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Research project Migrant mortality advantage lost? Emerging lifespan inequalities among migrants & their descendants

Inequality in the length of life is the most fundamental of all inequality, but has been overlooked in the study of international migrants. For migrants, this represents a complex mix of their previous conditions in the origin country, the migration process, and current and often disadvantageous conditions in the host country.

Inequality in the length of life is the most fundamental of all inequality, but has been overlooked in the study of international migrants. This is because such disparities arise from the conditions in which people are born, grow, live work and age. For migrants, this represents a complex mix of their previous (and often advantageous) conditions in the origin country, the (selective) migration process, and current (and often disadvantageous) conditions in the host country.

Given that the first two stages of the migrant life course are theorised to provide protective lagged effects against the latter one, it becomes difficult to determine the extent of inequality that migrants experience in the host country. On the other hand, their descendants are born, grow, live work and age in the host country. Unlike their parents, they experience early and adult life conditions in one country and do not experience migration. We benefit from this by examining lifespan inequality among migrants, their descendants and ancestral Swedes, focusing on descendants as a way to more accurately capture the extent of inequality experienced by migrant populations.

No Swedish studies have directly compared these groups, although a handful of European studies show that the mortality advantage experienced by migrants is not transferred to their descendants. However, these studies only compare total populations of first- and second-generation. We will be significantly more specific by comparing parents to children and studying the role of parental factors in the length of their children’s lives. This intergenerational perspective will offer a richer, more tangible insight into lifespan inequality and show how the conditions of one generation can influence the lifespan inequality of the next.

We will implement state-of-the-art statistical methods on the national registers to offer a powerful overview of lifespan inequality in Sweden and provide reliable new evidence to policy makers.

Project members

Project managers

Matthew Wallace

Researcher, Docent

Department of Sociology
Matthew Wallace. Photo: Leila Zoubir/Stockholm University

Members

Siddartha Aradhya

Researcher

Department of Sociology
Siddartha Aradhya. Photo: Stockholm University

Sven Drefahl

Senior Lecturer, Docent

Department of Sociology
Sven Drefahl. Photo: Stockholm University

Sol Juarez

Senior Lecturer, Associate Professor

Department of Public Health Sciences
SOL JUAREZ