1003.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Carter-Pokras, O., Zambrana, R. E., Yankelvich, G., Estrada, M., Castillo-Salgado, C., & Ortega, A. N. (2008). Health status of Mexican-origin persons: Do proxy measures of acculturation advance our understanding of health disparities? Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, 10, 475–488.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Castro, F. G. (2013). Emerging Hispanic health paradoxes. American Journal of Public Health, 103, 1541.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Ceballos, M., & Palloni, A. (2010). Maternal and infant health of Mexican immigrants in the USA: The effects of acculturation, duration, and selective return migration. Ethnicity & Health, 15, 377–396.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Contreras, D. (2003). Poverty and inequality in a rapid growth economy: Chile 1990–96. Journal of Development Studies, 39, 181–200.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Cornelius, W. A. (2001). Death at the border: Efficacy and unintended consequences of US Immigration Control Policy. Population and Development Review, 27, 661–685.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Creighton, M. J., Goldman, N., Pebley, A. R., & Chung, C. Y. (2012). Durational and generational differences in Mexican immigrant obesity: Is acculturation the explanation? Social Science & Medicine, 75, 300–310.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Crimmins, E., Soldo, B. J., Kim, J. K., & Alley, D. E. (2005). Using anthropometric indicators for Mexicans in the United States and Mexico to understand the selection of migrants and the “Hispanic paradox.” Social Biology, 52, 164–177.Google Scholar
  14. Finch, B. K., & Vega, W. (2003). Acculturation stress, social support, and self-rated health among Latinos in California. Journal of Immigrant Health, 5, 109–117.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Gathmann, C. (2008). Effects of enforcement on illegal markets: Evidence from migrant smuggling along the southwestern border. Journal of Public Economics, 92, 1926–1941.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Hovey, J. D. (2000). Acculturative stress, depression, and suicidal ideation in Mexican immigrants. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 6, 134–151.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hummer, R. A., Benjamins, M., & Rogers, R. (2004). Racial and ethnic disparities in health and mortality among the US elderly population. In R. Bulatao & N. Anderson (Eds.), Understanding racial and ethnic differences in health in late life: A research agenda (pp. 53–94). Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.Google Scholar
  18. Hunt, L. M., Schneider, D., & Comer, B. (2004). Should “acculturation” be a variable in health research? A critical review of research on U.S. Hispanics. Social Science & Medicine, 59, 973–986.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. INEGI (2003). Síntesis metodológica de los Censos de Población y Vivienda [Methodological synthesis from the population censuses]. Retrieved from http://www.inegi.org.mx/est/contenidos/espanol/metodologias/censos/sm_economicos.pdf
  20. Jasso, G., Massey, D. S., Rosenzweig, M. R., & Smith, J. P. (2004). Immigrant health: Selectivity and acculturation. In N. B. Anderson, R. A. Bulatao, & B. Cohen (Eds.), Critical perspectives on racial and ethnic differences in health in late life (pp. 227–266). Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.Google Scholar
  21. Kaestner, R., Pearson, J. A., Keene, D., & Geronimus, A. T. (2009). Stress, allostatic load, and health of Mexican immigrants. Social Science Quarterly, 90, 1089–1111.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Kandel, W. A., & Donato, K. M. (2009). Does unauthorized status reduce exposure to pesticides? Work and Occupations, 36, 367–399.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Lara, M., Gamboa, C., Kahramanian, M. I., Morales, L., & Bautista, D. (2005). Acculturation and Latino health in the United States: A review of the literature and its sociopolitical context. Annual Review of Public Health, 26, 367–397.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Luis-Ávila, J., Fuentes, C., Tuirán, R. (2001). Índices de marginación, 2000 [Marginalization indexes]. Del. Benito Juárez, Mexico: Consejo Nacional de Población (CONAPO).Google Scholar
  25. Marmot, M., & Bell, R. (2012). Fair society, healthy lives. Public Health, 126, S4–S10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Massey, D. S., & Sanchez, M. (2010). Broken boundaries: Creating immigrant identity in anti-immigrant times. New York, NY: Russell Sage Foundation.Google Scholar
  27. Nandi, A., Galea, S., Lopez, G., Nandi, V., Strongarone, S., & Ompad, D. C. (2008). Access to and use of health services among undocumented Mexican immigrants in a US urban area. American Journal of Public Health, 98, 2011–2020.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Orrenius, P., & Zavodny, M. (2009). Do immigrants work in riskier jobs? Demography, 46, 535–551.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Oza-Frank, R., Stephenson, R., & Venkat Narayan, K. M. (2011). Diabetes prevalence by length of residence among US immigrants. Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, 13, 1–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Prentice, J. C., Pebley, A. R., & Sastry, N. (2005). Immigration status and health insurance coverage: Who gains? Who loses? American Journal of Public Health, 95, 109–116.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Riosmena, F., & Dennis, J. A. (2012). A tale of three paradoxes: The weak socioeconomic gradients in health among Hispanic immigrants and their relation to the Hispanic health paradox and negative acculturation. In J. L. Angel, F. Torres-Gil, & K. Markides (Eds.), Health and health care policy challenges for aging Latinos: The Mexican-origin population (pp. 95–110). New York, NY: Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.Google Scholar
  32. Riosmena, F., Wong, R., & Palloni, A. (2013). Migration selection, protection, and acculturation in health: A binational perspective on older adults. Demography, 50, 1039–1064.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Rubalcava, L., & Teruel, G. (2006). User’s guide for the Mexican Family Life Survey First Wave. Retrieved from http://www.ennvih-mxfls.org
  34. Rubalcava, L., Teruel, G., & Thomas, D. (2009). Investments, time preferences, and public transfers paid to women. Economic Development and Cultural Change, 57, 507–538.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Rubalcava, L., Teruel, G., Thomas, D., & Goldman, N. (2008). The healthy migrant effect: New findings from the Mexican Family Life Survey. American Journal of Public Health, 98, 78–84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Siddiqi, A., Zuberi, D., & Nguyen, Q. C. (2009). The role of health insurance in explaining immigrant versus non-immigrant disparities in access to health care: Comparing the United States to Canada. Social Science & Medicine, 69, 1452–1459.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. StataCorp. (2011). Stata statistical software: Release 12. College Station, TX: StataCorp LP.Google Scholar
  38. Teitler, J. O., Hutto, N., & Reichman, N. E. (2012). Birthweight of children of immigrants by maternal duration of residence in the United States. Social Science & Medicine, 75, 459–468.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Tuirán, R., Fuentes, C., Ávila, J. L. (2002). Índices de intensidad migratoria México-Estados Unidos, 2000 [Intensity of Mexico-US migration indexes.]. Del. Benito Juárez, Mexico: Consejo Nacional de Población (CONAPO).Google Scholar
  40. Ullmann, S. H., Goldman, N., & Massey, D. S. (2011). Healthier before they migrate, less healthy when they return? The health of returned migrants in Mexico. Social Science & Medicine, 73, 421–428.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) (2006). Illegal immigration: Border-crossing deaths have doubled since 1995; Border Patrol’s efforts to prevent deaths have not been fully evaluated (Report). Washington, DC: U.S. GAO.Google Scholar
  42. Vargas Bustamante, A., Fang, H., Garza, J., Carter-Pokras, O., Wallace, S., Rizzo, J., & Ortega, A. (2012). Variations in healthcare access and utilization among Mexican immigrants: The role of documentation status. Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, 14, 146–155.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Viruell-Fuentes, E. A. (2007). Beyond acculturation: Immigration, discrimination, and health research among Mexicans in the United States. Social Science & Medicine, 65, 1524–1535.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Viruell-Fuentes, E. A., Miranda, P. Y., & Abdulrahim, S. (2012). More than culture: Structural racism, intersectionality theory, and immigrant health. Social Science & Medicine, 75, 2099–2106.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. WHO. (2000). Obesity: Preventing and managing the global epidemic. Geneva, Switzerland: WHO.Google Scholar
  46. Wong, R., Palloni, A., & Soldo, B. J. (2007). Wealth in middle and old age in Mexico: The role of international migration. International Migration Review, 41, 127–151.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Xu, K., Ravndal, F., Evans, D. B., & Carrin, G. (2009). Assessing the reliability of household expenditure data: Results of the World Health Survey. Health Policy, 91, 297–305.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Zambrana, R. E., & Carter-Pokras, O. (2010). The role of acculturation research in advancing science in reducing health care disparities among Latinos. American Journal of Public Health, 100, 18–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Population Association of America 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Noreen Goldman
    • 1
  • Anne R. Pebley
    • 2
  • Mathew J. Creighton
    • 3
  • Graciela M. Teruel
    • 4
  • Luis N. Rubalcava
    • 5
  • Chang Chung
    • 1
  1. 1.Office of Population ResearchPrinceton UniversityPrincetonUSA
  2. 2.California Center for Population ResearchUniversity of California Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA
  3. 3.Departament de Ciències Polítiques i SocialsUniversitat Pompeu FabraBarcelonaSpain
  4. 4.Universidad Iberoamericana, AC and CAMBSMéxicoMéxico
  5. 5.Centro de Análisis y Medición del Bienestar Social, AC and CIDEMéxicoMéxico

Personalised recommendations