The Healthy Migrant Effect: The role of educational selectivity in the good health of migrants

le Lundi 12 Novembre 2018 à l’Ined, salle Sauvy de 11h30 à 12h30

Présenté par : Mathieu Ichou (Ined) et Matthew Wallace (Ined) ; Discutant : Alain Gagnon (Université de Montréal)

The Healthy Migrant Effect (HIE) refers to the fact that recent migrants are in better health than the non-migrant population in the host country. Central to explaining the HIE is the idea that migrants are positively selected in terms of their socioeconomic and health characteristics when compared to non-migrants in their country of origin. However, due to a lack of reliable and comparable data, most existing studies rely on socioeconomic and health measures collected in the host country after migration and do not actually measure selection. We directly test selection as an explanation of the HIE among migrants living in France. Using the French Trajectories and Origins (TeO) survey and Barro-Lee dataset, we construct a direct measure of migrants’ educational selectivity. We then test its effect on health differences between migrants and non-migrants using measures self-rated health, health limitations and chronic illnesses, by fitting logistic regression and Karlson-Holm-Breen (KHB) decompositions. After demonstrating that migrants in France experience an HIE, especially males, we also show that educational level as measured in the host country cannot account for the HIE. In contrast, we show evidence that educational selectivity constitutes a significant factor in explaining differences in health between migrants and the non-migrant population. Capitalizing on a novel measure of migrants’ educational selectivity, we gives credit to the oft-cited but rarely tested theory that the HIE is a result of migrants’ positive selection.

Mathieu Ichou (Ined)

Mathieu Ichou est chargé de recherche à l’Ined où il est membre des unités Migrations Internationales et Minorités (MIM) et Démographie économique. Il est également chercheur associé à l’Observatoire Sociologique du Changement (OSC) de Sciences Po. Ses recherches portent sur la sociologie de l’immigration, de l’éducation, de la stratification sociale et, plus récemment, les inégalités de santé.