Neighborhood immigrant density and population health among native-born Americans

Lu Shi, Donglan Zhang, Janani Rajbhandari-Thapa, Nicole Katapodis, Dejun Su, Yan Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The healthy immigrant effect—whereby immigrants are on average healthier than the native-born—have been well studied. However, little is known about the relationship between immigration and the health of the native-born. This study fills this important research gap by examining the association between neighborhood immigrant density and several population health measures among native-born Americans. We used data from the Los Angeles County Health Survey to analyze four individual-level health behaviors and outcomes, including regular fast food consumption, fruit and vegetable consumption, body mass index, and hypertension. We conducted multilevel logistic regressions to assess the association between neighborhood immigrant density and the four health behaviors and outcomes. The results showed that neighborhood immigrant density was negatively associated with regular fast food consumption (OR = 0.33; 95% CI, 0.18–0.59), BMI (β = −2.16, 95% CI, −3.13 to −1.19), and hypertension (OR = 0.58; 95% CI, 0.38–0.89), and positively associated with fruit/vegetable consumption (OR = 1.64; 95% CI, 1.01–2.66) among native-born Americans. In conclusion, native-born Americans who lived in a neighborhood with a high density of immigrants had healthier behaviors and better health outcomes compared to those who lived in a neighborhood with a low density of immigrants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number105792
JournalPreventive Medicine
StatePublished - Oct 2019



  • Chronic disease
  • Diet
  • Immigrant health
  • Neighborhood environment
  • Urban health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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