Mortality of immigrants in Germany

Martin Kohls, Federal Office for Migration and Refugees, Germany

Several determinants affect the mortality of migrants. As first people who migrate are on average healthier than the population they originate from, and sometimes also healthier than the population of their host country. This “healthy migrant effect” is due to a self-selection process, chronically ill or disabled persons are less likely to migrate. Another selection process (unhealthy remigration effect, salmon bias effect) can be observed in case of remigration. Further immigrants, who are retired and/or fall ill, want to remigrate to the country of origin, while young and healthy persons still stay in the host country. These selection processes require a lower mortality of migrants, because only the healthiest migrants are observable in the receiving country, while the unhealthier groups are abroad. Further arguments are discussed (disruption, social status, social integration, acculturation, health transition, biological and genetics (dis)advantages, environmental burden), when analyzing the interaction between migration and mortality. Nearly all studies determined a lower mortality in migrant populations than in non-migrant populations. These outcomes may due to a data lack. In Germany migrant mortality can hardly be calculated with official statistics, because the data (deaths and population registers) show biases especially in migrant populations. To estimate the mortality of migrants in Germany without data bias, other data sets have to be used. Data of the German statuory pension insurance as well as data from the German central register of foreigners (Ausländerzentralregister) are used in this study. Detailed results, selected by age, nationality, migration status and duration are presented.

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Presented in Session 98: Migrant Demographic Behaviour: Morbidity and Mortality