A half-century of change in European immigrant characteristics and implications for the incorporation of new arrivals

Kristen Jeffers, University of Minnesota
Lara Cleveland, University of Minnesota
Patricia Kelly Hall, University of Minnesota

The recent influx of political migrants to Europe will challenge the administrative, economic, and social capacity of receiving nations to incorporate new migrants without strong cultural or colonial ties to the continent. As hundreds of thousands of migrants arriving to Greek and Italian borders have dispersed for resettlement throughout the European Union, countries have seen unprecedented levels of asylum applications. As EU member nations contemplate targeted resettlement and integration policies, it is necessary to situate the current wave of immigration within the broader migration histories of the receiving countries. Prospects for integration can be accurately assessed only when situated in the temporal and geographic context to which new migrants are arriving. In this proposal, we begin to describe the demographic profile of migrants in France and how it has changed over time. Our aim is to provide a broad picture of migration activity across several European countries in order to situate the most recent events in a much larger migratory context. Data from IPUMS International enable a broad view of demographic, educational and occupational characteristics by migration classifications for a wide range of countries across Europe. We focus on educational attainment as a primary indicator of social inclusion and integration. Preliminary analyses reveal considerable increases in educational attainment among migrants in France from the early 1980s to the most recent census in 2011 with variation by region of origin. In the final paper, we will expand the demographic profile, and disaggregate trends across time, by sub-national region of settlement, and by country-of-origin. We will also include similar analyses of migration context for Greece, Spain, and Portugal.

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Presented in Session 114: Terms of belonging: immigrant integration