The Healthy Migrant Hypothesis in the USA at the Turn of the 20th Century: Investigating Origin and Destination Effects Using Crowdsourced Online Genealogies

Saverio Minardi , University of Bologna
Nicola Barban, University of Bologna
Paul Puschmann, Radboud University Nijmegen

This paper uses novel crowdsourced genealogy data to study the migrant mortality advantage and its underlying mechanisms during the 19th and 20th centuries within the USA. Crowdsourced genealogy data are a unique opportunity to investigate the healthy migrant hypothesis since genealogies transcend national borders and contain information about family histories. Leveraging these data, we assess differences in migrants’ lifespans relative to origin and destination populations distinguishing by country of origin, and specifically compared to their non-migrant siblings. Results indicate a healthy migrant effect for all nationalities, except for the Irish, compared to the origin population. This result is fairly consistent when comparing migrant to non-migrant siblings. However, results highlight a mortality disadvantage for certain nationalities compared to the US-born population. Overall, the findings underscore the heterogeneity of the healthy migrant effect across populations, emphasizing the importance of considering both origin and destination when assessing migrants’ health.

See extended abstract

 Presented in Session 8. Harnessing the Power of Genealogical Data: Opportunities and Challenges