A Bi-National Perspective on Self-Rated Health and Health Status Among Koreans with Korea Vs. US Residence
*Names in bold indicate Presenter
The primary contribution of this study is to explore if the health selection holds true for the Asian immigrant population. I do so by comparing health status of Korean immigrants in the U.S. to both that of Koreans in Korea and that of Korean Americans who were born in the U.S by pooling and harmonizing the Korean Health Panel and the restricted National Health Interview Survey data files. For a better comparison, I generate a propensity score to emigrate among Koreans in Korea based on the demographic characteristics of those who migrate to the U.S. and divide Korean residents in to five categories of very low, low, average, high, and very high propensity groups. Then, I compare the very low, very high propensity groups with the first-generation Korean immigrants to the U.S. to see if there is evidence of health selection.
This study finds that the first-generation Korean immigrants show the highest rate of self-rated health followed by Koreans with very high propensity to emigrate and with very low propensity. On health status, Koreans residing in Korea with very high propensity to migrate experience the most favorite outcomes on all chronic diseases of diabetes, coronary heart diseases, cancer, hypertension, and asthma. Logistic regression results show that having very low propensity to migrate is significantly associated with lower self-rated health and higher prevalence of chronic diseases. The findings suggest that health selection is present among Korean immigrants to the U.S. compared to non-migrants in Korea. This is the first work to explore health selection among Korean immigrants by linking two nationally representative data from Korea and the U.S.