Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health

, Volume 13, Issue 2, pp 361–370 | Cite as

Patterns of Death in the First and Second Generation Immigrants from Selected Middle Eastern Countries in California

  • Kiumarss Nasseri
  • Lawrence H. Moulton
Original Paper


Migrant studies in the United States (US) have rarely covered the Middle Eastern population (ME), and have never distinguished the first and second generations born in the US. This study aims to describe the mortality patterns of ME immigrants by origin, acculturation, and generation. Death certificates issued from 1997 through 2004 were used to calculate, for Middle Eastern immigrants, the proportional odds ratios (POR) for major causes of death, with comparison to non-Hispanic Whites born in the US to US-born parents. First generation immigrants had higher odds for colorectal cancers, diabetes, and diseases of the heart, while their odds for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and suicide were lower. Men had higher odds for all cancers combined, cancers of the lymphatics, and pancreas. Women had lower odds for lung cancer, and dementia, and higher odds for breast cancer. The second generation men had higher odds for all cancers combined, and diseases of the heart, whereas women had lower odds for lung cancer and cerebrovascular accidents. Higher odds for colorectal cancers and lower odds for COPD were noted in both sexes. Some of the observed differences may be based on ethnic characteristics, including genetic makeup, early exposures, and culturally determined values. Time since immigration is associated with convergence of most odds to that of the native population.


Migrant studies Middle East Ethnic groups Mortality Proportional odds ratio 



Authors would like to express their appreciation to Dr. Frank Silvio, and Terri Chew from the County of Los Angeles Department of Health Services, and Dr. Cutris J. Codon, and Elizabeth Gonzales from the Orange County Department of Public Health for graciously providing the AVSS data for this analysis. The ideas and opinions expressed herein are those of the author(s) and endorsement by the State of California, Department of Public Health, County of Los Angeles Department of Health Services, and Orange County Department of Public Health, and Public Health Institute is not intended nor should be inferred. This work was supported in part by the grant CA103457 from the National Cancer Institute to Kiumarss Nasseri.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Public Health Institute, California Cancer RegistrySanta BarbaraCalifornia
  2. 2.Bloomberg School of Public Health, The Johns Hopkins UniversityBaltimoreMaryland

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