Spousal order of migration, gender, and hospitalization among immigrants in Denmark

Jennifer Caputo, Angela Carollo, Eleonora Mussino, Linda Juel Ahrenfeldt, Rune Lindahl-Jacobsen, Sven Drefahl, Anna Oksuzyan

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Background: Certain migration contexts that may help clarify immigrants’ health needs are understudied, including the order in which married individuals migrate. Research shows that men, who are healthier than women across most populations, often migrate to a host country before women. Using Danish register data, we investigate descriptive patterns in the order that married men and women arrive in Denmark, as well as whether migration order is related to overnight hospitalizations. Methods: The study base includes married immigrants who lived in Denmark between January 1, 1980 and December 31, 2014 (N = 13,680). We use event history models to examine the influence of spousal migration order on hospitalizations. Results: The order that married individuals arrive in Denmark is indeed highly gendered, with men tending to arrive first, and varies by country of origin. Risk of hospitalization after age 50 does not depend on whether an individual migrated before, after, or at the same time as their spouse among either men or women. However, among those aged 18+, men migrating before their wives are more likely to experience hospitalizations within the first 5 years of arrival. Conclusions: These findings provide the first key insights about gendered migration patterns in Denmark. Although spousal order of migration is not related to overnight hospitalization among women, our findings provide preliminary evidence that men age 18+ who are first to arrive experience more hospitalization events in the following 5 years. Future research should explore additional outcomes and whether other gendered migration contexts are related to immigrants’ health.

Original languageEnglish
Book seriesScandinavian Journal of Public Health
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Aug 2020


  • Denmark
  • Gender
  • hospitalization
  • immigrant health
  • marriage
  • register study


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