Discrimination and Health Among Immigrants in Western Europe
Zajdel, Rachel Anne
Immigration to Europe grew substantially in the twenty-first century. While research regarding discrimination in the U.S. largely explores the role of race/ethnicity, research in Europe focuses on discrimination against immigrants and/or religious minorities. This paper extends the discussion of immigrant well-being to examines three areas: (1) causes of death and life expectancy, (2) experiences and perceptions of discrimination, and (3) the relationship between social characteristics, experiences of discrimination, and health. For the first objective, I utilize Italian census data to examine mortality and life expectancy differentials in one new and underexamined immigrant destination. For the second and third objectives, I use survey data from residents in the five most populated countries in Western Europe: Germany, France, United Kingdom, Italy, and Spain. Results provide evidence that discrimination based on nationality and race/ethnicity is more widespread than religious-based discrimination among immigrants in Western Europe. Moreover, in Italy, there is substantial variation in mortality between immigrant populations from different origins. Immigrants in Italy have lower life expectancy and often experience elevated mortality rates. Only certain immigrant populations have a health advantage and social characteristics such as being Muslim and originating from sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and parts of Europe are associated with disadvantages in health.