Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor, Your Healthy

Immigrants are healthier than native-born Americans. That's the conclusion reached by a team led by Georgetown University researcher Elizabeth Hervey Stephen after examining 1989 and 1990 data from the National Center for Health Statistics. The trend held even when adjusted for the relative youth of recent immigrants: 13.2% of recent immigrants spent four or more days a year in hospitals, for example, compared with 18.9% of longtime immigrants and 21.1% of native-born Americans. Stephen and her co-workers aren't sure why. It could be that healthier people tend to immigrate or that recent immigrants lack health insurance. Whatever the reason, the study casts doubt on the charge of anti-immigrant groups that newcomers drain the economy by using a disproportionate amount of the nation's health services.

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