Frank Trovato

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


This dissertation provides a comprehensive analysis of mortality variations among the native and foreign-born components of Canada's population encompassing the census periods 1950-52 to 1970-72. The study develops and tests four hypotheses. The life stresses explanation posits that differences in the odds of death are due to social, psychological and structural inequities experienced by a given sector of society such as immigrants or native Indians. The immigrant selection hypothesis predicts lower death rates for the foreign-born sector due to the nature of immigration which tends to be inherently selective. The assimilation hypothesis relates to the time factor in mortality differentials with particular reference to native and immigrant subpopulations. It assumes that as time progresses, differences in mortality will converge as a function of assimilation in socioeconomic levels, health and life style patterns of subgroups. The compositional explanation predicts that only age and sex composition account for subgroup differences in longevity.;After a series of data adjustments, due to the incompleteness of information on such variables as nativity and ethnicity, a logit regression analysis revealed that of the four hypotheses, the assimilation hypothesis received the least empirical support. The analysis in the first section of this thesis focuses on general mortality while in a subsequent section subgroup differences are examined on the basis of four broad categories of causes of death: neoplasms, cardiovascular, accident-violence and all other (residual) causes. In the former aspect, the supremacy of the British native-born and British foreign-born subpopulations in longevity is established. Relative to the remaining groups in the analysis they have experienced the lowest odds of dying. On the other hand, the most disadvantaged have been Native Indians, French Canadians and "Other" foreign-born, while Other European foreigners have been in an intermediate position in the probability of death. The relative positions are explored further and qualified when causes of death are examined. The thesis concludes that the mortality patterns generally conform to the empirically established rankings of the subpopulations on the socio-economic structure of Canadian society.



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