In my academic research I have focused on Polish migration to the UK. I have done this largely through interviewing Polish migrants directly – in-depth interviews which allow time to talk about key experiences and feelings related to migrating from Poland to the UK. I have interviewed people who were refugees from the Second World…
Last week, I published a paper in Social Science & Medicine examining mortality among the major immigrant groups in England and Wales over a thirty year period from 1971 to 2001. While recent national media focus has fixated firmly on the fiscal cost of ‘health tourism’ – “Migrants to face emergency NHS charges” (BBC), “End of free NHS care for migrants under new bill” (Telegraph), “Tough rules to stop health tourists” (Daily Mail) – there has been little focus on the health of immigrants who actually live in England and Wales. The health and mortality of these groups is of substantial interest to policy-makers. Evidence suggests inequalities in health by ethnicity and country of birth, but there has been insufficient consideration of the importance of country of origin and length of residence in the United Kingdom.
In short, results from the paper show low mortality (compared to non-migrants in England and Wales) for individuals from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Western Europe, China and group Other Asia. Analysis also shows that this low mortality begins converging to native levels over time – though low mortality persists for some groups at old ages. As to why we see these patterns, low mortality among first-generation immigrants provides evidence of a ‘healthy migrant effect’ whereby individuals initially ‘select’ for good health and the personality traits often associated with a successful migration (ambition, social adeptness and risk-resilience). This good health and low mortality then wears off over time as individuals ‘acculturate’ or adopt the unfavourable habits and behaviours of the host society.
There are of course many additional dimensions to the research which I do not cover here. If you would like to read the discussion in full, the paper is available online through journal Social Science & Medicine or alternatively, at: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Matthew_Wallace3. If there is anything you would like to discuss, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. The paper was co-authored with Dr Hill Kulu; the research was supported by the Economic and Social Research Council [ES/J500094/1] with permission from the Office for National Statistics. The next step of my research is to study the mortality of second generation migrants in England and Wales. Previous research suggests that this group do not share the low mortality of their parents and may actually have a higher mortality risk than natives.
Dr Gemma Catney has just published a book Minority Internal Migration in Europe, co-edited with Dr Nissa Finney, a colleague at the Centre for Census and Survey Research (CCSR) at the University of Manchester. The book brings together leading scholars in the fields of migration, ethnicity and diversity to form a collection of 13 research chapters, examining patterns of residential mobility of minorities, and synthesising key themes, theories and methods. The additional introductory and concluding chapters of the book bring together these themes to form an agenda for future research on minority and immigrant internal migration in developed societies. The book also contains a comprehensive reference list containing the most recent and significant work in the field.
Immigration is a major component of population change for countries across Europe. However, questions remain about where immigrants go after they arrive in a new country. What are the patterns of internal migration of minorities (immigrants and their descendants), and what are the causes and implications of these flows? Migration within a nation state is a powerful force, redistributing the population and altering the demographic, social and economic composition of regions, cities and neighbourhoods. Yet relatively little is known about the significance of ethnicity in migration processes, or how population movement contributes to immigrant and ethnic integration. Minority internal migration is an emerging field of academic interest in many European countries in the context of high levels of immigration and increased political interest in inter-ethnic relations and place-based policies; countries represented include Belgium, the UK, Portugal, The Netherlands, Israel, Germany, Turkey, Greece, Sweden and Spain. The analyses presented in Minority Internal Migration in Europe make important contributions to theories of migration and minority integration and may inform policies that aim to respond to local population change and increasing diversity.
The book is part of Ashgate’s International Population Studies Series. Praise for Minority Internal Migration in Europe so far includes “…for scholars of minority populations this is the book to read in order to learn about the dynamics of relocation of those minorities which will influence the future shape of our ethnically diverse societies” (Prof. Phil Rees, School of Geography, University of Leeds) and “[the] chapters benefit greatly from following a consistent structure in which overviews of immigration history and policy lead on to discussion of conceptual and theoretical frameworks and to new, mainly nationally-based, empirical analyses. The editors’ opening and closing chapters reinforce the themes of importance of place and diversity of experience, serving as a powerful reminder of the dangers of generalising about immigration and its impacts on sub-national population structures and distributions. I also applaud their concluding research agenda that challenges us to take advantage of the 2010 census round and other sources to update and deepen our knowledge and understanding of this migration.” (Prof. Tony Champion, Centre for Urban and Regional Development Studies, Newcastle University).