Immigrants Live Longer Than Native-Born U.S. Residents, Study Finds
U.S. immigrants live an average of three years longer than native-born residents, according to a study published in the May issue of the Canadian Journal of Public Health, the AP/Wall Street Journal reports. In the study, NIH researcher Gopal Singh reviewed millions of death and medical records dated between 1986 and 1994. The study found that immigrants had a life expectancy of about 78 years, compared with about 75 years for native-born residents. In addition, the study found that immigrant black men live nine years longer on average than native-born black men. Health experts in large part attribute the results of the study to differences in lifestyle. For example, 22% of adult immigrants are obese, compared with 28% of native-born adults, and 18% of adult immigrants smoke, compared with about 26% of native-born adults, according to data from the mid-1990s. In addition, past federal studies have found that black immigrants drink less alcohol and exercise more than native-born blacks. According to the AP/Journal, the results of the new study are "astonishing" because immigrants are more likely to have lower incomes and less likely to visit physicians than native-born residents. Singh said, "People have a misconception that immigrants have poorer health, but when you look at the empirical data ... you almost always find they do better than their U.S.-born counterparts" (AP/Wall Street Journal, 5/27).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.