Health disadvantage of Eastern European immigrants in Western Europe

According to literature, immigrants tend to have poorer health than native-born people. Between 1950 and 1990 an estimated 12 million people left Eastern European countries and a lot of them resided in Western Europe. In a study we just published, the authors sought to investigate whether immigrants from Eastern European countries above 50 years of age who live in Nothern and Western Europe have a health disadvantage in terms of self-perceived health.

Data was taken from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE). The authors report a health disadvantage of Eastern European immigrants living in Germany, France and Sweden, even after controlling for socio-economic status. Eastern European immigrants were more likely to experience worsening health over time and less likely to recover from illness.

The study also showed that Eastern European immigrants who immigrated between 1945-1989 and short-term immigrants arriving after 1989 have a greater risk of being in poor health compared to native-born.

The authors suggest as possible solutions to increase and target services providing healthcare to the more disadvantaged groups of immigrants.


* This study was written by D. Lanari, O. Bussini and L.Minelli

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