Does Destination Matter? Geographic Patterns of Immigrant Health in the United States

Leafia Ye , University of Wisconsin-Madison
Michal Engelman, University of Wisconsin-Madison

While there are well-documented health disparities across states in the U.S., we know little about the degree to which immigrants’ health also varies by their state of residence. We seek to fill this gap using data from the American Community Survey, supplemented with state-level variables merged from various sources. We first document that there is large geographic variation in the prevalence of disability among immigrants, and that the patterns are different from those of the overall U.S. population. We then explain the state variation in immigrants’ disability, highlighting that selection into states only accounts for half of the variation, and that the rest can be partially explained by differences in states’ healthcare contexts. Our research contributes to the literature on spatial patterns of health by adding the case of the U.S. foreign-born population, and adds a new geographic dimension to analyses of the immigrant health differential across the life course.

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 Presented in Session 55. Migration, Community Context, and Health