The health of migrants in the UK

Key findings

15%

fewer migrants have a long-lasting health problem

4%

fewer foreign born residents reported having a long-lasting mental health problem

Smoking

more common among foreign-born men

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.

Key findings

  • 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.
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The health of migrants in the UK

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