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Children of Immigrants. A Longitudinal Study in Four European Countries

Research on the integration of the second generation in Europe has revealed important differences between countries, ethnic groups, and domains of life. Thus far, however, research has failed to uncover the mechanisms generating these diverse and complex patterns.

Our project aims to fill this gap by tackling key unanswered questions in the fields of structural, social, and cultural integration. We start from the general assumption that it is the complex causal interplay between these dimensions which needs to be understood and disentangled in order to account for cross-group and cross-country differences in Europe. We derive hypotheses from the central theoretical approaches and test them empirically using the most appropriate advanced methods.

Answering these questions requires large-scale, strictly comparative, theory-guided, multilevel and longitudinal data – data that is not currently available in Europe. Building on the model of the prominent ‘Children of Immigrants Longitudinal Study’ (CILS) from the U.S., we plan to collect rich panel information on teenagers in four European countries: Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. We will interview children of immigrants and their majority peers at age 14 in 2010 (along with their mothers), and follow up the children over the next two years, thus covering a crucial, formative period of their lives.

All data will be made available to the international research community for public use. Furthermore we will endeavour to make this the start of an even more comprehensive comparative panel study: further waves, birth cohorts, and countries could and should be added in future stages. Thus in addition to our own substantive research contributions, we plan to build an enduring infrastructure for continuing research on intergenerational integration of immigrants in Europe.

Principal Investigator:
Professor Frank Kalter, University of Leipzig, Germany

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