Low immigrant mortality in England and Wales: selection or data artefact? Findings from the ONS Longitudinal Study 1971-2001

Wallace, M. & Kulu, H. (2014) BSPS Annual Conference 2014, Univ of Winchester, 8 - 10 September 2014. [ONS LS]

Other information:

Introduction: Low mortality rates for international migrants have been documented in many industrialised countries. This mortality advantage is often attributed to selection processes in immigration, emigration and re-migration, and to protective health behaviours among immigrants. Data issues are also prevalent in migrant-mortality research. If return migration from the host country is under-recorded, a numerator-denominator bias emerges leading to an under-estimation of migrant mortality. Low mortality due to poor data quality is known as a ‘data artefact’.

Aims: The aim of this study is to investigate mortality differences by country of birth in England and Wales and to determine whether variation in mortality rates can be attributed to selection or data issues. Registration issues are intrinsic to register data; controlling for both entry and exit uncertainty in data setup will allow us to determine whether low immigrant mortality observed in many industrialised countries is due to positive mortality selection or data artefact.

Data and Methods: We use survival analysis to study mortality rates of immigrants relative to those of the ‘native’ population of England and Wales in the ONS Longitudinal Study (ONS LS).

Findings: We find that first-generation, international migrants have lower mortality than the England and Wales population. While registration issues may generate some denominator bias; calculation error cannot account for any migrant mortality advantage. Controlling for the socioeconomic characteristics of individuals plays a significant role in emphasising and uncovering low mortality. We also find that immigrants from neighbouring countries have higher mortality than the England and Wales population.

Available online: Link
Output from project: 0301579


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