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Changes in income inequality and the health of immigrants

Author(s): Hamilton, Tod G.; Kawachi, Ichiro

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Abstract: Research suggests that income inequality is inversely associated with health. This association has been documented in studies that utilize variation in income inequality across countries or across time from a single country. The primary criticism of these approaches is their inability to account for potential confounders that are associated with income inequality. This paper uses variation in individual experiences of income inequality among immigrants within the United States (U.S.) to evaluate whether individuals who moved from countries with greater income inequality than the U.S. have better health than those who migrated from countries with less income in equality than the U.S. Utilizing individual-level (March Current Population Survey) and country-level data (the United Nations Human Development Reports), we show that among immigrants who have resided in the U.S. between 6 and 20 years, self-reported health is more favorable for the immigrants in the former category (i.e., greater income inequality) than those in the latter (i.e., lower income inequality). Results also show that self-reported health is better among immigrants from more developed countries and those who have more years of education, are male, and are married.
Publication Date: Mar-2013
Citation: Hamilton, Tod G, Kawachi, Ichiro. (2013). Changes in income inequality and the health of immigrants. Social Science & Medicine, 80 (57 - 66). doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2012.10.002
DOI: doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2012.10.002
ISSN: 0277-9536
Pages: 57 - 66
Type of Material: Journal Article
Journal/Proceeding Title: Social Science & Medicine
Version: Author's manuscript

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