Socioeconomic gradients in all-cause, premature and avoidable mortality among immigrants and long-term residents using linked death records in Ontario, Canada

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Abstract

Background

Immigrants have been shown to possess a health advantage, yet are also more likely to reside in arduous economic conditions. Little is known about if and how the socioeconomic gradient for all-cause, premature and avoidable mortality differs according to immigration status.

Methods

Using several linked population-based vital and demographic databases from Ontario, we examined a cohort of all deaths in the province between 2002 and 2012. We constructed count models, adjusted for relevant covariates, to attain age-adjusted mortality rates and rate ratios for all-cause, premature and avoidable mortality across income quintile in immigrants and long-term residents, stratified by sex.

Results

A downward gradient in age-adjusted all-cause mortality was observed with increasing income quintile, in immigrants (males: Q5: 13.32, Q1: 20.18; females: Q5: 9.88, Q1: 12.51) and long-term residents (males: Q5: 33.25, Q1: 57.67; females: Q5: 22.31, Q1: 36.76). Comparing the lowest and highest income quintiles, male and female immigrants had a 56% and 28% lower all-cause mortality rate, respectively. Similar trends were observed for premature and avoidable mortality. Although immigrants had consistently lower mortality rates compared with long-term residents, trends only differed statistically across immigration status for females (p<0.05).

Conclusions

This study illustrated the presence of income disparities as it pertains to all-cause, premature, and avoidable mortality, irrespective of immigration status. Additionally, the immigrant health advantage was observed and income disparities were less pronounced in immigrants compared with long-term residents. These findings support the need to examine the factors that drive inequalities in mortality within and across immigration status.

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