Understanding the 'Healthy Immigrant Effect' in Canada
The ‘Healthy Immigrant Effect’ (HIE), as it is dubbed in the social science literature, is the finding that recent immigrants are healthier than the average locally born resident but that over time this health advantage declines. In the existing literature, this phenomenon is documented using only cross section data. The limiting problem with drawing conclusions about immigrant health dynamics from a cross section alone is that a researcher cannot separately identify changes in health with each year that an immigrant spends in a host country from fixed differences between entry cohorts. In this paper, I exploit the panel nature of the Canadian National Population Health Survey to document the HIE using four measures of health including both subjective and objective measures. I find evidence of the HIE, for all measures of health I consider. Further, interesting patterns emerge for different cuts of the data. Age at immigration and sex matter. The HIE is a phenomenon affecting only those that immigrate at older ages. As well, I find that the HIE affects both men and women, but the effects are found in different measures of health
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