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

Print this page  Facebook  Twitter


Date received:07 Feb 2015
Date published:30 Mar 2016
Word count:6271
Keywords:education, longitudinal, marital status, migration, mortality, Norway, parental status, registry data, socioeconomy, survival analysis


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

Astri Syse - Folkehelseinstituttet (Norwegian Institute of Public Health), Norway [Email]
Bjorn H. Strand - Folkehelseinstituttet (Norwegian Institute of Public Health), Norway [Email]
Oyvind Naess - Folkehelseinstituttet (Norwegian Institute of Public Health), Norway [Email]
Ólöf Anna Steingrímsdóttir - Folkehelseinstituttet (Norwegian Institute of Public Health), Norway [Email]
Bernadette N. Kumar - Nasjonal Kompetanseenhet for Migrasjons- og Minoritetshelse (NAKMI), Norway [Email]

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

» The increasing mortality advantage of the married: The role played by education
Volume 38 - Article 20    | Keywords: education, marital status, mortality

» The implications of long term community involvement for the production and circulation of population knowledge
Volume 17 - Article 13    | Keywords: longitudinal, migration, mortality

» The impact of parent's and spouses' education on divorce rates in Norway
Volume 10 - Article 5    | Keywords: education, Norway, registry data

» An Illustration of the Problems Caused by Incomplete Education Histories in Fertility Analyses
Special Collection 3 - Article 6    | Keywords: education, Norway, registry data

» Calloused hands, shorter life? Occupation and older-age survival in Mexico
Volume 42 - Article 32    | Keywords: education, mortality