MPIDR Working Paper
At the intersection of adverse life course pathways: the effects on health by nativity
MPIDR Working Paper WP-2022-018, 35 pages.
Rostock, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (August 2022)
Adverse life events are major causes of declining health and well-being, but the effects are not the same across subpopulations. We analyze how the intersection of nativity and two main adverse life events, job loss and divorce, affect individual health and well-being trajectories. Using data from the German Socio-Economic Panel (1984-2017), we apply descriptive techniques and individual fixed-effects regressions to analyze how job loss and divorce influence health. Our results support the hypothesis of the intersectional effects of disadvantage and adversities on health and well-being, with immigrants suffering more from adverse life events than natives in both the short and the long run. Compared to natives, immigrants have a health advantage at younger ages, which turns into a disadvantage at older ages. The observed health declines are particularly steep among immigrants who experienced adverse life events. These results help to explain the vanishing health advantage of immigrants by showing that they are exposed to a double disadvantage over the life course: i.e., immigrants are more likely than natives to suffer from adverse life events, and such events typically have a larger impact on the health of immigrants than of natives. Our findings are the first to provide evidence on the effects of different adverse life events intersecting with each other and with nativity. Moreover, our results highlight the importance of intersectional analyses in research on immigrant health.
Keywords: Germany, health, inequality, migrants