Introduction: The intense wave of immigration to Spain since the mid-1990s has posed a major challenge to the organization of the Spanish health system. Consequently, knowledge of the health status of the new immigrant population is highly important. The aim of this study is to analyze health-related quality of life in the working-age (16-50 years) immigrant population. Methods: We use data from the 2006 Catalan Health Survey and probit models to analyze each of the five dimensions of the EQ-5D, a generic health-related quality of life measure (dependent variables). As explanatory variables we use: (i) socio-demographic characteristics, (ii) health (diagnosed illnesses, accidents), and (iii) lifestyles. Immigrant status is included as an explanatory variable, and alternative probit models were used to analyze each of the dimensions of the quality of life instrument. Results: Immigrant status is significantly associated with lower health status in the dimensions of pain/discomfort and anxiety/depression. Our results show that the differences between the immigrant and native-born population vary between men and women, and also depend on country of birth and length of residence in Spain. Discussion: The results show that the working-age immigrant population has lower health-related quality of life. These results add a rider in the healthy immigrant effect hypothesis. However, there is substantial heterogeneity within the immigrant collective and thus other variables, such as country of birth and time since arrival in Spain, should be taken into account before reaching any final conclusions.

Immigrants, Population characteristic, Quality of life,
Gaceta Sanitaria
Erasmus School of Economics

García-Gómez, M.P, & Oliva, J. (2009). Health-related quality of life of working-age immigrant population. Gaceta Sanitaria, 23(SUPPL. 1), 38–46. doi:10.1016/j.gaceta.2009.09.008