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The health of migrants in the UK

Author: University of Oxford, Madeleine Sumption, Director, Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford

This briefing examines the health outcomes of migrants (defined as people who were born abroad) as well as the extent to which health problems impact their day-to-day activities or their jobs.

  • Migrants are healthier, on average, than the UK born. In 2018, 26% of the foreign-born population said that they had a long-lasting health problem; this is 15 percentage points lower than the UK born (41%).
  • Migrant workers in low-skilled jobs were more likely to say that they had a long-term health problem than those in high-skilled occupations. The “health advantage” of the foreign born over the UK born was largest among low-skilled workers with limiting health conditions.
  • Migrants’ initial health advantage over the UK born is the largest among those who arrived in the UK in the last 5 years.
  • The share of residents reporting a long-lasting mental health problem is 5% for the foreign born and 9% for the UK born.
  • Foreign-born men are more likely to smoke than UK-born men, while the opposite is true among women.

17 July 2019

The health of migrants in the UK