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Research Urban and Regional Studies Institute PRC

Healthy ageing in a comparative perspective: A study of the health of older migrants and non-migrants across Europe

Principal researcher

Matias Reus Pons

Type of research



Vrije Universiteit Brussel


Helga De Valk (promotor)
Fanny Janssen (co-promotor)
Hadewijch Vandenheede (promotor)
Eva Kibele (co-promotor)


Although migration, ageing and health are on the political agenda in all European countries, so far little attention has been devoted to ageing and health trajectories among migrants in Europe. Knowledge about the health of older migrants is crucial when judging the future health care demand in ageing and culturally more diverse populations, and to inform policies and interventions.

We aim to provide crucial new knowledge on the health of older migrants in Europe. Our overall objective is to assess the differences in health and health trajectories among older migrants and non-migrants across Europe, and to explain these from demographic and socio-economic characteristics, health-related lifestyles, length of stay, social networks, and characteristics of the countries of origin and destination.

The project is innovative by focusing specifically on older migrants’ health; taking into account the role of social networks; considering the ageing process rather than only the static health situation; taking a comparative perspective across European countries and thus obtaining insights into the position of older migrants in society and the role of their context.


  • Reus-Pons M, Kibele EUB, Janssen F (2017). Differences in healthy life expectancy between older migrants and non-migrants in three European countries over time. International Journal of Public Health 62:531-540.
  • Reus-Pons M, Vandenheede H, Janssen F, Kibele EUB (2016). Differences in mortality between groups of older migrants and older non-migrants in Belgium, 2001-09. European Journal of Public Health 26:992-1000.
  • Reus-Pons M, Mulder CH, Kibele EUB, Janssen F (2018). Differences in the health transition patterns of migrants and non-migrants aged 50 and older in southern and western Europe (2004-2015). BMC Medicine forthcoming.
  • Reus-Pons M, Vandenheede H, de Valk HAG (2018). Health differences between migrants and non-migrants aged 50 to 79 in Europe: the role of integration policies and public attitudes towards migration and migrants (2004-2015). Manuscript submitted for publication, current status: revise and resubmit.

Last modified:07 August 2020 3.03 p.m.