Internal migration between deprived and non-deprived areas may influence the health status of the residents of these areas. Because the size and composition of migration flows to and from deprived areas vary with age, the effect of migration on geographical inequalities in health may be different for different age groups.
We recently published a study that aimed to investigate whether and how migration flows within different age groups influenced inequalities in health between deprived and non-deprived neighbourhoods. The study, authored by Birthe Jongeneel-Grimen, Mariel Droomers, Karien Stronks, JAM van Oers, Anton E Kunst used data from almost 62,000 responders from the Netherlands Housing Survey 2006.
The study found that for many age groups, migrants into non-deprived areas were healthier and migrants into deprived areas had similar levels of health compared with non-migrant populations in the area of origin. These differences in health were not explained by demographic and socio-economic characteristics. For all ages and for people aged 25–34 years we found smaller area inequalities in health among migrants compared with non-migrants. For most other age groups, about equally large differences were observed.
In conclusion, for most age groups, there was no empirical support to the expectation that migration would enlarge health differences between deprived and non-deprived neighbourhoods.