The Health Toll of Immigration

Sabrina Tavernise, New York Times, May 19, 2013

Becoming an American can be bad for your health.

A growing body of mortality research on immigrants has shown that the longer they live in this country, the worse their rates of heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. And while their American-born children may have more money, they tend to live shorter lives than the parents.

The pattern goes against any notion that moving to America improves every aspect of life. It also demonstrates that at least in terms of health, worries about assimilation for the country’s 11 million illegal immigrants are mistaken. In fact, it is happening all too quickly.

“There’s something about life in the United States that is not conducive to good health across generations,” said Robert A. Hummer, a social demographer at the University of Texas at Austin.

For Hispanics, now the nation’s largest immigrant group, the foreign-born live about three years longer than their American-born counterparts, several studies have found.

Why does life in the United States — despite its sophisticated health care system and high per capita wages—lead to worse health? New research is showing that the immigrant advantage wears off with the adoption of American behaviors—smoking, drinking, high-calorie diets and sedentary lifestyles.


As early as the 1970s, researchers found that immigrants lived several years longer than American-born whites even though they tended to have less education and lower income, factors usually associated with worse health. That gap has grown since 1980. Less clear, however, was what happened to immigrants and their American-born offspring after a lifetime in the United States.

Evidence is mounting that the second generation does worse. Elizabeth Arias, a demographer at the National Center for Health Statistics, has made exploratory estimates based on data from 2007 to 2009, which show that Hispanic immigrants live 2.9 years longer than American-born Hispanics. The finding, which has not yet been published, is similar to those in earlier studies.


Other research suggests that some of the difference has to do with variation among American-born Hispanics, most of whom still do better than the rest of the American population. Puerto Ricans born in the continental United States, for example, have some of the shortest life spans and even do worse than whites born in the United States, according to research by Professor Hummer, dragging down the numbers for American-born Hispanics. But Mexican immigrant men live about two years longer than Mexican-American men, according to the estimates by Ms. Arias.


And health habits in Mexico are starting to look a lot like those in the United States. Researchers are beginning to wonder how long better numbers for the foreign-born will last. Up to 40 percent of the diet of rural Mexicans now comes from packaged foods, according to Professor Valdez.

“We are seeing a huge shift away from traditional diets,” he said. “People are no longer growing what they are eating. They are increasingly going to the market, and that market is changing.”

Joseph B. McCormick, the regional dean of the University of Texas School of Public Health in Brownsville, said, “The U.S. culture has crept across the border.”

Perhaps more immediate is the declining state of Hispanic health in the United States. Nearly twice as many Hispanic adults as non-Hispanic white adults have diabetes that has been diagnosed, a rate that researchers now say may have a genetic component, particularly in those whose ancestry is Amerindian from Central and South America, Dr. McCormick said.

Hispanic adults are also 14 percent more likely to be obese, according to 2010 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The rate is even higher for Hispanic children, who are 51 percent more likely to be obese than non-Hispanic white children.


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  • Bill

    Ahhhhh…….would that it was irate Americans which made it healthier to stay in Mexico where they belong………

  • Erasmus

    Americans also live longer when Mexicans live in Mexico.

    • bebe

      LOL! Great one, my friend.

    • Paleoconn

      haha the life expectancy of everyone in the US is longer when Mexicans stay put. Blacks in Azusa, Compton, Hawaiian Gardens and elsewhere are shouting ‘hear hear!’

  • The__Bobster

    Hey, Reconquista Rubio, we have to send you buddies home…for their health. It wouldn’t be humane to keep them here.

  • IstvanIN

    Oh boy, this means even more SSI payments for all these disabled hispanics! Net-tax consumers!

    • MBlanc46

      Not to worry, we’re going to be getting rid of that. Sorry, I mean “reforming” it.

  • So CAL Snowman

    Well of course they have more health problems here than they do in Mexico. In Mexico they do not have EBT funded shopping trips to the Frito-Lay aisle of the local 7/11

  • Token Finn

    So basically they fail even when their conditions get a huge lift. The reason must be their lower impulse control and/or general dumbness, which causes them to overindulge, while whites know better.

    • MBlanc46

      “Whites know better”? Maybe in Finland, but not in the US. We’re the land of the lard-buckets. You can see more obesity walking down an American street in an hour than you’d see in (say) Amsterdam in a year.

  • sbuffalonative

    I’m sorry to say these facts and figures won’t do anything to keep Hispanics out or drive them to leave. What they will do is force US to change our eating and lifestyle choices. WE will be blamed for corrupting and ruining the health of these people.

    • jambi19

      Dietary laws are prevalent in foreign cultures indeed. Bloomberg’s actions is proof that food laws are to be expected.

  • bigone4u

    I believe San Antonio is the second largest agglomeration of Mexicans in the USA behind LA. It’s also the fattest city, if I recall correctly. Every backyard is equipped with a barbeque, where the family and friends gather all weekend for grilling and swilling. Beer and barbeque are the true “Mexican family values.” Sometimes these get togethers lead to someone being shot. Not white family values I would say.

  • GeneticsareDestiny

    “The rate is even higher for Hispanic children, who are 51 percent more likely to be obese than non-Hispanic white children.”

    That is incredible. And who’s going to be paying for these children’s health care? Whitey, as always.

  • White Mom in WDC

    Living where I do, I run into alot immigrants. Many are surprised when they get to the States how challenging it is with childcare expense, rent, school, etc. Stress coupled with bad lifestyle and isolation from family along tyrannical government leads to all mental and physical health issues. I tell people to tell the others to stay to do themselves and us native citizens a favor.

    • bigone4u

      You’re doing good telling them to stay but I fear that the lure of a free Obamaphone trumps reason and common sense.

      • White Mom in WDC

        Yeah, there must be something magical in the Obamaphone ringtone.

      • White Mom in WDC

        I really don’t get why people keep coming here.

        • bigone4u

          I know why they come, but I can’t figure out why we let them.

          • White Mom in WDC

            Why do they come here?

        • MBlanc46

          Things are rough for them here, but Mexico is a real hellhole.

          • White Mom in WDC

            K. So what is your stance. Sure, Mexico is a hell hole. Do we send them back, keep them here, or what? I did not bring these people here. I do not wish bad things on anyone, but these people are not my responsibility.

          • MBlanc46

            I was just answering the question as to why they come. With 7.5% (official) unemployment, I’d terminate all immigration and deport all those here illegally. But I don’t get to decide.

          • White Mom in WDC

            We all know ‘official’ stats are complete BS aka bullsugar

  • pcmustgo

    They’re worked to death. It’s the modern day slavery… and it’s lowering our wages and working conditions too.

    • bebe

      LOL! “WORKED to death? All I see is them running all over the streets and trashing my city and committing crimes. I guess you call that slavery? BTW, those fruit pickers make more than most of us do an hour…

  • SoCal LoCal

    Of course America is unhealthy for Mexicans, do you have any idea how much a case of Bud and a bag of greasy tacos costs in Mexican wages? Mucho Pesos, for sure!

    • josh

      and the price of an 11 year old prostituto?? Outrageous!!

  • Sue

    What is non-Hispanic white? Sick of that BS too.

    “smoking, drinking, high-calorie diets and sedentary lifestyles.” They get this sedentary life thanks to the non-Hispanic white taxpayers.

    • Its bad. Its turned into pale Cuban American’s going around talking like they are one with the Mexicans cause their last name is Garcia, and the reality is their parents are like “WTF is wrong with my child?”

      Its also slowly seeping into Italian-American culture too.

      Also had a good laugh, go to Valeria Sokolova instagram and she has a black BF and she posted a picture of him and some Russian-American girl said Russians aren’t Caucasian. American education…

  • David Ashton

    Some unexpectedly good news to spread around.

  • libertarian 1234

    “Becoming an American can be bad for your health.”
    Yes, especially after critical mass is reached, both economically and tribally.

  • bebe

    Disqus seems to be taking longer than usual. Reload

    Does anyone else have a problem with disqus such as this with round circles going around and around forever? There are days I cannot ever get on the amren comments as these circles goes forever. What is wrong with disqus? Time to get rid of it.

    • MBlanc46

      Yep. Comments are loading slowly if at all.

      • Bossman

        It seems that it is doing that for only this topic.

        • MBlanc46

          I’ve had trouble on numerous topics, yesterday and today.

  • Bobby

    “Mexicans live longer if they stay in Mexico”
    I’ve always believed that good health advice should be strictly followed.

    • White Mom in WDC

      But dude, if they live longer, the likelihood that they will breed more squatmonsters will increase. Damn them!

  • Nick Gherz

    Genesis was right:

    It’s no fun being an illegal alien.

  • Funruffian

    Retiring in Mexico may not be a bad idea for some. i knew several doctors who retired in Cancun, Rosarita Beach and Cabo San Lucas. They bought awesome mansions, fishing boats and had money to spare. If I had much denero I would do the same and find myself a hot little senorita half my age. LOL.

    • Bossman

      Yes more North American integration would not be a bad idea. Mexico is in North America and they’ve got a fine climate so why not help them to fix their culture so we all can enjoy the benefits of it.

      • DudeWheresMyCountry?

        We tried. It’s not possible to make a first world nation in Mexico when it is filled with third world people.

  • Let’s not forget that mass immigration is good for business; it lowers wages and increases consumption. One might think of the social consequences, but our system demands business profits at any cost. (social costs can be absorbed by individuals)

    Also, as we deride these people, we might want to remember that even fellow White Christian Americans were detested when they were forced to make an exodus out of Oklahoma during the 1930’s.

    Maybe we just hate everyone who competes for limited resources?

    • BonusGift

      As a general rule, without whitey there are only limited resources, no excess ones to speak of. Regarding the squats, there is a strong tribal aspect to these things whether we care to see it or not. As Ayn Rand stated: “You can ignore reality, but you cannot ignore the consequences of ignoring reality.” The reality is that our overlords, against our wishes, have imported another permanent underclass that is not suited to western civilization; and as a bonus have false cultural Marxist derived claims to our land (actually any country given the lack of legitimacy of the supposed claims). In fact, they are parasitic and destructive in ways that almost bugger the mind (e.g., rates of drunk driving fatalities, rates of incest, obesity, vertically challenged, etc., etcetera). Welcome to another anchor weighing whitey down. Memo to our overlords who read this comment: Eventually overwhelming and outright killing us (i.e., the host) with these types of parasitic misfits will not result in your happy ending.

      • The reality is that our overlords, against our wishes, have imported another permanent underclass that is not suited to western civilization This statement is at the heart of the issue. My contention is that people have been imported to this country not out of an ancient grudge to dispossess gentiles, but rather as a resource used to support the insatiable demands of greed and profit. For example, can anyone successfully make the case that Blacks were brought to the Americas out of a plan hatched by a select religious few to undermine White solidarity? If so, where are the historical documents or facts to support this claim. It is much easier to claim and substantiate that Blacks were brought here for one reason only – they were immensely profitable for the landed elite.

        The mass immigration of Latinos follows the same pattern: Out of an insatiable greed, business must produce greater and ever increasing profits. Immigrants provide this in the form of lower wages and increased consumption. Poor immigrants are very profitable for business interests as the social costs of increased immigration are never absorbed by business. When is the last time you heard of any corporation stepping in to help with the costs of education, housing, welfare of their imported labor pool?

        • BonusGift

          Not greed in an Adam Smith capitalist sense, but sure, privatizing gains and externalizing costs is part of the driving force, and in addition:
          “Most important for the content of immigration reform, the driving force at the core of the movement, reaching back to the 1920s, were Jewish organizations long active in opposing racial and ethnic quotas Following the shock of the Holocaust, Jewish leaders had been especially active in Washington in furthering immigration reform. To the public, the most visible evidence of the immigration reform drive was played by Jewish legislative leaders, such as Representative [Emmanuel] Celler and Senator Jacob
          Javits of New York. Less visible, but equally important, were the
          efforts of key advisers on presidential and agency staffs. These included senior policy advisers such as Julius Edelson and Harry
          Rosenfield in the Truman administration, Maxwell Rabb in the Eisenhower White House, and presidential aide Myer Feldman, assistant secretary of state Abba Schwartz, and deputy attorney general Norbert Schlei in the Kennedy-Johnson administration.”(pp. 5657)

          In short, not all is driven by ‘profit’ (even if not pure profit in the economic sense; i.e., incorporating all costs into the calculation), but especially recently a big driver is cultural Marxism and the tribe that pushes it exclusively at all Christian European countries at all cost. Otherwise, why wouldn’t what you wrote apply to Israel or Japan, etc.? Why does it only apply to certain ‘racist’ countries?

    • MBlanc46

      “Maybe we just hate everyone who competes for limited resources?”

      And throughout the history of the species, that’s been everyone but our little band. It’s amazing that within a few millennia we’ve learned to live in relative peace in large cities and nations. Now the elites are trying to add large-scale racial, ethnic, linguistic, and religious diversity into the mix.

      • It’s amazing that within a few millennia we’ve learned to live in relative peace in large cities and nations

        I would disagree. Since the dawn of the industrial age, Europeans have not been quietly passing their time in peaceful villages or cities. The profit incentive has compelled our people to unimaginable intra-tribal violence (American-Civil war, Europe 1914-1945 etc.), not to mention the inter-tribal violence of colonialism.

        • MBlanc46

          I don’t know that the microscopic level that I’m talking about and the macroscopic level that you’re talking about aren’t related, but it’s an undeniable fact that everyday tens of millions of people encounter hundreds or thousands or unrelated, unknown people, often jostling each other in traffic, in elevators, in store queues, on public transit, even walking down the sidewalk, and only rarely do these encounters result in real anger, and even less often in violence. This is quite different to what happens when two chimpanzee bands encounter each other.

          • “This is quite different to what happens when two chimpanzee bands encounter each other.”

            How true. The murder statistics in Detroit and Chicago certainly bear this observation out.

    • mobilebay

      Miss Lila, to paraphrase Ann Coulter, if hoards of uneducated, impoverished people are good for a country, why isn’t Mexico a powerhouse?

  • Frank Wheeler

    I thought that the leading cause of death for Mexicans was other Mexicans.

  • William Allingham

    i think that the answer has to do with the link between race and culture.

    culture is a vehicle created for the sustaining of a lifestyle, when the race who created a culture (in this case mexican culture) is removed to a different one is not that surprising that they live less.

    mexicans need to be in a culture that reflects their character thst why its so difficult for them to adapt to other places, all around the world mexicans stand out for their lack of adaptation to more advanced cultures.

  • gringo invasion

    so now you know the real reason why mexico wants to eject all its gringo peasants north of the border

  • Paleoconn

    This article is a good retort to those bleeding hearts who blurt platitudes about everybody’s right to have a better life. You can ask them does that include a long life? When they invariably answer yes, you got em.