A Global Perspective of Migration and Occupational Health

Am J Ind Med. 2010 Apr;53(4):329-37. doi: 10.1002/ajim.20834.


Background: Global migration has dramatically increased over the past decade and is at an all-time high, approaching 200 million persons per year. Demographics and economic interdependence suggest that immigration will continue for the near future at record high levels.

Methods: A review of the few studies that have investigated occupational injury and illness rates among immigrant populations.

Results: Existing data indicate that higher rates of fatal and non-fatal injuries are common compared to native populations. This increase is in part due to immigrants working in higher risk occupations (e.g., agriculture, construction), but occupational morbidity and mortality is higher among immigrants than native-born workers within occupational categories.

Conclusions: Research is needed to identify the causes of increased risk among immigrants and to provide direction to effective public health interventions. Research methods must be adapted to different epidemiologic characteristics of immigrant populations, including lack of standard sampling frames, different language and culture from the dominant culture, and precarious work status.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cause of Death
  • Economics*
  • Emigration and Immigration* / trends
  • Global Health
  • Humans
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects
  • Occupational Health*
  • Occupations*
  • Population Surveillance
  • Risk Factors
  • Wounds and Injuries / etiology
  • Wounds and Injuries / prevention & control