IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Selective migration, health and deprivation: a longitudinal analysis


  • Norman, Paul
  • Boyle, Paul
  • Rees, Philip


Population migration is a major determinant of an area's age-sex structure and socio-economic characteristics. The suggestion that migration can contribute to an increase or decrease in place-specific rates of illness is not new. However, differences in health status between small geographical locations that may be affected by the inter-relationships between health, area-based deprivation and migration are under-researched. Using the Office for National Statistics (ONS) England and Wales Longitudinal Study (LS) 1971-1991, this research tracks individuals to identify any systematic sorting of people that has contributed to the area-level relationships between health (limiting long-term illness and mortality) and deprivation (Carstairs quintiles). The results demonstrate that among the young, migrants are generally healthier than non-migrants. Migrants who move from more to less deprived locations are healthier than migrants who move from less to more deprived locations. Within less deprived areas migrants are healthier than non-migrants but within deprived areas migrants are less healthy than non-migrants. Over the 20 year period, the largest absolute flow is by relatively healthy migrants moving away from more deprived areas towards less deprived areas. The effect is to raise ill-health and mortality rates in the origins and lower them in the destinations. This is reinforced by a significant group of people in poor health who move from less to more deprived locations. In contrast, a small group of unhealthy people moved away from more deprived into less deprived areas. These countercurrents of less healthy people have a slight ameliorating effect on the health-deprivation relationship. Whilst health-deprivation relationships are more marked for migrants there are also health (dis-) benefits for non-migrants if their location becomes relatively more or less deprived over time. Overall we found that between 1971 and 1991, inequalities in health increased between the least and most deprived areas, compared with the health-deprivation relationship which would have existed if peoples' locations and deprivation patterns had stayed geographically constant. Migration, rather than changes in the deprivation of the area that non-migrants live in, accounts for the large majority of change.

Suggested Citation

  • Norman, Paul & Boyle, Paul & Rees, Philip, 2005. "Selective migration, health and deprivation: a longitudinal analysis," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 60(12), pages 2755-2771, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:60:y:2005:i:12:p:2755-2771

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Gould, Myles I. & Jones, Kelvyn, 1996. "Analyzing perceived limiting long-term illness using U.K. census microdata," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 42(6), pages 857-869, March.
    2. Boyle, Paul & Norman, Paul & Rees, Philip, 2002. "Does migration exaggerate the relationship between deprivation and limiting long-term illness? A Scottish analysis," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 21-31, July.
    3. A Sloggett & H Joshi, 1998. "Indicators of deprivation in people and places: longitudinal perspectives," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 30(6), pages 1055-1076, June.
    4. Harding, Seeromanie, 2003. "Social mobility and self-reported limiting long-term illness among West Indian and South Asian migrants living in England and Wales," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 355-361, January.
    5. Wiggins, R. D. & Joshi, H. & Bartley, M. & Gleave, S. & Lynch, K. & Cullis, A., 2002. "Place and personal circumstances in a multilevel account of women's long-term illness," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 54(5), pages 827-838, March.
    6. Rogerson, Peter A. & Han, Daikwon, 2002. "The effects of migration on the detection of geographic differences in disease risk," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 55(10), pages 1817-1828, November.
    7. A Sloggett & H Joshi, 1998. "Indicators of Deprivation in People and Places: Longitudinal Perspectives," Environment and Planning A, , vol. 30(6), pages 1055-1076, June.
    8. Brimblecombe, Nic & Dorling, Danny & Shaw, Mary, 1999. "Mortality and migration in Britain, first results from the British Household Panel Survey," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 49(7), pages 981-988, October.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:60:y:2005:i:12:p:2755-2771. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.