Mortality is higher among the native-born than the immigrant population of Finland, finds the first nationwide study of mortality and causes of death among the immigrant population.
The difference between the mortality rates of the native-born and the immigrant population is largely attributable to a higher incidence of alcohol-related deaths, accidents and suicides among the native-born population, according to a press release from the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL).
“The mortality differences are indications of health differences between populations,” summarises Venla Lehti, a senior physician at the Helsinki University Central Hospital.
“It may sound contradictory that the mortality risk is lower even for immigrants coming from countries with lower income levels and life expectancies. Similar observations, however, have also been made in other countries,” she says.
THL interprets the findings as an indication that the lifestyles of immigrants are healthier than those of Finns, at least with respect to alcohol and substance use. Other habits such as diet and smoking, it adds, may also be of significance.
The difference may also be attributable to the fact that immigrants do not typically represent the entire population of their countries of origin, reminds THL.
The research data consisted of all 15-year-old or older immigrants living in Finland at the end of 2010 and an equally-sized control group of Finns – a total of 370,000 people. Lehti and her colleagues collected information about the causes of death among the groups, which were comparable in terms of age, gender and regional distribution, from Statistics Finland.
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Markku Ulander – Lehtikuva