Child Height and Intergenerational Transmission of Health: Evidence from Ethnic Indians in England

Authors: Alessandro Tarozzi and

Economics and Human Biology, Vol. 25, 65-84, May, 2017

A large literature documents a widespread prevalence of small stature among Indian children as well as adults. We show that a height gap relative to a richer population such as whites in England also exists, although substantially reduced, among adult immigrants of Indian ethnicity in England. This is despite positive height selection into migration, demonstrated by ethnic Indian adults in England being on average 6–7 cm taller than in India. However, the difference between natives and ethnic Indians in England disappears among their younger sons and daughters, although it re-appears among adolescents. We estimate that, conditional on age, gender and parental height, ethnic Indian children of age 2–4 in England are 6–8% taller than in India. Such degree of catch up in one generation is remarkable, also because in England children of ethnic Indians have much smaller birthweight than whites, by about 0.4 kg on average.