In Search of the Healthy Immigrant Effect in Four West European Countries

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-2803

Article | Open Access

In Search of the Healthy Immigrant Effect in Four West European Countries


  • Dina Maskileyson Institute of Sociology and Social Psychology, University of Cologne, Germany
  • Moshe Semyonov Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Tel Aviv University, Israel
  • Eldad Davidov Institute of Sociology and Social Psychology, University of Cologne, Germany / University Research Priority Program “Social Networks,” University of Zurich, Switzerland


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Abstract:  The present research examines whether the ‘healthy immigrant effect’ thesis observed in the American context prevails also in the West European context. According to this thesis, immigrants are likely to be healthier than comparable nativeborn. Data for the analysis are obtained from the Generations and Gender Survey for the following countries: Austria, France, Germany, and the Netherlands. Ordered logit regression models are estimated to compare the health of immigrants with the native-born population. The findings reveal that in all countries, immigrants tend to report poorer health than comparable third generation native-born Europeans, and that health disparities between second and third generation are smaller than health disparities between first-generation members and native-born regardless of second- or thirdgeneration membership. The findings in the West-European countries do not lend support to the healthy immigrant effect. We attribute the differences between the United States and the West European countries to differential selection processes and differences in healthcare policies.

Keywords:  comparative health; generation studies; healthy immigrant effect; immigrants; United States; Western Europe

Published:   27 December 2019


DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/si.v7i4.2330


© Dina Maskileyson, Moshe Semyonov, Eldad Davidov. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.