Chapter 5. Immigrant civic engagement and social integration

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.

This chapter starts by looking at two fundamental elements of immigrants’ civic engagement: acquisition of nationality (Indicator 5.1) and voter participation (Indicator 5.2). Although it does not necessarily mark the end of the integration process, obtaining host-country nationality certainly represents a key step in that process. From the viewpoint of the host country, conferring nationality on an immigrant is also a way of welcoming him or her into the community of citizens. One fundamental right of citizens is the right to vote. Participating in elections is a sign of integration – a desire to influence society by getting involved in the selection of those who govern it.

The chapter continues by exploring key aspects of social cohesion, represented by the five following indicators: host-country degree of acceptance of immigration (Indicators 5.3 and 5.4); attitudes of immigrants – compared to those of the native-born – towards gender equality (Indicator 5.5); the extent to which immigrants feel part of the host society or their resultant sense of belonging (Indicator 5.6); the perceived incidence of discrimination against immigrants on the grounds of ethnicity, race or nationality (Indicator 5.7); and, finally, overall life satisfaction (Indicator 5.8) or the extent to which immigrants are satisfied with their life in the host society.

    

Key findings

  • About two-thirds of long-settled immigrants (i.e. more than ten years of residence) in the OECD and 59% in the EU have host-country citizenship, over 74 million and 34 million immigrants, respectively.

  • While there was no change in the shares of the settled foreign-born who have host-country citizenship in non-European countries over the last decade, there was an average drop of almost 10 percentage points in the EU that concerned both EU-born and other migrants.

  • An average of 74% of immigrants with host-country nationality in the OECD and the EU report that they participated in the most recent national elections – less than the native-born rate of around 80%.

  • EU-wide, about half of the native-born hold no particular view on whether immigrants make their country a better or a worse place to live in. The other half, however, believe in equal proportions that immigrants exert either a positive or a negative overall effect on their country.

  • Host-country society views of immigration have remained broadly stable in the EU since 2006, although in a majority of countries slightly more people now take positive stances.

  • The more the native-born interact with the foreign-born, the more likely they are to consider immigration as an opportunity.

  • EU-wide, immigrants are slightly more likely than natives to agree with the statement that “when jobs are scarce, men should have more right to a job than women” (22% vs. 16%).

  • A majority of immigrants in the EU (52%) share the view that “a woman should be prepared to cut down on her paid work for the sake of her family”, compared with 44% among the native-born.

  • In all EU and OECD countries, more than 80% of immigrants report feeling close or very close to their country of residence. The rate ranges from 80% in the Baltic States and Austria to around 95% in France and Switzerland.

  • Around 14% of all foreign-born people in the EU claim to belong to a group subject to discrimination on the grounds of ethnicity, nationality or race. In the United States, less than 10% of immigrants say they have experienced discrimination with regard to work because of their race, ethnicity or national origin in the past five years. As for Australia and Canada, 16% and 12% of immigrants, respectively, report that they personally experienced discrimination.

  • Over the past decade, the overall level of perceived discrimination on the grounds of ethnicity, nationality or race has slightly declined in the EU, falling by 2 percentage points among both men and women.

  • In most EU countries, immigrants are less satisfied with their life than the native-born whereas no significant differences appear between those two groups in non-EU OECD countries.

  • Immigrant women are happier than their male counterparts in the few countries where the gender gap is significant (Austria, Denmark, Greece, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom).

5.1. Acquisition of nationality

Definition

The acquisition of nationality is the process through which immigrants become citizens of the host country in which they reside. In addition to other requirements, immigrants must have lived for a certain time in the host country before they can apply for nationality. Required durations vary according to the host country and the immigrant group. After 10 years of residence, most immigrants are eligible for citizenship in all countries. This section uses the term “acquisition rate” to denote the share of immigrants who have resided in the host country for at least 10 years and hold the host-country nationality.

Coverage

Immigrants aged 15 years and older who have resided in the host country for at least 10 years. Immigrants who have acquired the nationality of the host country at birth (e.g. expatriates) are also included since they cannot be separately identified.

About two-thirds of long-settled immigrants (i.e. more than ten years of residence) in the OECD and 59% in the EU have host-country citizenship – over 74 million and 34 million immigrants, respectively.

The countries where the largest shares – up to 90% – of the foreign-born are host-country citizens are those, like the Slovak Republic, Poland, Lithuania and Croatia, where border changes shaped the national make-up. Host-country nationals also account for considerable proportions of immigrant populations in countries such as Canada, Sweden, Portugal and Australia, which encourage the acquisition of citizenship. However, in countries where the process of acquiring nationality is (or has been) more difficult, naturalisation is not encouraged to the same extent, or dual citizenship not legally possible (or has not been until recently), substantially fewer immigrants are host-country nationals. Such countries include those of Southern Europe (with the exception of Portugal) and Luxembourg.

The EU-wide acquisition rate is lower amongst European immigrants than among those from other regions. This trend is attributable to the facilitation of freedom of movement between EU countries, thus lowering the value-added of host-country citizenship. As a result, only 45% of European immigrants in EU countries have sought to acquire their host-country’s nationality compared to around two-thirds of those originating from non-European countries. By comparison, in countries that are not part of mobility agreements with European countries, such as Australia and the United States, acquisition rates are high among Europeans (more than 80%). At 46%, they are much lower, however, among Latin American and Caribbean immigrants in the United States – and even lower in Chile, where less than one-third had acquired nationality in 2015. In Norway and Belgium, the acquisition rate among immigrants from Africa and Asia is 30 percentage points higher than among their European peers. Remarkably cultural and historical ties may affect acquisition rates. For example, the Netherlands’ ties with countries in Asia (Indonesia) and in Latin America and the Caribbean (Suriname) is reflected in the high rates of acquisition of Dutch nationality among immigrants from the two regions. The same is equally true of Portugal with regard to immigrants from Africa, who tend to come from lusophone countries.

While there was no change in the shares of the settled foreign-born who have host-country citizenship in non-European countries over the last decade, there was an average drop of almost 10 percentage points in the EU that concerned both EU-born and other migrants. In some countries, the fall was much steeper – up to 20 percentage points in the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, and Italy. By contrast, other countries, like Portugal and Switzerland, which had streamlined naturalisation procedures in the previous decade, saw rises in the shares of settled foreign-born residents acquiring nationality.

Figure 5.1. How the acquisition of nationality among immigrants has evolved
Percentages of host-country nationals among settled immigrants, aged 15 and above, 2006-07 and 2017
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 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933843306

Figure 5.2. Acquisition of nationality by region of birth
Percentages of host-country nationals among settled immigrants, aged 15 and above, 2015-16
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 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933843325

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

5.2. Voter participation

Definition

Voter participation is measured as the share of citizens who report that they have casted a ballot in the most recent national parliamentary election in the country of residence. A comparison between participation in local/municipal and national/general elections is drawn from the EU MIDIS II.

Coverage

All nationals of the country of residence aged 18 and older who are eligible to vote in national elections.

An average of 74% of immigrants with host-country nationality in the OECD and the EU report that they participated in the most recent national elections – less than the native-born rate of 79%. The gap in voter participation with the native-born remains constant after accounting for age and education. The few countries in which immigrants are significantly more likely than natives to vote are some Eastern and Central European countries and Israel. In absolute terms, immigrants’ turnout is highest in Denmark and Belgium (where there is a formal obligation for all citizens to vote), and lowest in the Czech Republic, Switzerland and Ireland. These rates are similar to native-born participation in several longstanding destinations, such as France, the United Kingdom and Canada. Gaps are widest, ranging from 12 to 20 points, in the Nordic countries, Southern Europe (excluding Italy), Ireland and Switzerland.

In almost all countries, immigrant citizens who have been residents for over 10 years generally boast higher rates of participation in national elections than newer arrivals already naturalised. Turnout among the long-settled foreign-born citizens is, however, still on average 4 percentage points lower than among their native-born peers. That being said, in the United Kingdom, Poland and several other Central and Eastern European countries, long-resident immigrants are actually more likely to vote than the native-born. EU and non-EU migrants with host-country nationality show similar turnout EU-wide, after accounting for age and level of education. However, there are wide variations from country to country. In Switzerland, Germany and Ireland, EU immigrants are more likely to take part in national elections than their non-EU counterparts. The reverse is true in Austria and the United Kingdom. In the latter country, citizens of Commonwealth countries enjoy full voting rights, regardless of how long they have been residents.

EU- and OECD-wide, immigrant voter participation has hardly changed over time although the overall gap with natives has narrowed slightly. However, different trends are at play across countries. While the gap has decreased in Denmark, Austria, Sweden, Spain, France and the United Kingdom, it has widened significantly in Iceland, Greece, Ireland, Finland and Switzerland. In the EU, while the voter participation of long-settled immigrants has hardly changed, it decreased by 5 percentage points among more recent immigrants with host-country citizenship, to 51%.

According to the second European Union Minorities and Discrimination Survey (EU-MIDIS II) among communities of 16 years old and over, the levels of immigrants’ participation in local and national elections tend to be similar. Notable exceptions are North Africans in the Netherlands, who tend to participate more in national than in local elections, while the reverse is true for these groups in Southern Europe. Overall, immigrants from Asia are more likely to vote. Sub-Saharan African immigrants tend to cast their ballots more often in Nordic countries and the United Kingdom than in Southern Europe, Ireland or France.

Figure 5.3. Self-reported participation in most recent election
Percentages of the population with the host-country’s nationality, aged 18 and above, 2008-16
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 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933843344

Figure 5.4. How self-reported participation rates in most recent elections have evolved
Changes in percentage points between the native- and the foreign-born with the nationality of the country of residence, aged 18 and above, between 2002-08 and 2010-16
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 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933843363

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

5.3. Host-society attitudes towards immigration

Definition

This indicator seeks to assess the integration of immigrants from the point of view of the host country, as positive attitudes make integration easier and tend to be associated with better social integration. Various questions have been analysed for the EU, Australia and the United States (see notes at the end of the Chapter).

Coverage

The native-born aged 15 and older.

EU-wide, about half of the native-born hold no particular view on whether “immigrants make their country a better or a worse place to live in”. The other half, however, believe in equal proportions that immigrants exert either a good or bad overall effect on their country. Nordic countries and Ireland harbour the most positive opinions, and Hungary, Italy and the Czech Republic the most negative. Since 2006, native-born views of immigrants have remained broadly stable in Europe (with a mean score close to 5) although, in a majority of countries, more people now take slightly more positive stances. The strongest swings to more favourable opinions came in Portugal, the United Kingdom and Norway, while in Hungary, Italy and the Czech Republic public opinion became less favourable, creating a host-country divide in Europe.

The native-born tend, on the whole, to report slightly more positive views when asked about specific impacts that immigrants have on their country, notably when it comes to their contribution to the national cultural life. The picture is more mixed with respect to the economic impact of migration. More than 80% of natives in Australia see themselves tolerant of society being comprised of different cultures. In Sweden and Denmark, the vast majority of native-born think that immigrants enrich their country’s culture while they are slightly more sceptical about the economic impact. In Europe, native-born in Germany and Switzerland have the most positive views regarding the economic impact of migration, while the native-born in Central and Eastern European countries are among the most negative, together with Italy, Austria and France. As for Greece, two-thirds of native-born believe that the foreign-born make Greece a worse place to live in, are bad for the economy, and undermine their culture.

In the United States, while almost half of the native-born believe that immigrants are good for the economy, the other half also think that inflows should be cut. Similarly, while 39% of Australian-born consider that the number of immigrants accepted into Australia at present is “too high”, around 60% agree with the statement that “accepting immigrants from many different countries makes Australia stronger”.

When it comes to the impact on the labour market, half of the EU native population hold no particular view on whether immigrants take or create jobs. More than a quarter, however, are inclined to think that they take jobs and a minority (18%) that they create them. Overall, opinions in this regard have become more positive since 2006, particularly in Germany, Norway and Switzerland.

Within countries, a clear age- and education-related divide emerges, with the younger and better educated showing more positive attitudes towards immigrants. Differences between age groups are, however, less marked in the most positive countries and wider in the most negative (except Hungary). Attitudes differ the most between young adults and the elderly in the United Kingdom, Austria, France, Estonia and Spain.

Figure 5.5. How host-country perceptions of the presence of immigrants have evolved
Mean scores on a scale from 0 to 10 for question: “Is [country] made a worse or a better place to live by people coming to live here from other countries?”, 2006 and 2016
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 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933843382

Figure 5.6. The age divide in host-country perceptions of immigrants
Mean score on a scale from 0 to 10 for question: “Is [country] made a worse or a better place to live by people coming to live here from other countries?”, 2016
picture

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933843401

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

5.4. Interactions with immigrants

Definition

This indicator, which is only available for EU countries, seeks to assess the frequency of interactions of the natives with immigrants born in a third country (“On average, how often do you interact with immigrants?”, “Interaction can mean anything from exchanging a few words to doing an activity together”), and its association with attitudes towards immigration, based on the question: “Do you see immigration more of a problem, an opportunity, neither a problem nor an opportunity, both of a problem and an opportunity?” Two types of interaction are considered in this section: in the workplace and in the neighbourhood. Interactions are considered frequent when they occur at least once a week; rare when they occur once a year or less frequently.

Coverage

The native-born aged 15 and older.

Interaction is most widespread in neighbourhoods and in the workplace, where 44% and 28% of the native-born population, respectively, report interacting at least once a week with immigrants from non-EU countries. Countries where the native-born interact most with the non-EU-born in their neighbourhood are Southern European countries, Ireland and Austria. Interaction while working with immigrant colleagues is most common in Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands.

EU-wide, around 32% of the native-born consider that third-country immigration is both a problem and an opportunity and 8% that it is neither a problem nor an opportunity. Around 40% think that it is more of a problem, while a 20% consider it an opportunity. In about half of all EU countries, the dominant view is that immigration is both a problem and an opportunity or neither a problem nor an opportunity.

Native-born who interact with the foreign-born are more likely to consider immigration as an opportunity, particularly so when interactions occur in the workplace. More than 26% of native-born who interact once a week or more with immigrants in their workplace view immigration as an opportunity. This share falls to 14% among those who report little interaction. Notable exceptions are Portugal and Luxembourg, where people having seldom interactions with immigrants are more likely to report that immigration is more of an opportunity than those who have frequent interactions. The association between interaction with immigrants in the workplace and positive attitudes towards immigration is particularly strong in the Baltic countries and Southern European countries (bar Latvia and Portugal), the United Kingdom and Finland.

Figure 5.7. How frequently native-born populations interact with immigrants
Percentages of the native-born who interact at least once a week with immigrants, 2018
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 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933843420

Figure 5.8. The extent to which interactions with immigrants shape the likelihood to see immigration as more of an opportunity
Percentages of the native-born who consider immigration as more of an opportunity, 2018
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 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933843439

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

5.5. Attitudes towards gender equality

Definition

This indicator is based on self-reported views on two statements: “When jobs are scarce, men should have more right to a job than women” and “A woman should be prepared to cut down on her paid work for the sake of her family.” Data are only available for EU countries.

Coverage

Persons aged 15 and older.

Across the EU, 22% of the foreign-born population and 16% of the native-born population agree with the statement that “when jobs are scarce, men should have more right to a job than women”. Women are generally less inclined to agree with this statement but gender gaps are wider among immigrants. It concerns around 20% of foreign- and 15% of native-born women EU-wide, compared with 24% among foreign- and 16% among native-born men, respectively.

In general, in those countries where native approval rates are very low (very high) among the native-born, they are also low (high) among immigrants. Immigrants are more likely than natives to agree with the above statement in all countries, with the exceptions of Hungary, Portugal and Israel. In Greece, over half of the foreign-born population agree (62% of men and 45% of women), compared to 44% of the native-born population (52% of men and 37% of women). Gaps between the native- and foreign-born views are particularly wide in the Southern European countries (save Portugal), but also in Germany and Denmark, ranging between 10 and 17 percentage points.

As for the view that “a woman should be prepared to cut down on her paid work for the sake of her family”, it is shared by 52% of the foreign-born and 44% of the native-born EU-wide. In the vast majority of countries, foreign-born populations are more likely to report this view than their native peers. Unlike the statement on men having greater entitlement to jobs, which addresses men’s and women’s relative right to work, this one considers the tension between work and family life for women only. It elicits much higher average approval rates, which indicates that the view that a woman’s chief responsibility is to care for her children and family is widespread, among both native- and foreign-born. The lowest approval rates among foreign-born populations (both EU and non-EU-born) come in the Nordic countries and in the Netherlands. In the Baltic countries, by contrast, overall approval rates are high (around 70%), and gaps between native- and foreign-born respondents are minor, save in Estonia.

Figure 5.9. Attitudes towards gender equality in job access
Percentages who agree with the statement: “When jobs are scarce, men should have more right to a job than women”, 2008-16
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 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933843458

Figure 5.10. Attitudes towards women’s responsibility to care for the family
Percentages who agree with the statement: “Women should be prepared to cut down on paid work for the sake of the family”, 2004-10
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 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933843477

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

5.6. Sense of belonging

Definition

This indicator shows the shares of foreign- and native-born who feel part of their national community. In the EU, this indicator is the share of individuals who report that they feel close or very close to their respective country of residence on a scale from 1 to 5; in Australia, it is based on the extent to which individuals “have a sense of belonging in Australia” and is measured as the share who report such sense of belonging to a “great” or a “moderate” extent (versus “only slightly” and “not at all”). In New Zealand, it is the share who report having a sense of belonging to the country higher than 6 (on a scale from 0 to 10). In all other countries, it is the share of persons who self-report that they agree or strongly agree with the statement that they see themselves as part of the “nation”.

Coverage

Population aged 15 and older.

Across all EU and OECD countries, more than 80% of immigrants report feeling close or very close to their country of residence. The rate ranges from 80% in the Baltic countries and Austria to around 95% in France and Switzerland. The gap with natives is generally small, except in countries where immigrants’ sense of belonging is the lowest, as well as in Ireland, Norway and the United States, where particularly high shares of native-born report a strong sense of belonging to their country of birth.

However, natives are generally more prone to “strongly agree” with the statement that they are part of their national community while immigrants tend to more often say that they simply “agree”. This is particularly the case in some European countries where the host-country attitude towards immigration is relatively unfavourable (Austria, Lithuania) or where immigration is fairly recent (Ireland), as well as in Belgium and the Netherlands, Australia and New Zealand.

At the same time, it seems that many immigrants maintain personal, cultural, economic or political ties with their country of origin, although only few countries have data on this. In New Zealand, for example, while around 85% of immigrants reported a sense of belonging to the host country, three-quarters also reported feeling an attachment to their origin country.

Figure 5.11. How close individuals feel to their country of residence
Percentages who feel part of their national community, 2014
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 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933843496

Figure 5.12. How close foreign-born feel to their country of residence
Percentages, aged 15 and above, 2014
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 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933843515

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

5.7. Perceived discrimination

Definition

This indicator considers shares of immigrants who report having experienced discrimination. In the EU, perceived discrimination among immigrants is measured as the sentiment of belonging to a group that is discriminated against on grounds of ethnicity, nationality, or race. In Australia and Canada, perceived discrimination relates to reported personal experience of discrimination. In the United States, only discrimination with regard to work is covered.

Coverage

Foreign-born people aged 15 to 64 years old.

Around 14% of all the foreign-born in the EU claim to belong to a group subject to discrimination on the grounds of ethnicity, nationality or race. Levels are particularly high in Greece and Latvia, where over a quarter of the foreign-born population feel part of a discriminated group. They are high, too, at around one-sixth, in Portugal and in several longstanding countries of immigration in Europe, such as the Netherlands, France and Belgium. In the United States, less than 10% of immigrants say they have experienced discrimination with regard to work because of their race, ethnicity or national origin in the past five years. As for Australia and Canada, respectively 16% and 12% of immigrants personally experienced discrimination.

Across the EU, immigrants who have lived in the host country for 10 years or more are slightly less likely to report discrimination than those who arrived during the last 10 years. These long-settled immigrants are markedly less likely than recent ones – by 6 to 8 points – in Southern European countries with above-average levels of overall discrimination. The same holds true, although to a lesser extent, of Hungary and Ireland. However, in a number of countries the reverse applies. In Austria, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and a number of Central and Eastern European countries, long-settled immigrants are more likely to feel discriminated against than recent ones.

Over the past decade, the overall level of perceived discrimination has declined, falling in the EU by 2 percentage points among both men and women. The steepest drops, however, were observed among people from certain regions of origin. Although the foreign-born from North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa and other European countries (which includes Turkey) report some of the highest discrimination levels in absolute terms, they stand out with declines of 4 to 6 points. Among Sub-Saharan foreign-born, for example, the share who felt that they belong to a group that is discriminated against dropped from 27% to 23%. Similarly, among the unemployed foreign-born, it dropped from 20% to 16%. Only among older immigrants, aged 55 to 64, perceived discrimination rose slightly.

The second European Union Minorities and Discrimination Survey (EU-MIDIS II) affords unique insights into levels of discrimination against different ethnic minority groups in the EU. Among the largest groups of non-EU immigrants aged 16 and over, immigrants from Africa are the most likely to feel discriminated against, and those from Asia the least. More than 40% of Sub-Saharan Africans report to encounter discrimination in Austria, Denmark, Finland, Luxembourg and the Netherlands in the past 12 months. The perception of discrimination is most frequent during the use of services such as public transport, medical care and restaurants (14%), followed by job search (11% report being discriminated while looking for work). At 7% and 4%, respectively, immigrants reported the lowest incidence of perceived discrimination when looking for accommodation and in education, be it in the schools that their children attend or in the establishments where they themselves study.

Figure 5.13. Self-reported discrimination, by length of residence
Percentages of immigrants, 15- to 64-year-olds, 2008-16
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 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933843534

Figure 5.14. Socio-economic characteristics in immigrants’ perceptions of discrimination
Percentages, 15- to 64-year-olds, 2008-16
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 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933843553

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

5.8. Life satisfaction

Definition

Self-reported life satisfaction denotes respondents’ perceptions and assessments of their lives at the time of the interview. Survey respondents were asked to rate, on a scale from 0 to 10, their overall life satisfaction (respondents with a score of 10 being the most satisfied).

Coverage

All populations aged 15 and older.

While across non-EU OECD countries, there appear to be no significant differences between foreign- and native-born life satisfaction scores, in most EU countries, immigrants are less satisfied than natives. OECD- and EU-wide, the highest levels of self-reported life satisfaction among the foreign-born are found in countries with high overall life satisfaction levels, such as the Nordic and settlement countries. At the opposite side of the spectrum lie Greece, Hungary and the Baltic countries. Satisfaction gaps with the native-born are particularly wide in the Baltic countries as well as in Belgium, the Netherlands and Switzerland. Conversely, in Japan and Portugal, the foreign-born report greater overall life satisfaction than natives.

The extent to which migration shapes how people born abroad perceive their lives is contingent on a number of factors. They include the extent to which their pre-migration expectations are met upon arrival, as well as how circumstances and aspirations evolve over time. Variations in migrants’ self-reported life satisfaction from country to country also likely reflect education levels, countries of origin, employment status, reasons for migrating, and living conditions in the country of residence.

In most countries, no or limited difference is observed between immigrant men and women. In the few countries where the gap is significant, though, immigrant women are generally happier with their life than men. This is the case in Austria, Denmark, Greece, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. In a majority of countries, native women are overall happier with their life than men.

In all European countries but the Czech Republic, life satisfaction among EU immigrants is higher than for non-EU immigrants and on a par with the native-born. In Hungary and Portugal, it is even higher – despite a context of low overall life satisfaction levels.

As for the native-born in the EU, migrants’ levels of satisfaction are strongly associated with their financial situation and accommodation. While personal relationships are less of a determinant among immigrants than among the native-born, the reverse is true of jobs. Satisfaction with one’s job is a more important factor in satisfaction with life among the foreign- than the native-born. In both groups, however, having a job is always associated with higher degrees of life satisfaction.

Figure 5.15. Self-reported life satisfaction
Mean score on a scale from 0 to 10, aged 16 and above, 2008-15
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 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933843572

Figure 5.16. Self-reported life satisfaction, by country of birth
Mean score on a scale from 0 to 10, aged 16 and above, 2013
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 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933843591

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

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.

Indicator 5.3: In the EU, host country opinions of immigration have been assessed by asking the following questions: “Is [country] made a worse or a better place to live by people coming to live here from other countries?”; “Would you say it is generally bad or good for [country]’s economy that people come to live here from other countries?”; “Would you say that [country]’s cultural life is generally undermined or enriched by people coming to live here from other countries?”; “Would you say that people who come to live here generally take jobs away from workers in [country], or generally help to create new jobs?” Answers yield scores on a scale from 0 to 10, from which mean scores and frequencies are calculated. How frequently respondents give positive, negative or neutral answers is determined by dividing responses into three groups: 0 to 3, negative; 4 to 6, neutral; 7 to 10, positive.

In Australia, it is assessed through two questions: “What do you think of the number of immigrants accepted into Australia at present?” (too high; about right; too low); “Accepting immigrants from many different countries makes Australia stronger” (strongly agree; agree; neither agree or disagree; disagree; strongly disagree). In the United States, two statements are considered: “Immigrants are generally good for America's economy” (strongly agree; agree; neither agree or disagree; disagree; strongly disagree); “Do you think the number of immigrants to America nowadays should: be increased/remain the same/be reduced?”.

Indicator 5.7: Data on European countries refer to the sense of belonging to a group that is discriminated against on the grounds of race, ethnicity, or nationality. Australian data refer to immigrants who report having experienced discrimination or been treated unfairly because of their skin colour, nationality, race, ethnic group or language they speak. Canadian data refer to immigrants who have experienced discrimination or have been treated unfairly in the past five years because of their ethnicity, culture, race, or colour. The United States data (for the year 2016) refers to respondents who feel they have been discriminated against with regard to work (for instance, when applying for a job, or when being considered for a pay increase or promotion at work) over the past five years because of their race, ethnicity or nationality.

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

For further detailed data, see Annex D.

Table 5.1. Sources by indicator

5.1 Acquisition of nationality

5.2. Voter participation

5.3. Host-society attitudes towards immigration

5.4. Interactions with immigrants

5.5. Attitudes towards gender equality

5.6. Sense of belonging

5.7. Perceived discrimination

5.8. Life satisfaction

OECD/EU

Australia

Census 2016

..

Scanlon Foundation Surveys 2016-2017

 ..

.. 

Scanlon Foundation Surveys 2016-2017

GSS 2014

Gallup, 2008-15

Austria

EU-LFS 2006-07 & 2017

ESS 2002-06 & 2014-16 EU-MIDIS II 2016

ESS 2006 and 2016 waves

Eurobarometer 2017

ESS 2014-16 (F5.9), ESS 2004-06 (F5.10)

ESS 2014 round

ESS 2002-06 & 2014-16 EU-MIDIS II 2016

Gallup, 2008-15 and SILC 2013

Belgium

EU-LFS 2006-07 & 2017

ESS 2008-16, 2002-08 & 2010-16 EU-MIDIS II 2016

ESS 2006 and 2016 waves

Eurobarometer 2017

ESS 2008-16 (F5.9), ESS 2004-10 (F5.10)

ESS 2014 round

ESS 2008-16, 2002-08 & 2010-16 EU-MIDIS II 2016

Gallup, 2008-15 and SILC 2013

Bulgaria

EU-LFS 2006-07 & 2015-16

ESS 2008-12

ESS 2006 and 2016 waves

Eurobarometer 2017

ESS 2008-10 (F5.9)

 ..

ESS 2008-12

Gallup, 2008-15

Canada

Census 2016

GSS, 2014

 ..

.. 

.. 

GSS, 2013 

GSS, 2014

Gallup, 2008-15

Chile

 ..

 ..

 ..

 ..

..

 ..

 ..

Gallup, 2008-15

Croatia

EU-LFS 2006-07 & 2015-16

ESS 2008-10

ESS 2006 and 2016 waves

Eurobarometer 2017

ESS 2008-10 (F5.9), ESS 2008-10 (F5.10)

 ..

ESS 2008-10

Gallup, 2008-15

Cyprus1,2

EU-LFS 2006-07 & 2015-16

ESS 2008-12, 2006-08 & 2010-12 EU-MIDIS II 2016

ESS 2006 and 2016 waves

Eurobarometer 2017

ESS 2008-12 (F5.9), ESS 2006-10 (F5.10)

 ..

ESS 2008-12, 2006-08 & 2010-12 EU-MIDIS II 2016

Gallup, 2008-15 and SILC 2013

Czech Republic

EU-LFS 2006-07 & 2017

ESS 2008-16, 2002-04+2008 & 2010-16

ESS 2006 and 2016 waves

Eurobarometer 2017

ESS 2008-16 (F5.9), ESS 2004+2008-10 (F5.10)

ESS 2014 round

ESS 2008-16, 2002-04+2008 & 2010-16

Gallup, 2008-15 and SILC 2013

Denmark

EU-LFS 2006-07 & 2017

ESS 2008-14, 2002-08 & 2010-14 EU-MIDIS II 2016

ESS 2006 and 2016 waves

Eurobarometer 2017

ESS 2008-14 (F5.9), ESS 2004-10 (F5.10)

ESS 2014 round

ESS 2008-14, 2002-08 & 2010-14 EU-MIDIS II 2016

Gallup, 2008-15 and SILC 2013

Estonia

EU-LFS 2006-07 & 2017

ESS 2008-16, 2004-08 & 2010-16

ESS 2006 and 2016 waves

Eurobarometer 2017

ESS 2008-16 (F5.9), ESS 2004-10 (F5.10)

ESS 2014 round

ESS 2008-16, 2004-08 & 2010-16

Gallup, 2008-15

5.1

5.2

5.3

5.4

5.5

5.6

5.7

5.8

Finland

EU-LFS 2006-07 & 2017

ESS 2008-16, 2002-08 & 2010-16 EU-MIDIS II 2016

ESS 2006 and 2016 waves

Eurobarometer 2017

ESS 2008-16 (F5.9), ESS 2004-10 (F5.10)

ESS 2014 round

ESS 2008-16, 2002-08 & 2010-16 EU-MIDIS II 2016

Gallup, 2008-15

France

EU-LFS 2006-07 & 2017

ESS 2008-16, 2002-08 & 2010-16 EU-MIDIS II 2016

ESS 2006 and 2016 waves

Eurobarometer 2017

ESS 2008-16 (F5.9), ESS 2004-10 (F5.10)

ESS 2014 round

ESS 2008-16, 2002-08 & 2010-16 EU-MIDIS II 2016

Gallup, 2008-15 and SILC 2013

Germany

EU-LFS 2006-07 & Mikrozensus 2016

ESS 2008-16, 2002-08 & 2010-16 EU-MIDIS II 2016

ESS 2006 and 2016 waves

Eurobarometer 2017

ESS 2008-16 (F5.9), ESS 2004-10 (F5.10)

ESS 2014 round

ESS 2008-16, 2002-08 & 2010-16 EU-MIDIS II 2016

Gallup, 2008-15

Greece

EU-LFS 2006-07 & 2017

ESS 2008-10 EU-MIDIS II 2016

ESS 2006 and 2016 waves

Eurobarometer 2017

ESS 2008-10 (F5.9), ESS 2004+2008-10 (F5.10)

 ..

ESS 2008-10 EU-MIDIS II 2016

Gallup, 2008-15 and SILC 2013

Hungary

EU-LFS 2006-07 & 2017

ESS 2008-14, 2002-08 & 2010-14

ESS 2006 and 2016 waves

Eurobarometer 2017

ESS 2008-14 (F5.9), ESS 2004-10 (F5.10)

 ..

ESS 2008-14, 2002-08 & 2010-14

Gallup, 2008-15 and SILC 2013

Iceland

EU-LFS 2006-07 & 2015-16

ESS 2012+2016

ESS 2006 and 2016 waves

 ..

ESS 2012+2016 (F5.9)

 ..

ESS 2012+2016

Gallup, 2008-15

Ireland

EU-LFS 2006-07 & 2015-16

ESS 2008-16, 2002-08 & 2010-16

ESS 2006 and 2016 waves

Eurobarometer 2017

ESS 2008-16 (F5.9) ESS 2004-10 (F5.10)

ESS 2014 round

ESS 2008-16, 2002-08 & 2010-16

Gallup, 2008-15 and SILC 2013

Israel

..

ESS 2008-16, 2002+2008 & 2010-16

ESS 2006 and 2016 waves

 ..

ESS 2008-16 (F5.9) ESS 2008-10 (F5.10)

ESS 2014 round

ESS 2008-16, 2002+2008 & 2010-16

Gallup, 2008-15

Italy

EU-LFS 2006-07 & 2017

ESS 2012 EU-MIDIS II 2016

ESS 2006 and 2016 waves

Eurobarometer 2017

ESS 2012 (F5.9)

 ..

ESS 2012 EU-MIDIS II 2016

Gallup, 2008-15 and SILC 2013

Japan

..

.. 

.. 

.. 

.. 

.. 

.. 

Gallup, 2008-15

Korea

..

 ..

..

.. 

.. 

..

 ..

Gallup, 2008-15

Latvia

EU-LFS 2006-07 & 2017

ESS 2010-14

ESS 2006 and 2016 waves

Eurobarometer 2017

ESS 2010-14 (F5.9), ESS 2010 (F5.10)

 ..

ESS 2010-14

Gallup, 2008-15

Lithuania

EU-LFS 2006-07 & 2017

ESS 2010-14

ESS 2006 and 2016 waves

Eurobarometer 2017

ESS 2010-14 (F5.9) ESS 2010 (F5.10)

ESS 2014 round

ESS 2010-14

Gallup, 2008-15

Luxembourg

EU-LFS 2006-07 & 2017

ESS 2004 EU-MIDIS II 2016

ESS 2006 and 2016 waves

Eurobarometer 2017

ESS 2004 (F5.10)

 ..

ESS 2004 EU-MIDIS II 2016

Gallup, 2008-15 and SILC 2013

Malta

EU-LFS 2006-07 & 2015-16

..

ESS 2006 and 2016 waves

Eurobarometer 2017

..

 ..

..

Gallup, 2008-15

Mexico

..

 ..

.. 

.. 

.. 

.. 

.. 

Gallup, 2008-15

Netherlands

EU-LFS 2006-07 & 2015-16

ESS 2008-16, 2002-08 & 2010-16 EU-MIDIS II 2016

ESS 2006 and 2016 waves

Eurobarometer 2017

ESS 2008-16 (F5.9) ESS 2004-10 (F5.10)

ESS 2014 round

ESS 2008-16, 2002-08 & 2010-16 EU-MIDIS II 2016

Gallup, 2008-15 and SILC 2013

New Zealand

..

GSS, 2016

 ..

 ..

 ..

GSS, 2016-2017

GSS, 2016

Gallup, 2008-15

Norway

EU-LFS 2006-07 & 2015-16

ESS 2008-16, 2002-08 & 2010-16

ESS 2006 and 2016 waves

 ..

ESS 2008-16 (F5.9) ESS 2004-10 (F5.10)

ESS 2014 round

ESS 2008-16, 2002-08 & 2010-16

Gallup, 2008-15 and SILC 2013

Poland

EU-LFS 2006-07 & 2017

ESS 2008-16, 2002-08 & 2010-16 EU-MIDIS II 2016

ESS 2006 and 2016 waves

Eurobarometer 2017

ESS 2008-16 (F5.9) ESS 2004-10 (F5.10)

 ..

ESS 2008-16, 2002-08 & 2010-16 EU-MIDIS II 2016

Gallup, 2008-15 and SILC 2013

Portugal

EU-LFS 2006-07 & 2017

ESS 2008-14, 2002-08 & 2010-14 EU-MIDIS II 2016

ESS 2006 and 2016 waves

Eurobarometer 2017

ESS 2008-14 (F5.9) ESS 2004-10 (F5.10)

ESS 2014 round

ESS 2008-14, 2002-08 & 2010-14 EU-MIDIS II 2016

Gallup, 2008-15 and SILC 2013

Romania

EU-LFS 2006-07 & 2015-16

ESS 2008

ESS 2006 and 2016 waves

Eurobarometer 2017

ESS 2008

 ..

ESS 2008

Gallup, 2008-15

Slovak Republic

EU-LFS 2006-07 & 2017

ESS 2008-12, 2004-08 & 2010-12

ESS 2006 and 2016 waves

Eurobarometer 2017

ESS 2008-12 (F5.9) ESS 2004-10 (F5.10)

 ..

ESS 2008-12, 2004-08 & 2010-12

Gallup, 2008-15

Slovenia

EU-LFS 2006-07 & 2015-16

ESS 2008-16, 2002-08 & 2010-16

ESS 2006 and 2016 waves

Eurobarometer 2017

ESS 2008-16 (F5.9) ESS 2004-10 (F5.10)

ESS 2014 round

ESS 2008-16, 2002-08 & 2010-16

Gallup, 2008-15

Spain

EU-LFS 2006-07 & 2017

ESS 2008-14, 2002-08 & 2010-14

ESS 2006 and 2016 waves

Eurobarometer 2017

ESS 2008-14 (F5.9) ESS 2004-10 (F5.10)

ESS 2014 round

ESS 2008-14, 2002-08 & 2010-14

Gallup, 2008-15 and SILC 2013

Sweden

EU-LFS 2006-07 & 2017

ESS 2008-16, 2002-08 & 2010-16 EU-MIDIS II 2016

ESS 2006 and 2016 waves

Eurobarometer 2017

ESS 2008-16 (F5.9) ESS 2004-10 (F5.10)

ESS 2014 round

ESS 2008-16, 2002-08 & 2010-16 EU-MIDIS II 2016

Gallup, 2008-15 and SILC 2013

Switzerland

EU-LFS 2006-07 & 2017

ESS 2008-16, 2002-08 & 2010-16

ESS 2006 and 2016 waves

 ..

ESS 2008-16 (F5.9) ESS 2004-10 (F5.10)

ESS 2014 round

ESS 2008-16, 2002-08 & 2010-16

Gallup, 2008-15 and SILC 2013

Turkey

..

ESS 2004+2008

ESS 2006 and 2016 waves

 ..

ESS 2004+2008 (F5.10)

 

ESS 2004 & 2008

Gallup, 2008-15

United Kingdom

EU-LFS 2006-07 & 2017

ESS 2008-16, 2002-08 & 2010-16 EU-MIDIS II 2016

ESS 2006 and 2016 waves

Eurobarometer 2017

ESS 2008-16 (F5.9) ESS 2004-10 (F5.10)

ESS 2014 round

ESS 2008-16, 2002-08 & 2010-16 EU-MIDIS II 2016

Gallup, 2008-15 and SILC 2013

United States

ACS 2006 & 2016

CPS November Supplement, 2008 and 2016

USGSS 2014 

 ..

.. 

WVS, wave 6 (2014)

USGSS 2016 (with regard to work)

Gallup, 2008-15

Partner/G20 countries

Argentina

 ..

 ..

 ..

.. 

 ..

 ..

..

 ..

Brazil

 ..

 ..

 ..

 ..

 ..

 ..

..

 ..

Colombia

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

Costa Rica

 ..

 ..

 ..

 ..

 ..

 ..

..

Gallup, 2008-2015

Indonesia

 ..

 ..

 ..

 ..

 ..

 ..

..

 ..

Russia

 ..

ESS, various years

 ..

.. 

 ..

WVS, wave 6 (2014)

 ..

Gallup, 2008-15

Saudi Arabia

 ..

.. 

 ..

 ..

 ..

 ..

..

Gallup, 2008-15

South Africa

 ..

 ..

 ..

 ..

 ..

WVS, wave 6 (2014)

..

Gallup, 2008-15

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933843610

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