Changes in income inequality and the health of immigrants

Tod G. Hamilton, Ichiro Kawachi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

Research suggests that income inequality is inversely associated with health. This association has been documented in studies that utilize variation in income inequality across countries or across time from a single country. The primary criticism of these approaches is their inability to account for potential confounders that are associated with income inequality. This paper uses variation in individual experiences of income inequality among immigrants within the United States (U.S.) to evaluate whether individuals who moved from countries with greater income inequality than the U.S. have better health than those who migrated from countries with less income in equality than the U.S. Utilizing individual-level (March Current Population Survey) and country-level data (the United Nations Human Development Reports), we show that among immigrants who have resided in the U.S. between 6 and 20 years, self-reported health is more favorable for the immigrants in the former category (i.e., greater income inequality) than those in the latter (i.e., lower income inequality). Results also show that self-reported health is better among immigrants from more developed countries and those who have more years of education, are male, and are married.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)57-66
Number of pages10
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Volume80
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • History and Philosophy of Science

Keywords

  • Health
  • Immigrants
  • Income inequality
  • Inequality
  • Migration
  • United States

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