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Revista Española de Salud Pública

On-line version ISSN 2173-9110Print version ISSN 1135-5727


MALMUSI, Davide  and  JANSA I LOPEZ DEL VALLADO, Josep Maria. Recommendations for health research and information on definitions and variables for the study of the foreign-born immigrant population. Rev. Esp. Salud Publica [online]. 2007, vol.81, n.4, pp.399-409. ISSN 2173-9110.

Background: The growth of the foreign population residing in Spain makes it necessary to avail of better information on the level of health. In the health information and research systems, no uniform criteria currently exist for the nomenclature of origin-related variables. This study poses a consensus on the definitions of immigrant and foreigner. Methods: Employing the Delphi methodology, 66 experts in immigration from different disciplines were invited to take part in the study using a two-round questionnaire with suggested definitions, terms and variables, including in the second round the percentages of responses and the comments made by the participants in the first. The suggestions regarding which an 80% consensus was reached were put into a final document which was approved in the third round. Results: A total of 57 people accepted the invitation, 44 having completed at least one round and 33 having completed all three. Some of the most important aspects regarding which a consensus was reached were: the term "immigrant" denotes the individual who comes to a country where he/she was not born to take up residency, one not being an immigrant on a lifelong basis. Those individuals born in another country who have arrived in Spain less than 5-10 years ago can be considered immigrants; and immigrated people are all those individuals born in another country. Socioeconomic variables, gender, administrative status and country of origin should also be taken into consideration. The children of immigrated individuals who are born in Spain must not be considered individuals who are born in Spain must not be considered. Conclusions: To properly define the inmigrating and immigrated population categories, the health studies and information systems must include country of birth, year of arrival and nationality.

Keywords : Immigration; Migrant; Delphi technique; Information systems; Data collection.

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