Return Migration and Disability by Life Course Stage of Return: Evidence Against the Salmon Bias.

TitleReturn Migration and Disability by Life Course Stage of Return: Evidence Against the Salmon Bias.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2024
AuthorsSheftel, MGetz
JournalThe Journals of Gerontology, Series B, Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Volume79
Issue3
ISSN Number1758-5368
KeywordsDisabled Persons, Emigrants and Immigrants, Emigration and Immigration, Humans, Life Change Events, Mexican Americans, Mexico, Middle Aged, North American People, United States
Abstract

OBJECTIVES: Life course theory points to unique characteristics among older immigrants that may differentiate older age return migration from return at younger ages in terms of health. To investigate how the health of returnees may differ by age-at-return, this analysis compares disability between 3 groups of Mexican adults with a history of migration to the United States: those who return to Mexico before age 50, those who return at 50 and older, and those who remain in the United States at age 50 and older.

METHODS: Data from two nationally representative data sets, the U.S. Health and Retirement Study and the Mexican Health and Aging Study, are combined to create a data set representing Mexicans 50 and older with a history of migration to the United States. Adopting a life course perspective, activity of daily living (ADL) difficulty is compared by return status and age-at-return to account for differential selection into return by life stage.

RESULTS: Mexican immigrants who remain in the United States past age 50 have a higher probability of at least 1 ADL compared to those who return to Mexico, regardless of life course timing of return. The immigrant disadvantage persists after adjusting for differences in demographic, childhood, and adult characteristics between groups.

DISCUSSION: These findings are noteworthy because they stand in opposition to hypotheses based on life course and health-selective return migration theories and because they mean that Mexican immigrants remaining in the United States into midlife and older adulthood may be vulnerable to heightened prevalence of disability.

DOI10.1093/geronb/gbad171
Citation Key13781
PubMed ID38035756
PubMed Central IDPMC10873829
Grant ListR01 AG018016 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States
NIH R01AG018016 / NH / NIH HHS / United States
U01 AG009740 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States
NIA U01AG009740 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States
R01 AG030153 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States
1R01AG060949 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States
R01 AG060949 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States
R03 AG043052 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States