Low Immigrant Mortality in England and Wales: A Data Artefact?
Matthew Wallace, University of Liverpool
International research shows low mortality for most migrants compared to the host population in industrialised countries. This advantage is often attributed to health selection and cultural factors in lifestyle and diet; little research has examined the role of data quality. Errors in the registration of moves can mismatch deaths and risk populations, causing denominator bias and under-estimation of mortality. The paper investigates the mortality of migrants in England and Wales using the Office for National Statistics Longitudinal Study, a 1% longitudinal sample. We apply survival models to study the mortality of 450,000 individuals. We conduct sensitivity analysis to assess the influence of registration error on migrant mortality rates and show that most migrants have lower mortality than the host population. Mortality differentials persist when models are adjusted for data error and become pronounced after control for social position. The study finds low migrant mortality which is not a data artefact.