The short-term health of Canada's new immigrant arrivals: evidence from LSIC

Ethn Health. 2009 Jun;14(3):315-36. doi: 10.1080/13557850802609956.


Objectives: The objectives of the current paper are to address the timing of declines in health after arrival in the host country, and to document differences in health status by immigrant arrival group (economic immigrants, family reunification, and refugees).

Design: Statistics Canada's Longitudinal Survey of Immigrants to Canada captures health and other attributes of a cohort of immigrant arrivals to Canada at six months, two years, and four years after arrival. Descriptive and multivariate methods are applied to this data file in order to ascertain changes in health status in the period immediately after arrival.

Results: Significant declines in health status are noted within as little as two years post-arrival. In addition, refugees are observed to have lower levels of health and are more likely to transition to a state of poor health, while economic immigrants report the highest levels of self-assessed health.

Conclusion: The health status of new arrivals, measured by self-assessed health, physical health, and mental health, declines quickly after arrival. Refugees generally experience the lowest levels of health.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Canada
  • Emigrants and Immigrants*
  • Female
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Refugees
  • Young Adult