Home and Away: Mortality among Finnish-Born Migrants in Sweden Compared to Native Swedes and Finns Residing in Finland

Olof Östergren , Department of Public Health Sciences, Stockholm University / Aging Research Centre, Karolinska Institutet
Kaarina Korhonen
Nina-Katri Gustafsson, Department of Public Health Sciences, Stockholm University
Pekka Martikainen, University of Helsinki

Background: Most first-generation migrants have lower mortality compared to the native population. Finnish born migrants in Sweden are an exception experiencing higher mortality; this may be because they bring health damaging risk factors with them. The purpose of this study was to assess to compare the mortality of Finnish migrants in Sweden to both the native population of Sweden and the Finnish-born population residing in Finland. Methods: We used Swedish and Finnish register data, applying propensity score matching techniques to account for differences in sociodemographic characteristics between the migrants, Swedes and Finns. The index population were Finnish migrants aged 40—60, residing in Sweden in 1995 followed for mortality in 1996—2008. We compared patterns of all-cause, alcohol-related, smoking-related and cardiovascular disease mortality across the groups. Results: Male Finnish-born migrants in Sweden had lower all-cause mortality compared to Finnish men but higher mortality compared to the Swedish men. The same patterns were observed for alcohol-related, smoking-related and cardiovascular disease mortality. Among women, all three groups had similar levels of all-cause mortality. However, female Finnish migrants had higher alcohol-related mortality compared to Swedish women, on par with Finnish women. Conversely, the migrants had similar levels of smoking-related mortality to Swedish women, lower than Finnish women. Conclusions: Finnish-born migrants residing in Sweden have mortality patterns that are in between the mortality patterns in the native populations in their country of origin and destination. Both the country of origin and destination need to be considered in order to understand migrant health.

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 Presented in Session 73. Immigrant Health and Mortality