Beyond the Healthy Immigrant Paradox: Decomposing Differences in Birthweight among Immigrants in Spain

Mikolaj Stanek , Universidad de Salamanca
Alberto del Rey Poveda, Universidad de Salamanca
Miguel Requena, Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED)
Jesús García-Gómez, University of Salamanca

In this research we analyse the extent to which differences in birthweight are determined by disparities in the composition of immigrant groups from different origins. Using Oaxaca-Blinder decomposition method, we estimate the extent to which differences in birthweight among specific origins are due to uneven distribution of relevant characteristics and other, unspecified factors. We compare EU15 mothers with mothers from New Member State, Africa and Latin America. The data used in this study was generated by linking a sample of the micro-data from the 2011 Spanish Census with micro-data from the Municipal Register of Inhabitants of the years 2012 and 2016 and with birth and death records from the Natural Movement of Population for the period 2011-2015. For our analysis we extracted data regarding mothers who delivered a baby in the period 2011-2015 from this global database. Descriptive analysis provide evidence for better birth outcomes among African, Latina American and NMS when compared to Spaniards and EU15. Oaxaca-Blinder decomposition of differences between EU15 mothers and the three other categories of migrants shows irregular pattern. When we compare EU15 and NMS mothers, the compositional differences (explained portion) account for almost entire gap in birthweight. By contrast, the greater contribution of unexplained portion to the gap in birthweight between EU15 and African mothers and between EU15 and Latin American suggests that several unobserved characteristics (such as selectivity) also may play an important role in explaining differences in birthweight among immigrants to Spain.

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 Presented in Session 86. Health and Wellbeing of Migrants