Centre for Economic Demography

Lund University School of Economics and Management

Immigrant Integration

Immigrant integration has been a concern in Europe since the 1970s, both among decision-makers and social scientists. Since the 1970s, immigrants have faced increasing difficulties to economically integrate, with labour force participation rates today about 20 per cent lower than those of natives. Consequently, much social science research on integration has focused on various aspects of economic activities and the work life.

While economic integration is a highly important aspect of the immigrant experience, our research has taken a broader view on the integration process by also focusing on demographic and health outcomes. Demographic behaviour as well as health outcomes are crucial indicators of the integration of different population groups in a society and add insights into these processes beyond the economic context. They reflect the adaptation degree to host country norms and values, but also indicate the degree of contact and exchange between societal groups and the living standards of the groups in question.

At the same time economic, demographic and health integration processes are not separate entities but are often highly interrelated, making it even more relevant to study them together. For example, while demographic integration is at least partly conditioned by economic integration, it may also facilitate economic integration itself. From an individual perspective, the economic integration of an immigrant could be facilitated by host country human capital investments such as language skills, while it could be hindered by ethnic discrimination. Our research has considered both these aspects.