Journal Article

Spousal order of migration, gender, and hospitalization among immigrants to Denmark

Caputo, J., Carollo, A., Mussino, E., Juel Ahrenfeldt, L., Lindahl-Jacobsen, R., Drefahl, S., Oksuzyan, A.
Scandinavian Journal of Public Health, 1–8 (2020)


Background: Certain migration contexts that may help clarify immigrants’ health needs are understudied, including the order in which married individuals migrate. Research also shows that men, who are healthier than women across most populations, often migrate to a host country before women. Using Danish register data, we investigate descriptive patterns in the order in which married men and women arrive in Denmark, as well as whether migration order is related to overnight hospitalizations. Methods: The study base includes married immigrants who lived in Denmark between January 1, 1980 to December 31, 2014 (N=13,680). We use event history models to examine the influence of spousal migration order on hospitalizations. Results: The order that married individuals arrive in Denmark is indeed highly gendered, with men tending to arrive first, and varies by country of origin. Risk of hospitalization after age 50 does not depend on whether an individual migrated before, after, or at the same time as their spouse among either men or women, although among those aged 18+, men migrating before their wives are more likely to experience hospitalizations within the first five years of arrival. Conclusion: These findings provide the first key insights about gendered migration patterns in Denmark, Although spousal order of migration is not related to overnight hospitalization among women in the long or short-term, our findings provide preliminary evidence that men age 18+ who are first to arrive experience more hospitalization events in the first five years. Future research should explore additional outcomes and whether other gendered migration contexts are related to immigrants’ health.

Keywords: Denmark, gender, hospitalization, immigrants, population registers, spouses
The Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) in Rostock is one of the leading demographic research centers in the world. It's part of the Max Planck Society, the internationally renowned German research society.