Migration to the United States and the Health of Mexico-U.S. Migrants and Nonmigrants

Aresha Martinez-Cardoso , University of Chicago
Arline Geronimus, University of Michigan

Mexico-US migration represents one of the largest migration flows across the globe. However, debates abound over whether health selection is a salient driver of migration, and furthermore how migration shapes the health of Mexican migrants. We use two waves of the Mexican Family Life Survey to compare the health profiles of (1) Mexico-US nonmigrants and future migrants prior to migration and (2) Mexico-US nonmigrants and return migrants. We find that prior to migration, the health of Mexico-US migrants was on par with their compatriots who did not migrate. However as compared to non-migrants, return migrants had higher levels of adiposity and time in the US was associated with obesity, elevated waist circumference, and self-reported cardiovascular disease. Our findings shed light on the drivers of Mexican immigrants’ health, and underscore the important of considering the social and environmental context faced by migrants in the US as an important determinant of health

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 Presented in Session 29. Migrant Health Selectivity