MPIDR Working Paper

Leaving for life: using online crowd-sourced genealogies to estimate the migrant mortality advantage for the United Kingdom and Ireland during the 18th and 19th centuries


Demographic studies consistently find a mortality advantage among migrants, but a lack of longitudinal data tracking individuals across national borders has limited the study of historical international migration. To address this gap, we use the crowd-sourced online genealogical database Familinx to estimate the migrant mortality advantage for migrants from the United Kingdom and Ireland between 1750 and 1910. We compare age at death for non-migrants and migrants to Canada, the United States, South Africa, New Zealand, and Australia using mixed-effects regression models that account for unobserved factors shared between siblings. Results suggest an overall expected migrant advantage of 5.9 years, 95% CI [5.7, 6.2] even after accounting for between-family variation, with migrants estimated to live an additional 2.6 [1.1, 4.0] to 8.7 [6.3, 11.2] years depending on the country of destination. This study contributes to the understanding of the migrant mortality advantage in a historical context and shows the potential for online genealogies to contribute to demographic research.  

Keywords: crowd-sourced genealogies, migrant mortality advantage, United Kingdom, Ireland, sibling effects 

Schlagwörter: Australien, Großbritannien, Kanada, Neuseeland, Vereinigte Staaten, genealogy, migration, mortality, siblings
Das Max-Planck-Institut für demografische Forschung (MPIDR) in Rostock ist eines der international führenden Zentren für Bevölkerungswissenschaft. Es gehört zur Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, einer der weltweit renommiertesten Forschungsgemeinschaften.