Health transition of international migrants: a study of Indian and Chinese immigrants in the US

Lopamudra Ray Saraswati, Jawaharlal Nehru University

Present paper has made an attempt to study the transition in health of Indian and Chinese legal immigrants in the US, in a comparative perspective. A health model has been formulated based on two related insights: 1) if migration is stressful, then the appropriate time for assessing health selectivity is at the time of the migration decision rather than at the time of the actual migration, and 2) assessment of health change subsequent to immigration should take into account heterogeneity in the sources of health change and their timing. The model distinguishes between the permanent and transitory components of health and identifies three distinct sources of change in the transitory component: visa stress, migration stress, and US exposure. Though not all the data required for a thorough empirical assessment are available, several key components of health change have been estimated. This paper uses data from the New Immigrant Survey, carried out in the United States. This is a panel study of the new legal immigrants in the United States, and the information for the present paper has been drawn from the base-line round of its first full cohort of the fiscal year 2003. Results indicate towards a wide variability in the distribution of immigrants’ health for the different visa categories. Employment-based immigrants appear to be among the most positively selected for health. Chinese immigrants are more likely than Indian immigrants to report experiencing sadness or depression because of the visa process and the pattern of effects appears to differ across the sexes.

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Presented in Poster Session 2