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When in America, do as the Americans? The evolution of health behaviors and outcomes across immigrant cohorts

Paolo Barbieri () and Hieu M. Nguyen

Economics & Human Biology, 2021, vol. 43, issue C

Abstract: This study seeks to understand US immigrants’ health-related behaviors and outcomes across arrival cohorts. We simultaneously examine risky consumption choices (smoking and drinking) and physical health conditions (asthma, diabetes, vision problems, and coronary heart diseases) using data from the National Health Interview Surveys (1989–2018). We incorporate cohort fixed-effects and the interactions between cohort effects and years since immigration into our empirical framework to capture the dynamics of immigrant health over time. For all health indicators, we find that there are important differences between arriving immigrants and natives. Despite some heterogeneity in the dynamics of unhealthy behaviors, this heterogeneity seems to dissipate as we explore longer-term health outcomes. Overall, our findings provide an interesting outlook on how the integration into the host society affects American immigrants’ health. We contribute new results to the immigrant assimilation literature, which has primarily focused on obesity and wages.

Keywords: Healthy immigration effects; Unhealthy assimilation; Hispanic paradox (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1016/j.ehb.2021.101063

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