Internal Migrations and Later-Life Mortality over the Life Course. the Netherlands, 19th-20th Centuries

Dolores Sesma Carlos, Radboud University

The healthy migrant effect is a frequently observed phenomenon among first generation migrants in contemporary and historical societies. Migrants have higher life expectancy and lower mortality risks than natives, even if their socio-economic status and educational attainment are lower. The healthy migrant effect is believed to result, amongst others, from selection effects in the area of origin. In the literature on this topic, much more attention has been paid to international migrants compared to internal migrants. Next, due to data limitations, the healthy migrant effect has generally been tested indirectly in destination areas, instead of more directly in the area of origin. Moreover, previous historical studies on internal migration have almost exclusively focused on the impact of rural-to-urban migration on mortality outcomes, neglecting urban-to-rural, rural-to-rural and more complex migration trajectories.

Our paper focuses on some of the understudied elements of the healthy migrant effects, as outlined above. The main aim of this paper is to detect selection effects in the area of origin and to explore the effects of various migration trajectories on mortality risks of internal migrants. Some of these trajectories might improve the health, while others might decrease it. In practice, we compare mortality risks of permanent residents in the area of origin and those who leave their municipality of birth.

The paper uses longitudinal micro data from the Historical Sample of the Netherland,1850-1940, which allows tracking life courses of permanent residents and internal migrants. Event History Analysis is utilized to analyse the relationship between migration status and all-cause mortality in infant, adult and older populations, controlling for age, sex, marital status, socio-economic status, and birth place. Special attention will be paid to the migration trajectories of migrants such as duration of residence and the type of environment they lived in.

Presented in Session 20: Internal Migration Trajectories and Impacts