PUBLI : Myriam Khlat et al., « Impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the mortality profiles of the foreign-born in France during the first pandemic wave », Social Science & Medicine, vol. 313, 2022

Authors : Myriam Khlat, Walid Ghosn, Michel Guillot, Stéphanie Vanden­torren (CI Migra­tion fellow) & DcCOVMIG Research Team


Immi­grants in Western coun­tries have been parti­cu­larly affected by the COVID-19 crisis.

We analysed excess morta­lity rates among the foreign-born popu­la­tion and changes in their distinc­tive morta­lity profiles (“migrant morta­lity advan­tage”) during the first pandemic wave in France.

Data and methods
Deaths from all causes in metro­po­litan France from March 18 to May 19, 2020 were used, with infor­ma­tion on sex, age, region of resi­dence and country of birth. Similar data from 2016 through 2019 were used for comparisons.

During the pre-pandemic period (2016–2019), immi­grant popu­la­tions (except those from Central and Eastern Europe) had lower stan­dar­dized morta­lity rates than the native-born popu­la­tion, with a parti­cu­larly large advan­tage for immi­grants from sub-Saharan Africa. In the regions most affected by COVID-19 (Grand-Est and Île-de-France), the diffe­rences in excess morta­lity by country of birth were large, espe­cially in the working-age groups (40–69 years), with rates 8 to 9 times higher for immi­grants from sub-Saharan Africa, and about 3 to 4 times higher for immi­grants from North Africa, from the Americas and from Asia and Oceania rela­tive to the native-born popu­la­tion. The rela­tive overall morta­lity risk for men born in sub-Saharan Africa compared to native-born men, which was 0.8 before the pandemic, shifted to 1.8 during the first wave (0.9 to 1.5 for women). It also shifted from 0.8 to 1.1 for men from North Africa (0.9 to 1.1 for women), 0.7 to 1.0 for men from the Americas (0.9 to 1.3 for women), and 0.7 to 1.2 for men from Asia and Oceania (0.9 to 1.3 for women).

Our findings shed light on the dispro­por­tio­nate impact of the first wave of the pandemic on the morta­lity of popu­la­tions born outside Europe, with a specific burden of excess morta­lity within the working-age range, and a complete reversal of their morta­lity advantage.

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