Volume 34 - Article 22 | Pages 615–656  

Differences in all-cause mortality: A comparison between immigrants and the host population in Norway 1990-2012

By Astri Syse, Bjorn H. Strand, Oyvind Naess, Ólöf Anna Steingrímsdóttir, Bernadette N. Kumar


Background: Differences in all-cause mortality between immigrants and host populations may provide insight into health inequities that could be reduced.

Objective: Death risks of adult immigrants were compared to those of the host population to assess effects of country of origin, duration of residence, calendar period, and sociodemographic characteristics, i.e., sex, education, and marital and parental status.

Methods: Registry data encompassing the entire Norwegian population age 25-79 in 1990-2012 were used to compare death risks in various immigrant groups and the host population, using discrete-time hazard regression models with time-varying covariates.

Results: Over 451,000 deaths occurred in around 4.4 million individuals. After adjusting for sex, age, and calendar period, immigrants had an 8% survival advantage (odds ratio (OR) 0.92). Death-risk estimates for immigrants were lowered pronouncedly by further adjustment of sociodemographic factors (OR 0.81). The greatest survival advantage was observed among immigrants with a short duration of residence. With increasing lengths of stay, immigrants’ risk of death became similar to that of the host population. The survival advantage was most pronounced for younger, unmarried, and childless immigrants. Although the survival of Central and Eastern European immigrants improved over time, none of the groups had a higher adjusted death risk than the host population.

Conclusions: Immigrants have a 20% survival advantage compared to the host population. The convergence in mortality with increasing duration of residence suggests that ‘healthy migrant’ and ‘acculturation’ effects counteract each other, and warrants further research on the health and welfare of long-term immigrants.

Author's Affiliation

Other articles by the same author/authors in Demographic Research

Does cancer affect the divorce rate?
Volume 16 - Article 15

Most recent similar articles in Demographic Research

Measuring short-term mobility patterns in North America using Facebook advertising data, with an application to adjusting COVID-19 mortality rates
Volume 50 - Article 10    | Keywords: COVID-19, data collection, Facebook, mortality, North America, short-term mobility

Fertility decline, changes in age structure, and the potential for demographic dividends: A global analysis
Volume 50 - Article 9    | Keywords: age structure, demographic dividend, demographic transition, fertility, migration, population momentum, working-age population

War and mobility: Using Yandex web searches to characterize intentions to leave Russia after its invasion of Ukraine
Volume 50 - Article 8    | Keywords: Brain drain, migration, Russia, search trends, Ukraine, Yandex

Immigrant mortality advantage in the United States during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic
Volume 50 - Article 7    | Keywords: COVID-19, immigrants, mortality

How do environmental stressors influence migration? A meta-regression analysis of environmental migration literature
Volume 50 - Article 2    | Keywords: environmental, instrumental variables, meta analysis, migration, partial correlation coefficient, weighted regression