How the Other Half Died: Immigration and Mortality in US Cities
Philipp Ager (),
James Feigenbaum (),
Casper Hansen () and
No 14949, CEPR Discussion Papers from C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers
Fears of immigrants as a threat to public health have a long and sordid history. At the turn of the 20th century, when millions of immigrants crowded into dense American cities, contemporaries blamed the high urban mortality penalty on the newest arrivals. Nativist sentiments eventually led to the implementation of restrictive quota acts in the 1920s, substantially curtailing immigration. We capture the "missing immigrants" induced by the quotas to estimate the effect of immigration on mortality. We find that cities with more missing immigrants experienced sharp declines in deaths from infectious diseases from the mid-1920s until the late 1930s. The blame for these negative mortality effects lies not with the immigrants, but on the living conditions they endured. We show that mortality declines were largest in cities where immigrants resided in the most crowded and squalid conditions and where public health resources were stretched the thinnest. Though immigrants did die from infectious diseases at higher rates than the US-born, the mortality decline we find is primarily driven by crowding not changes in population composition or contagion, as we show mortality improvements for both US- and foreign-born populations in more quota-affected cities.
Keywords: density; Immigration; Nativism; Urban Mortality (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I14 J15 N32 N92 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
References: Add references at CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (2) Track citations by RSS feed
Downloads: (external link)
CEPR Discussion Papers are free to download for our researchers, subscribers and members. If you fall into one of these categories but have trouble downloading our papers, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Working Paper: How the Other Half Died: Immigration and Mortality in US Cities (2020)
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.
Export reference: BibTeX
RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan)
Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:14949
Ordering information: This working paper can be ordered from
http://www.cepr.org/ ... rs/dp.php?dpno=14949
Access Statistics for this paper
More papers in CEPR Discussion Papers from C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers Centre for Economic Policy Research, 33 Great Sutton Street, London EC1V 0DX.
Bibliographic data for series maintained by ().