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Health Reports: Healthy immigrant effect by immigrant category in Canada

Released: 2019-04-17

New immigrants to Canada are generally healthier than the Canadian-born population. This healthy immigrant effect is partially explained by the way immigrants are selected, through a point system which generally favours skills and economic class, and through medical screening.

A new Statistics Canada study released today in Health Reports is the first to link immigrant data with health survey data to examine more closely the healthy immigrant effect (HIE) by time since arrival and immigrant category at the national level. The results show that immigrants overall are healthier compared with the Canadian-born population when considering the presence of chronic conditions and overall self-reported health status.

The healthy immigrant effect was found to be strongest within the first three years of arrival (that is, recent immigrants). There were, however, differences by immigrant categories with a stronger HIE found among those immigrants admitted through the economic class. A weaker HIE was found for refugees.

This is the first study to link the Longitudinal Immigration Database (IMDB) to the Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS). The IMDB combines the Immigrant Landing file with tax files in Canada, which have no health information. The CCHS contains information on health, behaviours and health care use.

  Note to readers

This study used a pooled cohort of Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) respondents for 2007 to 2014 (n=427,650) linked to the Longitudinal Immigration Database (IMDB) for 1980 to 2013. Overall, about 84% of these CCHS respondents agreed to share their responses and to link them with other data sources. Of the 46,905 CCHS respondents who self-reported as immigrants arriving between 1980 and 2013, 37,610 were linked to the IMDB (a linkage rate of 80%).


"Healthy immigrant effect by immigrant category in Canada" is now available in the April 2019 online issue of Health Reports, Vol. 30, no. 4 (Catalogue number82-003-X).

This issue of Health Reports also contains the article "Recent trends in prostate cancer in Canada."

Contact information

To enquire about "Healthy immigrant effect by immigrant category in Canada," contact Edward Ng (, Health Analysis Division.

To enquire about "Recent trends in prostate cancer in Canada," contact media relations at the Public Health Agency of Canada (613-957-2983).

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; or Media Relations (613-951-4636;

For more information about Health Reports, contact Janice Felman (613-799-7746;, Health Analysis Division.

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