Looking for evidence for the healthy migrant effect – comparing the health status of Turkish immigrants in Germany with German and Turkish natives

Annelene Wengler, University of Cologne

Using data from the Generations and Gender Survey the health status of Turkish immigrants in Germany is observed in this paper. By comparing Turkish immigrants of the first and second generation and Germans, differences in the level of health become clear – contrary to the expectations derived from existing literature, Turkish immigrants do not seem to have a worse health status than the native German population. When different variables are taken into account they are to some extent even healthier than their German counterparts. Nevertheless the mechanisms that determine the health status of immigrants and Germans seem to be quite similar. The health advantage of Turkish immigrants is especially prominent in East Germany whereas differences in the level of health between Germans and Turkish immigrants cannot be observed to the same extent in West Germany. Turkish immigrants in the east have been living there for a shorter period of time than Turkish immigrants in West Germany. To evaluate further if (shortly after migration) a health advantage for Turkish immigrants exists the health status of native Turks is taken into account. Information on the health status of persons in Turkey is scarce but some general social surveys like the second wave of the European Social Survey (2004/2005) cover Turkey and allow analyzing the health status of Turkish respondents. It will be evaluated if the level of health varies between Turkish immigrants in Germany and their native counterparts in Turkey and if and to what degree the mechanisms determining the health status vary for both groups.

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Presented in Poster Session 2