Why do light-skinned people have a higher mortality rate than dark-skinned people?

Great Britain Study:

Why do light-skinned people have a higher mortality rate than dark-skinned people?

Wednesday, October 4, 2023 | 20:21

The National Health Service (NHS) has always collected data on the different ethnic groups that populate the United Kingdom. There is not only a distinction between light-skinned and dark-skinned people. Light-skinned people are British, Irish, “Irish Travellers”, Sinti and Roma or “others”, for example Germans, Poles or Italians. Dark-skinned people also keep accurate records.

That these distinctions are not in vain has been clear since 2021, reports “WORLD”. Since then, one in four Britons is no longer “British and light-skinned.”

A new study that included ethnically disaggregated data from the NHS also showed that there is now a wide gap in death rates between ethnic groups: surprisingly, light-skinned Britons in particular had the highest death rate.

The death rate of light-skinned people was more than 50 percent higher than that of dark-skinned people.

To understand why the researchers could not wait for the results of the study, it is necessary to examine the data more closely, WELT reports.

For its analysis, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) looked at mortality rates (the proportion of citizens of an (ethnic) group who died in a given period) over the period 2021 to 2023.


After mathematically adjusting the data (for example, compensating for different ages of different people), the death rate for light-skinned Britons was more than 50 percent higher, with 1,013.4 deaths per 100,000 people, than that of black Africans living in Great Britain.

Both black Africans and Chinese had a mortality rate of approximately 674 per 100,000 people.

On average, light-skinned people have access to better healthcare.

Looking at more ONS data, these results are surprising, WELT reports.

According to the ONS, black African women are four times more likely to die during pregnancy or childbirth than light-skinned British women.

On average, the data also showed that within Britain, black Africans and dark-skinned people from Pakistan or Bangladesh live in regions with poor healthcare. By contrast, regions with good healthcare are predominantly populated by light-skinned people and, above all, light-skinned Britons.

However, here too there is a surprise: the mortality rate in regions with predominantly light-skinned residents is always significantly higher than in regions with predominantly dark-skinned residents.

The theory of the “healthy migrant”

It is still not understood why the statistics show what they do, reports WELT. Before any speculation, it should be noted that the ONS does not yet consider the data sets to be fully developed. It is also possible that light-skinned Britons simply now lead a less healthy lifestyle than people of other ethnicities.

However, scientific approaches have long existed to explain the occasionally observed phenomenon of increased mortality among light-skinned natives. Two of them are the so-called “healthy migrant” theory and the “salmon distortion” theory.

The first states that people who manage to emigrate or flee to another country are subject to natural selection, so that only comparatively healthy individuals reach the destination country. Statistics also show that, for unknown reasons, immigrants drink less alcohol, smoke less and eat healthier on average than their compatriots who remain in their country of origin.

Finally, according to the theory of “Salmon bias”, the data could be distorted: immigrants tend to return to their own country of origin towards the end of their lives, so their illnesses and deaths are no longer included in the statistics. of the host country.

Hayden Sherman

"Bacon nerd. Extreme zombie scholar. Hipster-friendly alcohol fanatic. Subtly charming problem solver. Introvert."

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