Public health data science to investigate and improve migrant health


  • Dr Robert Aldridge

    University College London

Project summary

There are currently eight million migrants living in the UK and about 600,000 new arrivals each year. However, we know very little about the health problems new migrants face. When migrants settle in a new country, they experience extensive changes in terms of the people they live and work with, the type of housing they live in, the food they eat and the amount of exercise they take. These factors, compounded by inequalities in wealth, mean that despite being young and healthy when migrating, they are particularly vulnerable to illness.

This study aims to understand the health needs of migrants, how their personal and environmental risk factors for ill health change, and whether these risks can be reduced. Study 1 will use data on more than one million migrants who came to the UK before 2017 to see what diseases they had when they saw a GP or hospital doctor. Migrants arriving after 2017 will be approached to take part in a second study which uses mobile phones to follow them up and see how their risks for ill health change. Study 3 will develop and pilot a web-based personalised health quiz to see whether it can be used to improve migrant health.

Our findings can be used to help improve the health of migrants in the UK.