Moving Up or Falling Behind? Intergenerational Socioeconomic Transmission among Children of Immigrants in Norway

In this article, Are Skeie Hermansen studies the intergenerational transmission of educational attainment and adult earnings among immigrants in Norway. The results show substantial upward mobility among second-generation children compared to their parents.

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Using Norwegian registry data, I study the intergenerational transmission of educational attainment and adult earnings from immigrant parents to their second-generation children. Generational progress is documented by strongly reduced native-immigrant gaps in completed education and relative earnings position among the immigrant offspring compared to the gaps found in the parental generation. The level of intergenerational gains is highest within the ethnic minority groups characterized by the lowest parental statuses. The overall child-by-parent gradients in education and earnings are broadly similar among immigrants and natives, suggesting comparable rates of upward mobility among children of immigrants and children of natives with disadvantaged family background. Children of immigrants in several non-European ethnic minorities actually achieve higher educational attainment and earnings as adults when compared to their native counterparts with similar parental socio-economic status and neighbourhood of residence in adolescence. The role of neighbourhood segregation appears to be considerably less important in accounting for the native-immigrant socio-economic attainment gaps than observed parental characteristics. The results suggest substantial intergenerational convergence in socio-economic life chances between the children of immigrants and the children of the native-born in the egalitarian Norwegian welfare state setting.

Published June 13, 2016 9:56 AM - Last modified June 13, 2016 10:18 AM