The Health of African Immigrants in the U.S.: Explaining the Immigrant Health Advantage

Holly E. Reed, Queens College, City University of New York (CUNY)
Catherine S. Andrzejewski, Queens College, City University of New York (CUNY)
Liza Fuentes, CUNY School of Public Health

We examine the health of African immigrants to the United States, a relatively understudied but rapidly growing population. Informed by research on immigrants’ “health advantage,” we utilize a pooled, six-year sample of the National Health Interview Survey (N=145,144) to compare African immigrants to Latin American immigrants and to native-born U.S. residents on three health outcomes: self-reported health status, any serious medical condition, and any functional limitation. In bivariate analysis, we find that Latin American-born and native-born residents have poorer health compared to African-born residents on all three measures. We test several theories to account for these differences, including migrant selectivity, acculturation, health care access, and health behaviors. Once we control for these intermediate mechanisms in multivariate analysis, the influence of nativity diminishes substantially, suggesting that each of these theories contributes to the explanation of the African immigrant health advantage relative to Latin American immigrants and the native-born.

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Presented in Poster Session 4