Chapter 1. Indicators of immigrant integration: Introduction and overview

1.1. Accurate data on the integration of immigrants and their children are key for an informed policy debate

The integration of immigrants and their children has been high on the policy agenda of EU and OECD countries for the last 20 years. It has gained further attention in the aftermath of the humanitarian refugee crisis that outburst in 2015. Between 2015 and 2017, OECD countries received 5.5 million applications for asylum, not taking into account the 3.4 million Syrians who have been granted temporary protection by Turkey. Not all of these will obtain protection, but many will stay and face specific integration challenges related to their forced migration. In most countries such recent refugees make up for a relatively small part of the overall foreign-born population, which faces itself many integration challenges. Indeed, immigrants who have been in the host-countries for many years often continue to experience poorer outcomes than their native-born peers. And some of this disadvantage is passed on to their native-born children.

The integration of immigrants and of their children is vital for social cohesion and inclusive growth and the ability of migrants to become self-reliant, productive citizens. It is also a prerequisite for the host population’s acceptance of further immigration. This publication defines as integration the ability of immigrants to achieve the same social and economic outcomes as natives taking into account their characteristics.

It is crucial to provide policy makers and the public with solid facts, to assess integration outcomes, to pose the right questions, and to address the challenges. Although integration indicators are not necessarily, in themselves, gauges of integration policies, they do point to successes and failures, and thus shed light on possible policy responses. This introductory chapter first discusses the benefits of developing monitoring tools of integration at the international level, based on harmonised concepts and definitions. It then presents a tentative classification of OECD and EU countries with respect to the characteristics of their immigrant population. It summarises in a scoreboard how countries are faring on a number of core indicators, and how these integration outcomes have evolved.

1.1.1. Who is the target population?

Countries tend to define their “immigrant population” in different ways. Most settlement countries (Australia, Canada, New Zealand), the United Kingdom and OECD Latin American countries like Mexico generally refer to the foreign-born population. Other European countries use several different concepts, which include factors like current citizenship, citizenship at birth, country of birth and self-reported ethnicity. Some EU countries exclude from their national definition of the immigrant population expatriates (nationals by birth born abroad), such as France or Italy, or foreigners born abroad who belong to the same ethnic group as the majority of the population (e.g. Hungary, Greece; partly also Germany). Other may also take into account a minimum duration of stay to be included in the immigrant population, such as countries with population registers. In Japan and Korea, statistics predominantly use the notion of nationality. Canada in general excludes persons with a temporary residence permit from the “immigrants” category.

When it comes to define children of immigrants, many longstanding immigration countries considers as children of immigrants all native-born with at least one immigrant parent, or native-born with foreign nationality. Others only consider native-born with two immigrant parents. Most countries have little information on native-born descendants of immigrants because information on parents’ origin is rarely collected. This report avoids the widely used term “second generation migrant” as this term suggests that immigrant status is perpetuated across generations. It is also factually wrong, since the persons concerned are not immigrants but native-born.

This report defines immigrants as the foreign-born population. Indeed, unlike citizenship that can change over time, the place of birth cannot. In addition, conditions for obtaining host-country citizenship vary widely, hampering international comparisons. In countries that are more liberal in this respect – e.g. OECD countries that have been settled by migration – most foreign nationals may naturalise after five years of residence. Some European countries, such as Sweden, also have relatively favourable requirements for some groups. By contrast, many native-born with immigrant parents are not citizens of their country of birth in the Baltic countries, Switzerland and Germany, for instance.

There are many reasons why the outcomes of immigrants – particularly those who arrived as adults – tend to differ from those of the native-born population. They have been raised and educated in an environment – and often in a language – that may be different from that of their host country. And some elements of their foreign origin will always be part of them. Although some of these may affect their full integration, they generally become less of a hindrance the longer migrants reside in the host country.

Issues are very different when it comes to the native-born descendants of immigrants. As they have been raised and educated in the host country, they should not be facing the same obstacles as their immigrant parents and outcomes similar to those of their peers of native-born parentage may be expected. In many respects, the outcomes of the native-born offspring of immigrants are thus a better measurement for integration than the outcomes of the foreign-born. The situation of people who are foreign-born, but arrived as children when they were still of mandatory schooling age, is also different from those who came as adults. Indeed, for the latter, certain key characteristics such as educational attainment are barely influenced by integration policy (as education has been acquired abroad), and thus should not be considered indicators of integration. In contrast, educational attainment is a key indicator for those who arrived as children or are native-born descendants of immigrants.

Figure 1.1 provides an overview of the population with a migrant background that is decomposed along the lines just mentioned – i.e., the foreign-born who arrived as adults, the foreign-born who arrived as children, and the native-born offspring of immigrants. The latter are further broken down between those native-born with two foreign-born parents and those with one foreign-born parent (that is, with “mixed background”). The report examines the latter groups in more detail in Chapter 7 on youth.

According to household survey data, almost 10% of the people residing in the OECD and 11% in the EU are foreign-born – around 125 and 55 million, respectively. Among the immigrant population, one quarter arrived before the age of 15 in the OECD, a share that is slightly higher in the EU (28%). Native-born with at least one immigrant parent account for around 7% of the total population of both the OECD and the EU – around 85 and 35 million, respectively. Across the OECD, slightly more than half of the native-born with a migrant background have two foreign-born parents. That share is somewhat smaller in the EU, where native-born with a mixed background are the majority. The vast majority of native-born with a migrant background have one native- and one foreign-born parent in new destination countries where the number of descendants of immigrants is low, as well as in Sweden and in Central and Eastern European countries where the immigrant population is relatively old of age.

Overall, 17% of the total population have a migrant background in the OECD. The figure is 18% in the European Union. Three fifths of the population with a migrant background are foreign-born. Only in France, Israel, Central Europe (except Hungary) and the Baltic countries are native-born with a migrant background outnumbering immigrants. More than 40% of the population has a migrant background in the settlement countries and in those longstanding European immigration destinations that predominantly host intra-EU migrants (Luxembourg and Switzerland). That share is above 60% in Luxembourg and Israel. It is also between 25 and 35% in most European longstanding destinations, as well as in Sweden, the Baltic countries (except Lithuania) and the United States. At the other side of the spectrum, less than 1 person out of 20 is of migrant background in most Central European countries where the migrant population has been shaped by border changes and ethnic minorities, and less than 1 in 30 in the new immigration destination countries of Asia, Latin America, and Eastern Europe.

Figure 1.1. Immigrants and native-born with a migrant background
Percentage of the total population, 2017 or most recent year
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 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933842166

Notes and sources are to be found at the end of this chapter.

1.1.2. How are integration and its evolution measured?

Measuring integration requires a benchmark against which outcomes can be assessed. This report compares the outcomes of the respective target population with those of the remaining population. In other words, it compares the outcomes of immigrants with those of the native-born (Chapters 2-6), and the outcomes of the native-born with two immigrant parents with those of their peers with two native-born parents (Chapter 7). Chapter 8 takes a specific look at non-EU nationals in the European Union, as these are the focus group of EU integration policy.

The two most common ways of measuring the outcomes of a target group against those of a reference group are: i) as differences in outcomes (mainly expressed in percentage points, since most indicators are shares or rates) and ii) as a ratio between the two outcomes.

Figure 1.2 on median income shows how different measurement methods can yield different country rankings. In this example, Luxembourg and Greece are among the countries where the ratio between the median income of the natives and that of immigrants is the largest, with native-born having an income that is a third higher than that of immigrants. When it comes to the difference in EUR, the ranking of Luxembourg gets even worse, while Greece finds itself in the middle group of OECD countries. Although both measurements assess differences in median income for foreign- and native-born, ratios disregard magnitude. In fact, whereas the immigrant income in Luxembourg is one of the highest among OECD and EU countries, the immigrant income in Greece is one of the lowest. This report consequently presents indicators both as absolute values and discusses differences in percentage points, but rarely as a ratio.

Figure 1.2. Comparison of median income of foreign- and native-born
EUR 2014 constant prices, population aged 16 and more, 2015
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 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933842185

Notes and sources are to be found at the end of this chapter.

This report monitors the evolution over time of the indicators discussed, to the extent possible. The economic downturn that started in December 2007 was the most significant economic event over the past decades, often impacting disproportionately on the foreign-born population. Therefore, this report compares wherever possible the current situation with pre-crisis levels.

1.2. Compiling indicators at the international level is challenging but fruitful

In many respects, international comparisons of integration outcomes are challenging. First, because the characteristics of immigrant populations (age, gender, duration of stay, country of birth, reason of stay, education level, among others) vary widely across countries and may change over time. Second, comparing immigrant outcomes from country to country can only be adequately used to assess the success of “integration” if it takes into account country-specific economic and social contexts, which contribute to shaping these outcomes. Third, international comparisons often suffer from a lack of reliable and harmonised data across countries. National data must therefore be adapted to comply with common categories and definitions, losing some of their specificity and links with country-specific characteristics.

1.2.1. The added value of international comparisons

In exchange, international comparisons bring much added value to indicators at the national level.

a) Provide benchmarks for performance

The fact that indicators computed differently in different countries may not be fully comparable does not imply that comparing the gaps between foreign- and native-born in these countries is meaningless. International comparisons can provide benchmarks for national performance and help interpret the magnitude of differences; for example, whether or not a 5 percentage points lower employment rate for immigrants is little or a lot. International comparisons can also help to focus on the right issues and identify challenges that are not necessarily visible from evidence from individual countries.

Figure 1.3. The employment rates of the foreign-born by level of education
Differences in percentage points with native-born 15- to 64-year-olds not in education, 2016-17
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 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933842204

Notes and sources are to be found at the end of this chapter.

b) Identify common integration challenges

International comparisons also highlight common challenges across countries that are related to the nature of the migration process, rather than the host-country specific context. For example, compared with the native-born, immigrants have higher unemployment rates virtually everywhere.

Likewise, compared with their native-born peers of similar formal education levels, it is not the low-educated immigrants who tend to face the largest challenges. In almost half of all OECD and EU countries, low-educated immigrants have higher employment rates than the low-educated native-born (Figure 1.3). However, the highly educated immigrants have lower employment rates than natives in almost all countries. Virtually everywhere, they have difficulties in getting their qualifications valued, particularly those obtained abroad, highlighting issues such as employer difficulties in judging the value of foreign qualifications.

c) Identify issues that are not visible in national data

International comparisons can also help to identify issues that are not visible in national data, notably when there are strong correlations between immigrant presence and other factors of disadvantage. It is commonly claimed, for example, especially in Europe, that concentrations of immigrants in the same schools risks impairing the overall educational performance of those schools. Results based on data from the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) show that in Europe, where immigrant parents are strongly overrepresented among the lowest-educated, pupils educational outcomes tend to be lower when they find themselves in schools with high shares of children of immigrants (Figure 1.4). However, in OECD countries such as Australia and Canada where immigrants are overrepresented among the highly educated, children perform much better when they find themselves in a school with many children of immigrants. What does emerge in contrast is that, in all countries, children’s academic performance is systematically lower in schools where there are high proportions of children with a poorly educated mother. OECD-wide, they lag almost two years behind their peers in schools with few of such students. In this instance, international comparisons help targeting the real problem to tackle: not the high concentration of children of immigrants as such, but the concentration of children with low-educated parents.

Figure 1.4. How academic performance is affected by concentrations of pupils with migrant backgrounds and low-educated mothers
Difference in PISA mean scores for 15-year-old pupils in schools above the 25% threshold and those in schools below the 25% threshold, 2015
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 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933842223

Notes and sources are to be found at the end of this chapter.

1.2.2. Integration is a multidimensional process, and some aspects are more difficult to measure than others

The effective integration of migrants is not an economic process alone. It also has numerous social, educational, spatial, and other facets. These are closely linked – disadvantage and failure to integrate in one dimension are likely to have multiple repercussions. For example, concentration of children of immigrants in disadvantaged areas affect effective integration in the education system, which in turn hampers labour market prospects.

Some outcomes are easier to measure than others. What is more, harmonised indicators relating to migrant integration across countries are easier to identify in some areas than in others. While the extent of economic integration can be well-measured using labour market outcomes from large standardised cross-country surveys, it is harder to capture social or health integration where measures often rely on surveys of attitudes, feelings, and perceptions. Such subjective indicators are prone to a number of problems. Perceptions tend to be strongly influenced not only by different national contexts in which the questions are posed, but also by the current public debate or highly mediatised incidents close to the day of the survey. What is more, cross-country comparisons often have to draw on non-harmonised data sources, due to different ways questions are posed.

Because integration is a multidimensional process, immigrants can outperform the native-born in one domain and struggle in another. And failure in any one field may severely jeopardise progress in others. Capturing multiple integration domains in different cross-country indicators, as done in this publication, inevitably involves some degree of simplification and approximation. Taken together, however, such a broad set of indicators paints a clearer picture of the success of migrant integration across OECD countries.

To interpret immigrants’ integration outcomes, the composition of the immigrant population also must be considered. In particular, category of entry matters a lot for the starting point. For example, refugees came through forced migration and are “selected” only with respect to humanitarian considerations, while labour migrants are selected on the basis of their skills and/or their job in the host-country. These and other contextual information are crucial to the proper interpretation of immigrants’ actual outcomes and observed differences with native-born populations. From one OECD country to another, the foreign-born population is made up of quite different groups of different size – depending on geographical, linguistic, and policy factors, among others. In Sweden, for example, which has taken in a large number of humanitarian migrants, the migrant population differs quite substantially from that of Switzerland, where many immigrants arrived for employment, or from the United States, where family migration makes the bulk of legal immigration flows. Table 1.1 presents an overview of the characteristics and the areas of integration included in this publication, with a detailed list of the indicators presented for each area.

Table 1.1. Contextual information and areas of integration of immigrants and their children considered in the publication

Description

Measured by

Characteristics (chapter 2)

A number of socio-demographic factors drive integration outcomes. They include age, gender, family structure, living conditions, and geographical concentration. In addition to such factors, which also apply to the native-born, there are certain immigrant-specific determinants like category of entry, duration of stay, and region of origin. A grasp of how they differ from country to country and how immigrants fare relative to the native-born is a prerequisite for understanding integration outcomes.

Foreign-born share of population by:

- Country

- Regions

- Rural or urban area

Distribution of the immigrant population by:

- age

- gender (chapter 6)

Dependency ratio

Endogamous partnership rate

Total fertility rate

Average size of households

Composition of households

Immigration flows by category of entry

Distribution of the immigrant population by:

- Duration of stay

- Regions of origin

Skills and the labour market (Chapter 3)

Immigrants’ skills and how they integrate into the labour market are fundamental to becoming part of the host country’s economic fabric. Skills and qualifications are obviously indicators of the immigrants ability to integrate in the host society. They have a strong bearing on career paths and influence what kind of job they find.

Employment is often considered to be the single most important indicator of integration. Jobs are immigrants’ chief source of income and confers social standing in the eyes of the immigrant’s family and with respect to the host-country population. However, while employment is important per se, job quality is also a strong determinant shaping how immigrants find their place in society.

Distribution of the immigrant population by:

- Educational attainment

- Place of education

- Host-country language proficiency

- Foreign language proficiency

Language courses attendance rate

Participation in adult education and training

Participation in Early Childhood Education and Care (chapter 7)

Literacy scores (chapter 7)

Low school performers in reading (chapter 7)

Share of resilient students (chapter 7)

Share of early school leavers (chapter 7)

Employment rate

Labour market participation rate

Unemployment rate

Long-term unemployment rate

NEET rate (chapter 7)

Share of inactive who wish to work

Share of unemployed receiving benefits

Share of employees working:

- Long hours

- Part-time (chapter 6)

- Involuntary part-time (chapter 6)

Jobs distribution by:

- Types of contracts

- Physical health risks

- Job skills

Over-qualification rate

Share of self-employed

Firm size

Share of employment in the “public services” sector (chapter 7)

Living conditions (chapter 4)

Immigrants’ ability to generate sufficient income and to meet such essential needs as decent housing and healthcare is crucial if they are to take their place in the host society.

Income is a decisive factor in many socio-economic outcomes. Poverty adversely affects the well-being of immigrants in the host society in a number of ways. Housing is also a key factor in well-being. The economic situation of some immigrants, their poor knowledge of the rental market and discrimination from property owners may restrict their choice of accommodation. Lastly, health is integral to well-being, affecting the degree and manner of engagement with society as a whole.

Median income

Income distribution

Poverty rate

Overcrowding rate

Share of substandard dwellings

Perception of ethnic spatial concentration

Perception of environmental problems in the area

Share of people reporting good health status or better

Share of people who report unmet medical needs

Share of people who report unmet dental needs

Civic engagement and social indicators (chapter 5)

Becoming actively involved in the host country society is a key element in immigrant integration and has strong implications for immigrant well-being. By making their voices heard, taking an interest in how their host society works, and participating in the decisions that shape its future, immigrants become an integral part of their new country, this being the very objective of integration.

The nature of the relationship between a host society and its immigrant population is also a critical factor in integration: if social cohesion is strong, it will promote integration whereas if it is weak, immigrants will find it harder to fit in.

Naturalisation rate

National voting participation rate

Local voting participation rate

Life satisfaction

Host-country perceptions of the presence of immigrants

Perceived economic and cultural impact of immigration

Share of native-born interacting with immigrants

Agreement with the statement: "When jobs are scarce, men should have more right to a job than women"

Agreement with the statement: "Women should be prepared to cut down on paid work for the sake of the family"

Sense of belonging to the national community

Sense of belonging at school (chapter 7)

Share of pupils who report having been bullied (chapter 7)

Share of pupils who feel awkward and out of place at school (chapter 7)

Share of immigrants who feel to have been discriminated against

1.3. Classifying immigrant destination countries

Immigrant populations differ largely in their size, length of residence, age, education level, language, and predominant entry categories. On the basis of these background characteristics, eight groups of OECD and EU destination/host countries can be identified.

These peer groups of countries often face similar integration challenges related to the characteristics above. While countries can always learn from the exchange of experiences, such an exchange will be particularly fruitful with those countries whose immigrant composition is broadly similar.

Figure 1.5. Classification of OECD and EU countries as immigrant destinations according to key characteristics of the foreign-born population, 2017
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 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933842242

Group 1: Settlement countries (Australia, Canada, Israel, New Zealand)

In this group of countries, settlement has been a constituent element of nation-building, and immigration is considered part of the national heritage. On average, one person out of four is foreign-born in the whole population, while the native-born who have at least one immigrant parent account, on average, for another 22%.

A high proportion of immigrants have been educated to tertiary level: an average of 53% have a tertiary degree, a level well above those in other countries and higher than among the native-born (37%). In Australia, Canada and New Zealand, these high levels of educational attainment have been linked to immigration policies that have, for many years, attracted large numbers of highly skilled labour migrants. With the exception of Israel, two-thirds of permanent inflows over the last 12 years were labour or free mobility migrants and their accompanying families. Current per capita inflows are also well above the OECD and EU averages. More than one-third of migrants in settlement countries are native speakers. Israel is an exception, and proportions of both native speakers and recent migrants are relatively small.

Overall, economic and social integration of immigrants in settlement countries is relatively successful. Due to the high share of highly educated people, many of whom came as labour migrants, immigrants boast good labour market outcomes, high incomes, good access to training, and social inclusion, compared to their native peers. Low-educated migrants face, however, difficulties to access employment in Australia and Canada and their employment rate has deteriorated over the past decade. What is more, nearly a third of highly educated employed migrants are overqualified in their job in this group of countries.

Immigrants tend to be less likely to report being discriminated against than in other groups of countries. The vast majority of immigrants with more than ten years of residence have host-country citizenship. In addition, immigrants with the nationality of the country of residence tend to have the same likelihood to vote as their native counterparts. Linked with the high education levels of their immigrant parents, immigrant offspring tend to have better outcomes both at school and in the labour market than their peers with no migrant background – in stark contrast to most other host countries covered below.

Group 2: Long-standing destinations with many recent and highly educated migrants (Luxembourg, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the United States)

These countries host significant numbers of both recent and long-settled migrants. Immigrants account for shares of the total population that range from about 14% in the United Kingdom and the United States to 29% in Switzerland and 46% in Luxembourg. Although immigration is longstanding, there have been many arrivals over the past decade, particularly in the three European countries where they make up an average of 46% of the foreign-born population of working age. For these countries, the high share of these recent immigrants stems largely from free movement within the EU / EFTA area, driven chiefly by migration for employment. Immigrants tend to be highly educated. It concerns at least 44% of those of working age and 51% among recent arrivals. The United States is an exception, however, both because recent migration has been more limited and because the vast majority of immigrants came for family reasons.

As in the settlement countries, immigrant labour market outcomes are positive and broadly similar to those of the native-born. The same trend holds for the native-born children of immigrants in comparison with their peers who have no migrant background in the United Kingdom and the United States, but not in Switzerland and Luxembourg, where they face similar issues as those in countries from group 3.

In spite of good overall outcomes, immigrants live disproportionately often in poor-quality housing, notably in the United Kingdom and in the United States.

Despite some improvement over the last ten years, the naturalisation rate is relatively low in Luxembourg and Switzerland. What is more, in Switzerland and the United States, relatively low shares of immigrants with the nationality of their country of residence participate in national elections.

Group 3: Long-standing destinations with many low-educated migrants (Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands)

In this group, immigration has been shaped to a large degree by flows of poorly educated so called “guest workers” during the economic boom period in the wake of World War II. They were later followed by large inflows of family migrants, also with low levels of education.

Much of that migration went into urban areas and, indeed, although the immigrant population is more heavily concentrated in densely populated areas than the natives throughout the OECD and EU, this phenomenon is particularly pronounced in this group. Immigrants are, on average, almost twice as likely to live in densely populated areas as the native-born.

While the share of migrants with less than ten years of residence remained stable since 2006 in Belgium, France and the Netherlands, it increased sharply in Austria and Germany following the recent surge of humanitarian migrants but also due to the significant intake of EU mobile migrants over the past decade. In the two latter countries, recent migrants now represent around a third of all foreign-born. In all five countries, the share of the foreign-born in the total population is above the OECD average, ranging from 12% in France to 19% in Austria. Due to the long-standing nature of immigration, the share of the native-born with at least one foreign-born parent is also relatively high, ranging from 9% of the total population in the Netherlands to 15% in France.

Partly because of their lower levels of educational attainment and partly because a significant share over the last 40 years arrived for purposes other than employment, immigrants have worse labour market outcomes than their native-born peers. Immigrants’ employment rate is, on average, 10 percentage points lower than that of the native-born, their unemployment rate is 6 points higher. Non-EU immigrant women in particular have poor labour market outcomes. Their employment rate is 22 percentage points lower than that of their native peers and it has stagnated over the past 10 years in most countries in this group. Nevertheless, non-EU migrants’ labour market outcomes in Group 3 (with the exception of France and the Netherlands) have improved, although to the same extent than the native-born and the gaps thus remained at high levels.

Immigrants also face other integration issues linked to their relatively low levels of employment and education. These include higher poverty rates (including among children) and poorer-quality housing than among the native-born. Moreover, due to the high share of older migrants – mainly early “guest worker” cohorts now reaching retirement age – health issues are more frequent among the foreign- than the native-born. In addition, in most countries of this group, living conditions have worsened over the last ten years, especially in Austria and the Netherlands.

Disadvantages related to the poor educational background of many immigrant parents have often been passed on to their native-born children, whose educational outcomes lag well behind those of their peers with no migrant background, although gaps have narrowed over the past decades. At the age of 15, the difference is still between 1 and 1.5 years of schooling. As a result, the school-to-work transition is also more difficult for immigrant offspring, who have twice as high a chance as their peers with native parents of finding themselves neither in employment, education, or training – the so called “NEETs”.

The rate of acquisition of nationality among settled immigrants has decreased over the last decade. Moreover, those with the nationality of the country of residence are far less likely to participate in national elections than their native peers. With the exception of France, the poor social integration is also noticeable given the relatively high share of immigrants (nearly one in five) who do not report a strong sense of belonging to their country of residence.

Group 4: Destination countries with significant recent and humanitarian migration (Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden)

Humanitarian immigrants and their families have accounted for much of the immigration into these countries, especially during the large inflow in 2015 but already before that since the beginning of the 1990s. Immigrants are overrepresented at both ends of the education spectrum. Almost half of the resident foreign-born population of working age has arrived over the past ten years, a significant share of whom are EU / EFTA free mobility migrants and, more recently, humanitarian migrants. The share of the foreign-born and their offspring remains smaller than in the long-standing destination countries (with the exception of Sweden where immigrants constitute 18% of the population), but has increased sharply over the last decade. The overwhelming majority of immigrants are non-native speakers.

Recent non-EU migrants and particularly humanitarian migrants and their families tend to struggle to catch up the high standards of the native population in terms of economic outcomes. Indeed, as elsewhere, these groups of immigrants show rather poor labour market outcomes and experience much higher levels of relative poverty and lower-standard housing than the native-born. Immigrant offspring also have lower education outcomes than their peers with no migrant background – although the differences tend to be less pronounced than in Group 3.

A high share of immigrants has taken up host-country citizenship, and more than two-thirds of those with more than ten years of residence hold the citizenship of the host country (more than 75% in Norway and Sweden). In all countries of Group 4, more than 90% of immigrants report a strong sense of belonging to their country of residence and they are more likely than in other groups of countries to report being satisfied in life.

Group 5: New destination countries with many recent, low-educated migrants (Cyprus1,2, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain)

This group encompasses most of the southern EU countries, which were destinations of large numbers of labour migrants who came to fill low-skilled jobs in the first half of the 2000s up to the onset of the global financial and economic crisis. These inflows are mirrored by the large share of low-educated immigrants, although many high-educated immigrants also came to fill low-skilled labour needs prior to the economic crisis. As a result, the over-qualification rate is higher than elsewhere – both in absolute terms and relatively to the native-born. In 2017, it was twice as high among the foreign- as the native-born.

With the exception of Portugal and Spain, where a significant part of migration has been associated with post-colonial ties, few settled immigrants have naturalised.

Outcomes of non-EU immigrants have not recovered from the 2007-08 downturn (with the exception of Portugal). The reason is partly that they were concentrated in sectors sorely affected by job losses and partly because many migrants arrived just before or during the crisis. Before the economic downturn, immigrants had a higher employment rate than the native-born and in spite of significant declines since, it is still roughly the same as that of the native-born in all countries of this group. Since 2006-07, the unemployment rate of the foreign-born has increased by 10 percentage points, compared with 7 points among the native-born. The situation is particularly worrisome in Greece and Spain, where immigrants’ unemployment rate increased by 20 and 13 percentage points, respectively. For the many poorly educated migrants, employability has become a critical issue. While native-born children of immigrants are still a rather small group, the number entering the labour market is growing rapidly and they show worrying outcomes in terms of employment and unemployment rates.

Again with the exception of Portugal, the poverty rate among immigrants is twice as high as among the native-born, and their housing conditions are also much worse.

Group 6: New destination countries with many recent highly educated immigrants (Iceland, Ireland, Malta)

Like Group 5, the countries in this group have seen large numbers of labour migrants arrive in the last 10 years, and two in five of the foreign-born population have lived in their host countries for less than 10 years. However, in contrast to Group 5, recent labour migration has been relatively highly educated, mostly coming from other EU countries.

Although the situation of immigrants in this group is heterogeneous, overall integration outcomes tend to be better than in Group 5. They reflect the immigrant population’s advantageous socio-economic background, especially with respect to education. However, the highly educated experience high incidence of over-qualification in the labour market, with the problem aggravating further over the last 10 years (except in Ireland).

Group 7: Countries with an immigrant population shaped by border changes and/or by national minorities (Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, the Slovak Republic, Slovenia)

The group includes most EU member countries from Central and Eastern Europe. None have experienced much immigration for many years, apart from recent labour migration to Poland which is only partly mirrored in the present data. The bulk of the foreign-born population found themselves to be foreign-born as a result of border changes or nation-building in the late 20th century, mainly related to the fall of the Iron Curtain. Consequently, the foreign-born are an ageing group (one third are more than 65 years old) and the share of nationals among the foreign-born is high. The overall size of the foreign-born population differs widely, ranging from less than 5% in Lithuania, the Slovak Republic and Poland to 16% in Slovenia.

For most indicators, the foreign-born population has outcomes that are similar to, if not better than, those of the native-born, particularly in the labour market. However, immigrants in those countries are the least likely to report being satisfied in their life and having a sense of belonging to their country of residence (in particular in the Baltic countries). The fact that many immigrants are relatively old implies that they tend to be less healthy than the native-born.

Group 8: Emerging destination countries with small immigrant populations (Bulgaria, Chile, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Romania, Turkey)

The last group of immigrant destinations includes a very diverse set of OECD countries from the Americas, Asia, and Europe. In all of them, less than 3% of the population is foreign-born. As a result, information on integration outcomes is often not available and where it is – as for employment – there are relatively wide variations. For example, immigrants have better labour market outcomes than the native-born in Chile and Korea, whereas the reverse is the case in the other countries. However, the immigration situation is changing rapidly. The proportion of foreign-born residents has more than doubled since 2000 in all countries in this group, driven either by the offspring of former emigrants “returning to the land of their parents” or by labour immigrants. In Japan and Korea, international marriages have also accounted for a non-negligible share of immigration.

Table 1.2. Scoreboard of integration outcomes of the foreign-born population and their native-born offspring
Scoreboard of integration outcomes of the foreign-born population and their native-born offspring

Note: 2015/17: “+”: immigrant/native-born offspring outcomes (compared with native-born/native-born with native-born parents) are more favourable than on average in the OECD; “O”: no statistically significant difference (at 1% level) from the OECD average; “-“: immigrant/native-born offspring outcomes (compared with native-born/native-born with native-born parents) are less favourable than on average in the OECD.

Evolution between 2006/08 and 2015/17: “+”: more than a 2-percentage points change to the favour of immigrants/native-born offspring, “0” between a +2-percentage points change and a -2-percentage points change, “-“: more than a 2-percentage points change to the detriment of immigrants/native-born offspring (regardless of statistical significance). The evolution refers to absolute values, not differences vis-à-vis the native-born/native-born with native-born parents. “..”: data are not available or sample size is too small.

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933842261

Notes and sources

Notes on Cyprus

  1. 1. Note by Turkey: The information in this document with reference to “Cyprus” relates to the southern part of the Island. There is no single authority representing both Turkish and Greek Cypriot people on the Island. Turkey recognises the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC). Until a lasting and equitable solution is found within the context of the United Nations, Turkey shall preserve its position concerning the “Cyprus issue”.

  2. 2. Note by all the European Union Member States of the OECD and the European Union: The Republic of Cyprus is recognised by all members of the United Nations with the exception of Turkey. The information in this document relates to the area under the effective control of the Government of the Republic of Cyprus.

Note on Israel

The statistical data for Israel are supplied by and under the responsibility of the relevant Israeli authorities. The use of such data by the OECD is without prejudice to the status of the Golan Heights, East Jerusalem and Israeli settlements in the West Bank under the terms of international law.

Notes on figures and tables

Lithuania was not an OECD Member at the time of preparation of this publication. Accordingly, Lithuania does not appear in the list of OECD Members and is not included in the zone aggregates.

On 25 May 2018, the OECD Council invited Colombia to become a Member. At the time of publication the deposit of Colombia’s instrument of accession to the OECD Convention was pending and therefore Colombia does not appear in the list of OECD Members and is not included in the OECD zone aggregates.

Figure 1.1: In New-Zealand's General Social Survey it is only possible to estimate the native-born immigrant offspring as those raised by people born abroad (or a mixed couple) without specifying if one or both people were actually the biological parents. The estimate is also constrained by sample size limitations. Japan determines who is an immigrant on the basis of nationality, not on the basis of country of birth. Korea includes in the immigrant population all foreigners and immigrants who have been naturalised in the past 5 years. In Chile, Iceland, Japan, Korea, Mexico and Turkey, the estimates for immigrant offspring are based on the share observed from 2003 PISA (among the 15-34 native-born) and the 2015 PISA (among the less than 15 years old native-born). In Ireland, the estimates for immigrant offspring are based on the share observed from the EU-LFS AHM 2008 (among the native-born aged 15 years and over) and the 2015 PISA (among the less than 15 years old native-born). In Germany, the parental origin is based on the country of birth of parents for the native-born still living with their parents, but is based on own citizenship or the citizenship at birth of the parents for those who do not live anymore with their parents. Therefore, the so-called native-born with foreign-born parents may also include native-born with one foreign- and one native-born parent (the latter being an offspring of foreign-born parents), as well as native-born with two native-born parents who are both themselves offspring of foreign-born parents. Data differ slightly from those presented in Figure 1.5 since data sources are different.

Averages factor in rates that cannot be published individually because sample sizes are too small.

Sources

Table 1.3. Sources by figures

Figure 1.1

Figure 1.2

Figure 1.3

Figure 1.4

Figure 1.5

Native speakers

OECD/EU

Australia

Census 2016

Indicator 4.1

Indicator 3.4

PISA 2015

Census 2016

Austria

LFS 2017

Indicator 4.1

Indicator 3.4

PISA 2015

PIAAC 2012

Belgium

EU-LFS AHM 2014

Indicator 4.1

Indicator 3.4

PISA 2015

EU-LFS AHM 2014

Bulgaria

EU-LFS AHM 2014

Indicator 4.1

Indicator 3.4

..

..

Canada

Census 2016

Indicator 4.1

Indicator 3.4

PISA 2015

PIAAC 2012

Chile

IMO 2018: data for 2015 (foreign-born); estimates based on PISA 2003 & 2015 (native-born)

..

Indicator 3.4

PISA 2015

PIAAC 2015

Croatia

EU-LFS AHM 2014

Indicator 4.1

Indicator 3.4

PISA 2015

EU-LFS AHM 2014

Cyprus1,2

EU-LFS AHM 2014

Indicator 4.1

Indicator 3.4

..

EU-LFS AHM 2014

Czech Republic

EU-LFS AHM 2014

Indicator 4.1

Indicator 3.4

PISA 2015

EU-LFS AHM 2014

Denmark

Population register 2017

Indicator 4.1

Indicator 3.4

PISA 2015

PIAAC 2012

Estonia

LFS 2017

Indicator 4.1

Indicator 3.4

PISA 2015

EU-LFS AHM 2014

Finland

Population register 2016

Indicator 4.1

Indicator 3.4

PISA 2015

..

France

LFS 2017

Indicator 4.1

Indicator 3.4

PISA 2015

EU-LFS AHM 2014

Germany

Mikrozensus 2017

Indicator 4.1

Indicator 3.4

PISA 2015

EU-LFS AHM 2014

Greece

EU-LFS AHM 2014

Indicator 4.1

Indicator 3.4

PISA 2015

EU-LFS AHM 2014

Hungary

EU-LFS AHM 2014

Indicator 4.1

Indicator 3.4

PISA 2015

EU-LFS AHM 2014

Iceland

IMO 2018: data for 2017 (foreign-born); estimates based on PISA 2015 (native-born)

Indicator 4.1

Indicator 3.4

PISA 2015

..

Ireland

IMO 2018: data for 2017 (foreign-born); estimates based on PISA 2015 (native-born 0-14) and one EU-LFS AHM 2008

(native-born 15+)

Indicator 4.1

Indicator 3.4

PISA 2015

PIAAC 2012

Israel

LFS 2016

Indicator 4.1

Indicator 3.4

PISA 2015

PIAAC 2015

Italy

EU-LFS AHM 2014

Indicator 4.1

Indicator 3.4

PISA 2015

..

Japan

IMO 2018: data for 2017 (foreign-born); estimates based on PISA 2003 & 2015 (native-born)

..

Indicator 3.4

..

..

Korea

IMO 2018: data for 2016 (foreign-born); SILCLF 2017 (native-born with immigrant parents); estimates based on PISA 2003 & 2015 (native-born with mixed background)

..

Indicator 3.4

..

..

Latvia

EU-LFS AHM 2014

Indicator 4.1

Indicator 3.4

PISA 2015

EU-LFS AHM 2014

Lithuania

EU-LFS AHM 2014

Indicator 4.1

Indicator 3.4

PISA 2015

EU-LFS AHM 2014

Luxembourg

EU-LFS AHM 2014

Indicator 4.1

Indicator 3.4

..

EU-LFS AHM 2014

Malta

EU-LFS AHM 2014

Indicator 4.1

Indicator 3.4

PISA 2015

EU-LFS AHM 2014

Mexico

IMO 2018: data for 2016 (foreign-born); estimates based on PISA 2003 & 2015 (native-born)

..

Indicator 3.4

PISA 2015

..

Netherlands

LFS 2016

Indicator 4.1

Indicator 3.4

PISA 2015

PIAAC 2012

New Zealand

Census 2013 (less than 15) & GSS 2016 (15+)

..

Indicator 3.4

PISA 2015

PIAAC 2015

Norway

Population register 2016

Indicator 4.1

Indicator 3.4

PISA 2015

EU-LFS AHM 2014

Poland

EU-LFS AHM 2014

Indicator 4.1

Indicator 3.4

..

EU-LFS AHM 2014

Portugal

EU-LFS AHM 2014

Indicator 4.1

Indicator 3.4

PISA 2015

EU-LFS AHM 2014

Romania

EU-LFS AHM 2014

Indicator 4.1

Indicator 3.4

..

EU-LFS AHM 2014

Slovak Republic

EU-LFS AHM 2014

Indicator 4.1

Indicator 3.4

PISA 2015

EU-LFS

AHM 2014

Slovenia

EU-LFS AHM 2014

Indicator 4.1

Indicator 3.4

PISA 2015

EU-LFS AHM 2014

Spain

EU-LFS AHM 2014

Indicator 4.1

Indicator 3.4

PISA 2015

EU-LFS AHM 2014

Sweden

LFS 2017

Indicator 4.1

Indicator 3.4

PISA 2015

PIAAC 2012

Switzerland

LFS 2017

Indicator 4.1

Indicator 3.4

PISA 2015

EU-LFS AHM 2014

Turkey

IMO 2018: data for 2016 (foreign-born); estimates based on PISA 2003 & 2015 (native-born)

..

Indicator 3.4

..

..

United Kingdom

EU-LFS AHM 2014

Indicator 4.1

Indicator 3.4

PISA 2015

EU-LFS AHM 2014

United States

CPS 2017

Indicator 4.1

Indicator 3.4

PISA 2015

PIAAC 2012

Partner/G20 countries

Argentina

..

..

Indicator 3.4

..

..

Brazil

..

..

Indicator 3.4

PISA 2015

..

Colombia

..

..

Indicator 3.4

..

..

Costa Rica

..

..

Indicator 3.4

PISA 2015

..

Indonesia

..

..

Indicator 3.4

..

..

Russia

..

..

Indicator 3.4

..

..

Saudi Arabia

 ..

.. 

Indicator 3.4

..

.. 

South Africa

..

..

Indicator 3.4

..

..

Additional sources:

for Figure 1.5

Share of foreign-born: Indicator 2.1

Recent immigrants: Indicator 2.8

Tertiary-educated: Indicator 3.1

Educated in the host country: Indicator 3.1

Share of labour and free movement migrants: Indicator 2.7

Old immigrants: Indicator 2.3

for Table 1.2

Employment rate: Indicator 3.4

Over-qualification rate: Indicator 3.10

Poverty rate: Indicator 4.2

Overcrowding rate: Indicator 4.3

Health status: Indicator 4.5

Acquisition of nationality rate: Indicator 5.1

PISA scores: Indicator 7.4

NEET rate: Indicator 7.9

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