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Intergenerational persistence of health: Do immigrants get healthier as they remain in the U.S. for more generations?

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  • Akbulut-Yuksel, Mevlude
  • Kugler, Adriana D.

Abstract

It is well known that a substantial part of income and education is passed on from parents to children, generating substantial persistence in socioeconomic status across generations. In this paper, we examine whether another form of human capital, health, is also largely transmitted from generation to generation. Using data from the NLSY, we first present new evidence on intergenerational transmission of health outcomes in the U.S., including weight, height, the body mass index (BMI), asthma and depression for both natives and immigrants. We show that between 50% and 70% of the mothers’ health status persists in both native and immigrant children, and that, on average, immigrants experience higher persistence than natives in BMI. We also find that the longer immigrants remain in the U.S., the less intergenerational persistence there is and the more immigrants look like native children. Unfortunately, the more generations immigrant families remain in the U.S., the more children of immigrants resemble natives’ higher BMI.

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  • Akbulut-Yuksel, Mevlude & Kugler, Adriana D., 2016. "Intergenerational persistence of health: Do immigrants get healthier as they remain in the U.S. for more generations?," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 23(C), pages 136-148.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ehbiol:v:23:y:2016:i:c:p:136-148
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ehb.2016.08.004
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    5. Barbieri, Paolo Nicola, 2016. "The heterogeneity in immigrants unhealthy assimilation," MPRA Paper 71560, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Vilar-Compte, Mireya & Teruel, Graciela & Flores, Diana & García-Appendini, Ida C. & Ochoa-Lagunas, Adriana, 2020. "A longitudinal study of height gaps among Mexican children: Disparities and social inequity," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 264(C).
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Health status; Intergenerational mobility; Immigrants;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • J62 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Job, Occupational and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I14 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Inequality

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