Other Paper

The mortality of non-Germans in Berlin: a comparison of results estimated from the Official Statistics and the Central Register of Foreigners

Hannemann, A., Scholz, R. D.
Rostock Center - discussion paper 25
28 pages.
Rostock, Rostock Center for the Study of Demographic Change (2009)


Most national and international studies concerning migrant mortality find advantages for migrants in health and survival in comparison to host populations. Although that phenomenon has been known for several years, no final explanation has been found until today. Health selection effects (like the Healthy Migrant Effect and the Salmon Bias), acculturation, as well as data artifacts are the theories most often mentioned in that context, and they are introduced and discussed in this working paper. Furthermore, we present own mortality estimates for non-Germans in Berlin based on data from the Official Statistics and the Central Register of Foreigners (Ausländerzentralregister, abbreviated AZR). To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study using the AZR data for a small scale mortality analysis that is restricted to one federal state of Germany. Therefore, the methodological approaches to data preparation are considered to be important, and are presented in detail. Life expectancy at birth calculated from the Official Statistics shows on average a difference between non-Germans and Germans of about 22.4 years (men) and 14.4 years (women) over the period 2001-2004. However, the recently revised AZR provides more reliable, and clearly lower, figures for life expectancy at birth for the non-German population (86.7 years for men, 86.3 years for women in the period 2001-2004) than those included in the Official Statistics. The differences in life expectancy between the foreign and host populations in Berlin are thus reduced to 9.6 (men) and 4.6 (women) years, which are still enormous. Unfortunately, the data does not allow us to ascribe this mortality advantage to one of the explanation theories, though we found tendencies pointing towards a Salmon Bias and further data artifacts.
Keywords: Germany, foreigners, mortality
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