The Search for Selection: Estimating Migrant Mortality Relative to Origin.

Matthew Wallace , Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED)
Ben Wilson, Stockholm University

The term ‘migrant mortality advantage’ (MMA) is normally used to describe immigrant populations with a lower mortality risk than natives: an advantage-versus-destination. In this study, we re-conceptualize the MMA to enable the study of immigrant selectivity and advantages-versus-origin. Specifically, we compare the all-cause mortality and educational attainment of the 35 largest migrant populations in the United Kingdom to non-migrants in their origin countries. We find that mortality advantages-versus-origin are largest for the least developed origins, are most pronounced at young adult ages, and are consistent with the magnitude and direction of educational advantages-versus-origin. All patterns are consistent with those that are predicted by the selection hypothesis, which has long been theorized as one of the most prominent explanations for the MMA versus-destination. Nevertheless, our study goes beyond the handful of previous comparisons to provide evidence of selectivity by age and sex that is robust across almost all countries of birth.

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 Presented in Session 29. Migrant Health Selectivity