The health status of Turkish immigrants in Germany

Annelene Wengler, University of Cologne

When studying immigrants we often compare them to the native population within a country. This comprises one major problem: we compare two highly heterogeneous groups which in general seem to have only few things in common. Among other factors, they differ with regard to their socioeconomic status, their living, and working conditions. This especially holds true for European countries where immigration has been occurring only for a few decades and the immigrant population is still relatively young. This problem can be solved by applying propensity score matching. The study at hand focuses on the health status of Turkish immigrants currently residing in Germany. Previous results in the field are rather inconclusive and do not clearly indicate a better or worse health status of immigrants compared to German natives. Data from the Generations and Gender Survey (2005/2006) is used which includes a sufficiently large sample of Turkish immigrants (4,000) and German natives (10,000). By matching Turkish immigrants and German natives with similar socioeconomic characteristics and coping resources no differences in health status can be observed. More precisely: this shows, that the differences between Turkish immigrants and German natives which are observed in other studies (and by applying regular regression models to the data) might simply be a matter of differences in socioeconomic status and the allocation of resources. Furthermore, we differentiate between first and second generation immigrants. This allows for thoroughly analyzing the special situation of second generation immigrants, which comprise characteristics of two different societies.

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Presented in Session 79: Causes of death – analysis between countries

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