Volume 50 - Article 7 | Pages 185–204  

Immigrant mortality advantage in the United States during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic

By Eugenio Paglino, Irma T. Elo


Objective: To investigate the mortality impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on US-born and foreign-born populations by race and Hispanic origin in the United States in 2020.

Methods: Death records from the National Center for Health Statistics and population data from CDC WONDER were used to estimate (1) age-standardized all-cause and cause-specific mortality at ages 25+, 25–64, and 65+ in 2017–2019 and 2020 by nativity, race, Hispanic origin, and sex; (2) changes in mortality between these two periods; and (3) the cause-specific contributions to these changes.

Results: Mortality increased in 2020 relative to 2017–2019 for all racial and Hispanic-origin groups. Adjusting for age, mortality increases were larger at ages 25+ among foreign-born males (390 deaths for 100,000 residents) and females (189) than among US-born males (223) and females (144). The large mortality rise among foreign-born Hispanic men (593) contributed to the narrowing of their mortality advantage relative to White men, from 426 to 134. An increase in mortality among both foreign-born and US-born Black males and females increased the Black–White mortality disparities by 318 for males and by 180 for females. Although COVID-19 mortality was the main driver of the increase among foreign-born residents, circulatory diseases and malignant neoplasms also contributed.

Contribution: We show that the COVID-19 pandemic had a greater impact on foreign-born populations than on their US-born counterparts. These findings highlight the need to address the underlying inequalities and unique challenges faced by foreign-born populations.

Author's Affiliation

Other articles by the same author/authors in Demographic Research

Evaluating interviewer manipulation in the new round of the Generations and Gender Survey
Volume 43 - Article 50

Contribution of smoking-attributable mortality to life-expectancy differences by marital status among Finnish men and women, 1971-2010
Volume 36 - Article 8

Age patterns of racial/ethnic/nativity differences in disability and physical functioning in the United States
Volume 31 - Article 17

Educational differences in all-cause mortality by marital status: Evidence from Bulgaria, Finland and the United States
Volume 19 - Article 60

Cause-specific contributions to sex differences in adult mortality among whites and African Americans between 1960 and 1995
Volume 13 - Article 19

Cause-specific contributions to black-white differences in male mortality from 1960 to 1995
Special Collection 2 - Article 10

Most recent similar articles in Demographic Research

Differences in mortality before retirement: The role of living arrangements and marital status in Denmark
Volume 50 - Article 20    | Keywords: inequalities, living arrangements, marital status, mortality, retirement

Racial classification as a multistate process
Volume 50 - Article 17    | Keywords: Brazil, demography, increments to life, life expectancy, life table, mortality, multistate, race/ethnicity

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

Leaving and returning to the parental home during COVID times in France, Italy, Germany, Spain, and the United Kingdom
Volume 50 - Article 3    | Keywords: behavior, COVID-19, intentions, leaving the parental home, motivations

The COVID-19 pandemic and fertility responses: TFR simulation analysis using parity progressions in South Korea
Volume 49 - Article 32    | Keywords: COVID-19, fertility intentions, marriage intentions, simulation