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Southwest Migration Study (SWMS)

Funded by the ASU School of Social and Family Dynamics

Although the relationship between health and migration has received some scholarly attention, an under-investigated factor with potential to account for some differential health outcomes of migrant groups is the receiving community’s local environment. Thus, while some scholarship suggests international migrants suffer a decline in health status with duration of residence in the United States, it seems likely that the local environment contributes to health, quality of life, and overall well-being.

Differences in the local environment experienced by migrants before and after their moves could help explain some of the relationship between health and migration status. There is tremendous variation within urban areas in exposure to environmental risks and resources. It is not well understood how characteristics of migrants are associated with their environmental experiences. Environmental experiences are likely to vary by migration type (domestic or international), socioeconomic status, race, and ethnicity. There are also cumulative influences, in which the history of environmental exposure in prior areas is likely to be associated with current health. Furthermore, environmental experience, migration patterns, and consequences for health in today’s most rapidly growing areas, such as Phoenix, may differ from patterns in the past and from more slowly growing regions of the country.

This proposed project examines the contribution of both current and past environmental exposure and migration history to the health of migrants and non-migrants in the Phoenix, Arizona, metropolitan area. Phoenix is an ideal location because it represents one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in the United States and has attracted many new arrivals from within the U.S. and abroad. Although there are many aspects of the environment that affect health, this project focuses on air quality and access to recreational areas. These factors are likely to be most strongly tied to this project’s health outcomes: lung function, overweight/obesity, and diabetes.

CePoD Involvement: Scott Yabiku (Principal Investigator), Jennifer Glick (co-Investigator), Steven Haas (co-Investigator)

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T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics
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