Paradox Regained: Immigrant Health in 21st Century United States

Ross Macmillan, University of Minnesota
J. Michael Oakes, University of Minnesota
Naomi Duke, University of Minnesota
Wen Fan, University of Minnesota
Liying Luo, University of Minnesota
Hollie Nyseth, University of Minnesota
Alain Vandormael, University of Minnesota

Immigrant health has been deemed “paradoxical” because a) immigrants tend to have better health than is predicted by their socioeconomic position and b) acculturation into American society is associated with declines in health despite increases in socioeconomic position and utilization of health care. Using data from the 2000-2006 Integrated Health Interview Series, we re-assess the immigrant health paradox in three ways. First, we examine health across 10 immigrant groups defined by global region of birth. Second, we examine similarity and difference in education gradients and assimilation trajectories across immigrant groups. Third, we assess the ability of explanatory factors to account for health differences across immigrant groups. Across four health outcomes, there is remarkable similarity in health advantages, consistency in both educational gradients and detrimental acculturation trajectories, limited ability of the explanatory factors to account for the immigrant health advantage, and enduring advantages in health statuses over the immigrant life course.

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Presented in Session 153: Racial, Ethnic, and Gender Differentials in Health and Mortality