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Health Place. 2011 Jul;17(4):988-95. doi: 10.1016/j.healthplace.2011.03.008. Epub 2011 Mar 31.

Migration does not enlarge inequalities in health between rich and poor neighbourhoods in The Netherlands.

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Department of Public Health, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, PO Box 22660, 1100 DD Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


We estimate to what extent migration contributes to inequalities in health between rich and poor neighbourhoods in The Netherlands. We used a sample from the survey WoonOnderzoek Nederland 2006. Using multilevel logistic regression analyses, we assessed the magnitude of health differences between poor vs. rich areas for the migrant and total population. Next, we compared the health of migrants to non-migrant populations and we assessed the role of sociodemographic characteristics. For most health indicators, area inequalities in health were much smaller in the migrant population than in the total population. The health of migrants was generally in-between the health of non-migrants who lived in areas of origin and destination. The differences in health with the population in the areas of origin were almost completely explained by sociodemographic characteristics. Health is related to risk of migration between poor and rich areas, mostly through sociodemographic selection instead of a direct effect of health. Despite the relationship with health, migration does not enlarge inequalities in health between poor and rich neighbourhoods but possibly attenuates the health differences.

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