Table of Contents

  • Social mobility is an important policy objective to foster inclusive economies and societies. It may not be surprising that many immigrants face specific difficulties to progress along the income ladder: they often have to overcome greater barriers to mobility linked among others to the fact that they have been raised and educated in a different environment and education system, and that they may not have the same command of the host language as natives. However, one would hope that, at least for children of immigrants who are native-born, these barriers would disappear and they could enjoy the same opportunity for social mobility as their peers. Yet, evidence suggests that native-born children of immigrants tend to still lag behind their peers with native-born parents in many OECD countries, especially in Europe. This is particularly worrying since these are a large and growing group, and their integration is vital for social cohesion and economic prosperity.

  • This chapter provides an overview of the key findings of an OECD project – funded by the European Commission - that analysed the links between parental disadvantage for immigrants and the outcomes of their children across EU and OECD countries, in comparison with native-born parents and their children.

  • Taking an intergenerational perspective, this literature review seeks to identify key factors that affect the transmission of socio-economic status from immigrant parents to their children. It begins by exploring family characteristics: how intergenerational mobility is impacted by the number of siblings, the parents’ length of stay in the host country, parental language skills and educational aspirations. It then looks at the relationship between growing up in a disadvantaged neighbourhood and intergenerational mobility. Next, it presents an overview of different factors at the school level: going to school with high shares of students with a migration background, institutional aspects such as early childhood education and streaming mechanisms in secondary school, as well as parents’ familiarity with the school system and teachers’ expectations and behaviours. Finally, the chapter explores three factors besides education that impact mobility in the labour market: school-to-work transition of natives with a migration background, sorting into occupational fields, and discrimination at the hiring stage and during employment.

  • This chapter examines the possible intergenerational transmission of educational disadvantage imposed by immigrant parents having fewer years of schooling than nativeborn parents. The first section compares the educational attainment of three groups of native-born students: those with at least one native-born parent; those with two parents born inside the European Economic Area (EEA); and those with two parents born outside the EEA. The second section focuses on the students’ performance at school. It aims at assessing the extent to which parental background characteristics influence skill scores across the different groups of students. This section also investigates the likelihood of students “succeeding against the odds” and other factors influencing school performance, such as language proficiency and the concentration of disadvantaged students at school. Lastly, the third section compares adult skills in numeracy, reading and problem solving between natives whose parents are also native and natives whose parents are foreign-born.

  • This chapter analyses the intergenerational aspects of the labour market integration of youth with an immigrant background in Europe. It begins with a look at labour market outcomes by parental background for three main groups of natives in their adulthood: those with native-born parents, EU-born parents, and parents born outside the EU. The focus is on parental education levels, but individual-level characteristics are also taken into account. A second section investigates occupational mobility by analysing the extent to which adults are employed in work that requires higher skills than their parents needed in their work. As in the previous section, the analysis aims to shed light on whether natives with immigrant parents are more or less mobile in terms of occupations. Finally the chapter looks at the intergenerational transmission of economic vulnerability, concentrating on those at the bottom of the strata and how their disadvantaged positions are inherited from one generation to another.