A study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal reveals immigrant women living in poor neighbourhoods in Canada more often give birth to healthy children than the Canadian women already living there.
In the study, researchers looked at the health outcomes of both non-refugee, immigrant women and Canadian mothers in low-income neighbourhoods in Ontario. All had given birth in hospitals from 2012 to 2019.
After comparing the outcomes of 148,050 births from immigrant women to those of 266,191 births of non-immigrant women, the researchers discovered the children of the immigrant women tended to fare better.
The immigrant women’s newborns were 24.2 per cent less likely to suffer from severe neonatal morbidity and mortality, a set of serious medical conditions that can result in death.
But not all immigrant mothers were equally likely to give birth to healthy children.
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In their recently-published study, Morbidity and Mortality of Newborns Born to Immigrant and Non-immigrant Females Residing in Low-income Neighbourhoods, the researchers found the risk of these medical complications was lowest among the newborns of Chinese immigrants.
“The risk of (severe neonatal morbidity and mortality) was highest among those of immigrants from Jamaica … and Ghana … and lowest among those of immigrants from China,” notes the study.
The latest data from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) reveals that China was the second most important source of new permanent residents to Canada last year.
In 2022, India was the biggest single source of new permanent residents to Canada with 118,215 Indians making the move that year.
China Was The Second Most Important Source Of New Permanent Residents Last Year
China provided 31,835 new permanent residents to Canada last year. Jamaica was the 22nd most important source of new permanent residents to Canada last year, providing 4,245 immigrants. Ghana was the 44th most important source of new permanent residents to Canada.
The researchers’ study was prompted by a recognition that living in low-income neighbourhoods and being an immigrant are each independently associated with adverse neonatal outcomes.
“We sought to compare the risk of severe neonatal morbidity and mortality (SNMM) between newborns of immigrant and non-immigrant mothers who resided in low-income neighbourhoods,” noted the researchers.
In high-income countries, including Canada, improvements in healthcare have resulted in a decline in neonatal mortality.
Canada Hoping For 1.45m New Permanent Residents In Three Years
In Canada, the rate of neonatal mortality is 3.6 deaths per 1000 live births and researchers have focused on severe neonatal morbidity because this has serious implications for the surviving child and his or her family.
The health outcomes of newborns born to immigrant women are particularly important to Ottawa given Canada’s bullish stance on immigration.
In its 2023-2025 Immigration Levels Plan, Ottawa set the immigration target for this year at 465,000 new permanent residents. The country is to welcome 485,000 new permanent residents in 2024 and another 500,000 in 2025.
That’s a total of 1.45 million new permanent residents to Canada over the next three years.