Stockholm University
SRRD_2023_9.pdf (1.12 MB)

Understanding the intergenerational impact of migration: An adult mortality advantage for the children of forced migrants?

Download (1.12 MB)
posted on 2023-03-22, 09:25 authored by Ben WilsonBen Wilson, Matthew WallaceMatthew Wallace, Jan SaarelaJan Saarela

Background: Children of immigrants often have excess mortality rates, in contrast to the low mortality typically exhibited by their parents’ generation. However, prior research has studied children of immigrants who were selected into migration, and who move to a different context, thereby rendering it difficult to isolate the intergenerational impact of migration on adult mortality.

Methods: We use semi-parametric survival analysis to analyse all-cause and cause-specific mortality among all adult men and women who were aged 17-67 and resident in Finland from 1970-2020. We compare children of forced migrants from ceded Karelia—an area of Finland that was ceded to Russia during the Second World War—with the children of parents born in present-day Finland.

Results: Children with two parents who were forced migrants have higher mortality than children with two parents born in Northern, Southern and Western Finland, but lower mortality than the subpopulation of children whose parents were born in the more comparable areas that border ceded Karelia. For women and men, this mortality advantage is largest for external causes and persists after controlling for socio-economic factors.

Conclusions: Our findings suggest that forced migration has a beneficial impact on the mortality of later generations, at least in the case where forced migrants are able to move to contextually similar locations that offer opportunities for rapid integration and social mobility. The findings highlight the importance of making appropriate comparisons when evaluating the impact of forced migration.


the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement number 948727: REFU-GEN)

the Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare (Forte) grant numbers: 2016–07115 and 2019–00603

the Åbo Akademi University Foundation’s funding of the DemSwed Internal Centre of Excellence




Original title

Understanding the intergenerational impact of migration: An adult mortality advantage for the children of forced migrants?

Original language

  • English

Publication date


Affiliation (institution of first SU-affiliated author)

  • 310 Sociologiska institutionen | Department of Sociology


  • public