Immigration as pathogenic: a systematic review of the health of immigrants to Canada

Int J Equity Health. 2010 Nov 24;9:27. doi: 10.1186/1475-9276-9-27.


This review investigates the health of immigrants to Canada by critically examining differences in health status between immigrants and the native-born population and by tracing how the health of immigrants changes after settling in the country. Fifty-one published empirical studies met the inclusion criteria for this review. The analysis focuses on four inter-related questions: (1) Which health conditions show transition effects and which do not? (2) Do health transitions vary by ethnicity/racialized identity? (3) How are health transitions influenced by socioeconomic status? and (4) How do compositional and contextual factors interact to affect the health of immigrants? Theoretical and methodological challenges facing this area of research are discussed and future directions are identified. This area of research has the potential to develop into a complex, nuanced, and useful account of the social determinants of health as experienced by different groups in different places.