Encyclopedia of Public Health

2008 Edition
| Editors: Wilhelm Kirch

Migrant Mortality, Healthy Migrant Effect

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-5614-7_2188


The “Healthy Migrant Effect” describes an empirically observed mortality advantage of migrants from certain countries of origin, relative to the majority population in the host countries, usually in the industrialized world. Occasionally, it relates to a relatively lower morbidity of immigrants as well. The Healthy Migrant Effect also serves as an ad hoc explanation when migrants are found to have a better health status in spite of being socioeconomically disadvantaged. The Healthy Migrant Effect is not theoretically founded; it is often reduced to a presumed selection of healthy individuals at the time of migration (which is an insufficient explanation).

Basic Characteristics

Migrant Mortality: A Paradox

Table 1

Mortality risk of migrants relative to the population of the host country











Canadian Mortality Database




(Sheth et al. 1999)



National Longitudinal Mortality Study

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Epidemiology & International Public Health, Bielefeld University, School of Public HealthUniversity of BielefeldBielefeldGermany