Stockholm university

Matthew WallaceResearcher, Docent

About me

I am a researcher and docent in demography at the Stockholm University Demography Unit and Department of Sociology.

I am the Principal Investigator of the 3.6 million SEK FORTE-funded project "Migrant Mortality Advantage Lost? Emerging Lifespan Inequalities Among Migrants and their Descendants" (2020-2024).

I will also be the Principal Investigator of the 18 million SEK (1.5 million EUR) ERC project "Living longer in poorer health? Understanding the immigrant morbidity-mortality paradox" starting 01/01/2024.


SO7121 "Population Processes"

SO7133 "Event-History Analysis: Regression for Longitudinal Event Data"


I am working on a range of projects related to migration, the children of migrants, population health, public health, demography, and social inequality.

Research projects


A selection from Stockholm University publication database

  • What can the UK learn from the impact of grant populations on national life expectancy?

    2022. Lucinda Hiam (et al.). Journal of Public Health


    Improvements in life expectancy at birth in the UK had stalled prior to 2020 and have fallen during the COVID-19 pandemic. The stagnation took place at a time of relatively high net migration, yet we know that migrants to Australia, the USA and some Nordic countries have positively impacted national life expectancy trends, outperforming native-born populations in terms of life expectancy. It is important to ascertain whether migrants have contributed positively to life expectancy in the UK, concealing worsening trends in the UK-born population, or whether relying on national life expectancy calculations alone may have masked excess mortality in migrant populations. We need a better understanding of the role and contribution of migrant populations to national life expectancy trends in the UK.

    Read more about What can the UK learn from the impact of grant populations on national life expectancy?
  • Age variations and population over-coverage

    2021. Matthew Wallace, Ben Wilson. Population Studies


    The migrant mortality advantage has been observed extensively, but its authenticity is debated. In particular, concerns persist that the advantage is an artefact of the data, generated by the problems of recording mobility among foreign-born populations. Here, we build on the intersection of two recent developments: the first showing substantial age variation in the advantage-a deep U-shaped advantage at peak migration ages-and the second showing high levels of population over-coverage, the principal source of data artefact, at the same ages. We use event history analysis of Sweden's population registers (2010-15) to test whether this over-coverage can explain age variation in the migrant mortality advantage. We document its U-shape in Sweden and, crucially, demonstrate that large mortality differentials persist after adjusting for estimated over-coverage. Our findings contribute to ongoing debate by demonstrating that the migrant mortality advantage is real and by ruling out one of its primary mechanisms.

    Read more about Age variations and population over-coverage
  • Infant mortality among native-born children of immigrants in France, 2008-17

    2021. Matthew Wallace, Myriam Khlat, Michel Guillot. European Journal of Public Health 31 (2), 326-333


    Background: Within Europe, France stands out as a major country that lacks recent and reliable evidence on how infant mortality levels vary among the native-born children of immigrants compared with the native-born children of two parents born in France. Methods: We used a nationally representative socio-demographic panel consisting of 296 400 births and 980 infant deaths for the period 2008-17. Children of immigrants were defined as being born to at least one parent born abroad and their infant mortality was compared with that of children born to two parents born in France. We first calculated infant mortality rates per 1000 live births. Then, using multi-level logit models, we calculated odds ratios of infant mortality in a series of models adjusting progressively for parental origins (M1), core demographic factors (M2), father's socio-professional category (M3) and area-level urbanicity and deprivation score (M4). Results: We documented a substantial amount of excess infant mortality among those children born to at least one parent from Eastern Europe, Northern Africa, Western Africa, Other Sub-Saharan Africa and the Americas, with variation among specific origin countries belonging to these groups. In most of these cases, the excess infant mortality levels persisted after adjusting for all individual-level and area-level factors. Conclusions: Our findings, which can directly inform national public health policy, reaffirm the persistence of longstanding inequality in infant mortality according to parental origins in France and add to a growing body of evidence documenting excess infant mortality among the children of immigrants in Europe.

    Read more about Infant mortality among native-born children of immigrants in France, 2008-17
  • A population-based cohort study of socio-demographic risk factors for COVID-19 deaths in Sweden

    2020. Sven Drefahl (et al.). Nature Communications 11 (1)


    As global deaths from COVID-19 continue to rise, the world's governments, institutions, and agencies are still working toward an understanding of who is most at risk of death. In this study, data on all recorded COVID-19 deaths in Sweden up to May 7, 2020 are linked to high-quality and accurate individual-level background data from administrative registers of the total population. By means of individual-level survival analysis we demonstrate that being male, having less individual income, lower education, not being married all independently predict a higher risk of death from COVID-19 and from all other causes of death. Being an immigrant from a low- or middle-income country predicts higher risk of death from COVID-19 but not for all other causes of death. The main message of this work is that the interaction of the virus causing COVID-19 and its social environment exerts an unequal burden on the most disadvantaged members of society. Better understanding of who is at highest risk of death from COVID-19 is important for public health planning. Here, the authors demonstrate an unequal mortality burden associated with socially disadvantaged groups in Sweden.

    Read more about A population-based cohort study of socio-demographic risk factors for COVID-19 deaths in Sweden
  • Poor health, low mortality? Paradox found among immigrants in England and Wales

    2020. Matthew Wallace, Fran Darlington-Pollock. Population, Space and Place


    The 'healthy immigrant effect' and 'migrant mortality advantage' describe the better health and lower mortality of international immigrants as compared with the native-born populations of high-income countries. However, a growing body of evidence suggests that it is much more common to observe low mortality among immigrants than it is good health, pointing to the existence of a potential paradox that mirrors the well-known gender paradox in health and mortality. To investigate this, we used the Office for National Statistics Longitudinal Study, a large-scale representative 1% sample of the England and Wales resident population comprising linked individual-level health, mortality, and socio-demographic data. We compared health and mortality within and across major immigrant groups over 20 years using logistic regression for health and discrete-time survival analysis for mortality, both before and after adjusting for socio-demographic factors. Of the eight origin subgroups studied, we found persistent evidence of a health-mortality paradox within three: men and women from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, and the Caribbean. We discuss potential explanations and implications of this paradox and suggest that decision makers need to react to help these subgroups preserve their health in order to delay the onset of limiting illnesses and emergence of this paradox.

    Read more about Poor health, low mortality? Paradox found among immigrants in England and Wales
  • Understanding age variations in the migrant mortality advantage

    2018. Michel Guillot (et al.). PLOS ONE 13 (6)


    This paper investigates age variations in foreign-born vs. native-born mortality ratios in an international comparative perspective, with the purpose of gaining insight into the mechanisms underlying the so-called migrant mortality advantage. We examine the four main explanations that have been proposed in the literature for the migrant mortality advantage (i.e., in-migration selection effects, out-migration selection effects, cultural effects, and data artifacts), and formulate expectations as to whether they should generate an increase, a decrease, or no change in relative mortality over the life course. Using data from France, the US and the UK for periods around 2010, we then examine typical age patterns of foreign-born vs. native-born mortality ratios in light of this theoretical framework. We find that these mortality ratios vary greatly by age, with important similarities across migrant groups and host countries. The most systematic age pattern we find is a U-shape pattern: at the aggregate level, migrants often experience excess mortality at young ages, then exhibit a large advantage at adult ages (with the largest advantage around age 45), and finally experience mortality convergence with natives at older ages. The explanation most consistent with this pattern is the “in-migration selection effects” explanation. By contrast, the “out-migration selection effects” explanation is poorly supported by the observed patterns. Our age disaggregation also shows that migrants at mid-adult ages experience mortality advantages that are often far greater than typically documented in this literature. Overall, these results reinforce the notion that migrants are a highly-selected population exhibiting mortality patterns that poorly reflect their living conditions in host countries.

    Read more about Understanding age variations in the migrant mortality advantage

Show all publications by Matthew Wallace at Stockholm University