Age at Which Immigrants Naturalize May Determine Health Outcomes In Later Life

study finds correlation between age at naturalization and health outcomes

An article in Health and Human Behavior says that foreign-born children and young adults who become naturalized U.S. citizens have fewer health limitations after age 50 than foreign-born noncitizens. 

'The study found that immigrants who complete the naturalization process to become citizens within ten years of their arrival have better health in older age than immigrants who don’t become citizens. Older immigrants who naturalized at middle and older ages, however, have worse health compared to noncitizens, who tended to be younger.

The author concluded that part of the reason that younger, naturalized citizens had better health than noncitizens is because they had greater access to health coverage at an earlier age. That factor helped to protect them from poor health in later life. But older immigrants had poorer health outcomes because they were subject to obstacles like having to pay for expensive, private health insurance, not having accumulated enough resources for retirement, and having to undergo a five-year waiting period to access Medicaid. What’s more, undocumented immigrants who arrived after the age of 50 may “experience health problems but lack health insurance,” an issue that could “result in worse health outcomes and higher accumulated costs of health care later.”'

You can read about the study at Think Progress,, and NewsWise.