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The Integration Paradox: Empiric Evidence From the Netherlands


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The integration paradox refers to the phenomenon of the more highly educated and structurally integrated immigrants turning away from the host society, rather than becoming more oriented toward it. This article provides an overview of the empirical evidence documenting this paradox in the Netherlands. In addition, the theoretical arguments and the available findings about the social psychological processes involved in this paradox are considered. The existing evidence for the integration paradox and what might explain it form the basis for making suggestion for future theoretical work and empirical research, and for discussing possible policy implications.
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American Behavioral Scientist
2016, Vol. 60(5-6) 583 –596
© 2016 SAGE Publications
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DOI: 10.1177/0002764216632838
The Integration Paradox:
Empiric Evidence From the
Maykel Verkuyten
The integration paradox refers to the phenomenon of the more highly educated and
structurally integrated immigrants turning away from the host society, rather than
becoming more oriented toward it. This article provides an overview of the empirical
evidence documenting this paradox in the Netherlands. In addition, the theoretical
arguments and the available findings about the social psychological processes involved
in this paradox are considered. The existing evidence for the integration paradox and
what might explain it form the basis for making suggestion for future theoretical work
and empirical research, and for discussing possible policy implications.
education, integration, relative deprivation, national belonging
The so-called “immigrant paradox” has received considerable attention in the litera-
ture on immigrant integration. This paradox concerns the notion that first-generation
immigrants and less acculturated individuals are sometimes found to outperform sec-
ond generations and more acculturated individuals on a variety of adaptation out-
comes, such as academic achievement and health behaviors (see Garcia Coll et al.,
2012). While originally documented in research in the United States (e.g., Fuligni,
1998; Palacios, Guttmanova, & Chase-Lansdale, 2008), studies also have shown these
differences with respect to sociocultural adaptation outcomes in several European
countries that have experienced large-scale immigration in recent decades (Sam,
Vedder, Liebkind, Neto, & Virta, 2008; van Geel, & Vedder, 2011).
Another phenomenon regarding immigrant integration that has received much less
attention in the research literature is the integration paradox. This paradox describes
Utrecht University, Utrecht, the Netherlands
Corresponding Author:
Maykel Verkuyten, ERCOMER, Utrecht University, padualaan 2, Utrecht 3584 CS, the Netherlands.
632838ABSXXX10.1177/0002764216632838American Behavioral ScientistVerkuyten
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584 American Behavioral Scientist 60(5-6)
the situation of the economically more integrated and highly educated immigrants
turning psychologically away from the host society, instead of becoming more ori-
ented toward it (Buijs, Demant, & Hamdy, 2006; Entzinger & Dourleijn, 2008). Media
reports in Western Europe have suggested that policy makers should be concerned
about relatively highly educated immigrants becoming disenchanted and disengaged
from the host country. Education and structural integration would not always lead to a
stronger orientation on the host country but rather can have the opposite effect. The
current article provides an overview of the empirical research on the integration para-
dox conducted in the Netherlands. To my knowledge, there is no other country in
which this paradox has been investigated systematically.
Theoretically, the paradoxical nature of highly educated immigrants’ disengaging
from society is important and interesting. Classical immigration theories suggest that
structural integration (improving one’s educational and economic position) will be
conducive to other forms of integration, such as developing a sense of belonging and
a more positive attitude toward the host society (Alba & Nee, 2003; Esser, 2001;
Gordon, 1964). Yet education could also be an obstacle for developing positive atti-
tudes toward natives and the host society. A key reason for this might be that higher
educated immigrants feel relatively deprived.
Relative Deprivation
Relative deprivation concerns the perception that oneself or one’s group is at an unfair
disadvantage in comparison with others (Pettigrew et al., 2008; Smith, Pettigrew,
Pippin, & Bialosiewicz, 2012). Feelings of relative deprivation contain three aspects
(Smith et al., 2012). First, there must be comparisons made at the individual or group
level. Second, the comparison must lead to the perception that one is at a relative dis-
advantage with respect to other individuals or groups. Third, the perceived disadvan-
tage should be seen as being unfair. There are a number of reasons to expect that
feelings of relative deprivation are higher among immigrants who are more integrated
structurally, especially in relation to their level of education.
First, within the relative deprivation framework, it has been argued that the more
advantaged members of disadvantaged groups are most likely to engage in intergroup
comparisons (Taylor & Moghaddam, 1994). Thus, higher educated immigrants may
feel more deprived because they increasingly compare their situation and opportuni-
ties with majority members. Higher education has been found to increase immigrants’
contact opportunities and actual contacts with majority members (Kalmijn & van
Tubergen, 2006; Martinovic, 2013), which makes the majority a more relevant com-
parison group. In addition, in most Western countries, the level of unemployment is
much higher among immigrant-origin groups compared with majority members, inde-
pendently of the educational level. Furthermore, compared with similarly educated
majority members, immigrants tend to have lower level employment and more tempo-
rary jobs (Alba & Nee, 2003; Hall & Farkas, 2008; Kogan, 2006). Thus, higher edu-
cated immigrants may feel more deprived because the relevant comparison with
similarly educated majority members turns out unfavorably.
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Verkuyten 585
Second, the theory of rising expectations suggests that immigrants who pursue
higher education and try to attain a good position in society develop higher expecta-
tions. They, therefore, are more strongly disappointed about unequal opportunities and
treatment, whereby their higher expectations are not met with equal rewards (Entzinger
& Dourleijn, 2008). The higher educated tend to be more sensitive to acceptance and
rejection by the majority population. In contrast to the lower educated, they can more
confidently claim that a lack of opportunities and discrimination, rather than a lack of
efforts and skills, prevents them and members of their group from gaining economic
parity with natives.
Third, higher education implies higher cognitive sophistication which can mean
that the higher educated immigrants are more aware of, and have a better understand-
ing of, processes of discrimination and reduced opportunities in society (Kane &
Kyyro, 2001; Wodtke, 2012). Education enables immigrants to become more informed
social critics who can seek to challenge discrimination and advocate policies that
redress group disadvantages.
Education and Perceived Discrimination
The “integration paradox” implies that the higher educated feel relatively deprived and
as a result distance themselves psychologically from the host society (see Figure 1).
The first link in this process involves the relation between education and relative
deprivation (Path 1 in Figure 1). This link has mainly been examined in terms of per-
ceived discrimination, opportunities, and feelings of acceptance. For immigrants, per-
ceptions of discrimination and lack of opportunities in the host society combine the
different aspects of relative deprivation. When immigrants have the sense of being
discriminated against, they will feel that they have an unfair disadvantage relative to
members of the majority group, either personally or as a group. And when immigrants
have the sense that their group lacks opportunities to succeed economically and to
freely enjoy their social and cultural life, they compare their position with the oppor-
tunities that are open to other groups in society and the majority in particular. This
means that it can be expected that in particular experiences and perceptions of nonac-
ceptance and discrimination, despite one’s efforts and achievements, lead immigrants
to distance themselves from society. Thus, the more successful ones would be more
sensitive to ethnic acceptance and equality, which in turn would drive their reactions
to the host society.
In support of Figure 1 (Path 1), research has found a positive relation between level
of education and perceived discrimination among immigrants in, for example, North
America and New Zealand (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development
+ +
Educational attainment
relative deprivation host society disengagement
(1) (2)
Figure 1. The relations involved in the integration paradox.
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586 American Behavioral Scientist 60(5-6)
[OECD], 2012; Sigelman & Welch, 1991; Sizemore & Milner, 2004; Wodtke, 2012).
Research in the Netherlands has also provided empirical evidence that the higher edu-
cated tend to perceive more discrimination and lower societal acceptance. This has
been found in large samples of the four main immigrant-origin groups (Turks,
Moroccans, Surinamese, and Antilleans; Gijsberts & Vervoort, 2007; Tolsma, Lubbers,
& Gijsberts, 2012), four refugee groups (Muller, 2011), and a sample of smaller immi-
grant groups (Afghani, Iraqi, Irani, Somali, Polish, and Chinese; van Doorn, Scheepers,
& Dagevos, 2013). Thus, there is among a variety of groups clear empirical evidence
for the higher educated perceiving more discrimination and less societal acceptance of
The higher perception of discrimination among higher educated immigrants is not
only in the “eye of the beholder” but can be based on actual experiences. The theory
of exposure suggests that the higher educated are actually experiencing more dis-
crimination and lower acceptance in everyday life. The higher compared with the
lower educated more often use host country media and tend to have more negative
contacts with majority members on the labor market and in associations, and there-
fore are more exposed to discrimination and derogating messages. For example, in a
study among the four largest immigrant-origin groups in the Netherlands, it was
found that the higher educated are more interested in the often quite negative Dutch
political immigration and integration debate (van Heerden, de Lange, van der Burg,
& Fennema, 2014; Vasta, 2007) and therefore have a less positive attitude toward
Dutch society (Gijsberts & Vervoort, 2007). In another study among smaller immi-
grant groups, it was found that the link between educational attainment and discrimi-
nation can be explained by the higher educated participating more in associations,
being exposed more to Dutch politics in the media, and experiencing that their for-
eign education is not valued and that their job is below their educational level (van
Doorn et al., 2013).
Discrimination and Host Society Disengagement
As shown in Figure 1, the second link in the processes involved in the integration para-
dox concerns the association between relative deprivation and host society disengage-
ment. It has been shown that individuals who perceive more group relative deprivation
have more prejudiced attitudes toward out-groups (Pettigrew et al., 2008; Pettigrew &
Meertens, 1995), and less positive attitudes toward the social system, such as reduced
just-world beliefs, reduced confidence in political institutions, and higher support for
political protest (Corning, 2000; Klandermans, Roefs, & Olivier, 2001; Pettigrew
et al., 2008).
Among immigrant-origin groups, various studies have demonstrated that experi-
ences with discrimination and low public acceptance instigate processes of disen-
gagement. For example, the “rejection-identification model” argues that being a
target of discrimination leads individuals to identify more strongly with their ethnic
minority group and distance themselves from the majority (Branscombe, Schmitt, &
Harvey, 1999). Experimental and longitudinal evidence has shown that perceived
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threats can indeed increase minority group identification and lead to greater emo-
tional attachment to one’s minority group (e.g., Jetten, Branscombe, Schmitt, &
Spears, 2001). Furthermore, research among immigrant-origin groups shows that
increased perceptions of discrimination predicts increased ethnic group identifica-
tion. This has been found, for example, in three studies among Turkish Dutch people
(Verkuyten & Yildiz, 2007), in a longitudinal study among immigrants in Finland
(Jasinskaja-Lahti, Liebkind, & Solheim, 2009), and in a study among Latino students
in the United States (Cronin, Levin, Branscombe, van Laar, & Tropp, 2012).
Furthermore, this type of research has shown that higher perceived discrimination
also is associated with weaker identification with the host society (Jasinskaja-Lahti
et al., 2009). For example, in a large-scale research among the four main immigrant-
origin groups in the Netherlands, it was found that perceived discrimination was the
strongest negative predictor of host national identification (de Vroome, Verkuyten, &
Martinovic, 2014; see also Tolsma et al., 2012).
Yet low host national identification or little commitment to the host nation does not
have to indicate host society disengagement, whereby there is an adversarial stance in
which the host society is subjectively rejected. Low national identification implies that
aspects of the host society are not strongly connected to oneself but does not have to
consist of disconnecting these aspects from oneself (Kreiner & Ashforth, 2004).
Disidentification is not merely the opposite of identification. The former consists of
immigrant minorities reacting against the host society and developing a so-called reac-
tive or oppositional identity in which people actively separate their minority identity
from the culture and defining aspects of the dominant group (Ogbu, 1993; Portes &
Zhou, 1993). Furthermore, studies in organizational contexts have shown that disiden-
tification is a different psychological state than identification (e.g., Elsbach &
Bhattacharya, 2001; Kreiner & Ashforth, 2004). Hence, perceived social rejection and
devaluation might not only result in decreased identification with the host society but
also increased disidentification with the nation. In a survey study among Turkish
Dutch people and using factor analysis, we found that the participants made a clear
empirical distinction between the construct of Dutch identification (e.g., “I identify
with the Dutch,” “I feel connected to the Dutch”) and Dutch disidentification (e.g., “I
would never say ‘we Dutch’,” “I certainly do not want to see myself as Dutch”;
Verkuyten & Yildiz, 2007). Furthermore, a stronger Turkish identity was associated
with a weaker Dutch identification and independently also with a stronger disidentifi-
cation with the Dutch.
In a recent study among Turkish immigrants in Germany and the Netherlands, we
again found a clear empirical distinction between the two constructs of host society
identification and disidentification. Furthermore, higher perceived discrimination was
associated with stronger disidentification in Germany (N = 363, r = .19, p < .001) and
in the Netherlands (N = 425, r = .15, p = .003), while discrimination was also nega-
tively and independently associated with identification in Germany (r = −.16, p = .002;
Netherlands, r = −.06, p > .05). Thus, perceived discrimination is not only associated
with a lower sense of belonging to the host society but is also related to stronger psy-
chological disengagement from the host society (Path 2, Figure 1).
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Education, Discrimination, and Disengagement
The integration paradox implies a relation of mediation, whereby the higher educated
feel relatively deprived and as a result disengage psychologically from the host soci-
ety. Thus, there should be an indirect negative relation between education on the one
hand and favorable attitudes toward the host society and natives on the other, via indi-
cators of relative deprivation (Figure 1).
We investigated these associations in a study among the four main immigrant-
origin groups in the Netherlands (de Vroome, Martinovic, & Verkuyten, 2014). The
samples were randomly drawn from the population registry and we analyzed the data
of 3,981 first- and second-generation participants. We examined feelings of relative
deprivation, in terms of the perception of discrimination and subgroup respect.
Discrimination implies unfair treatment and such treatment tells immigrants that they
are not equal members of society. Subgroup respect refers to immigrants’ sense of
whether the majority population recognizes and values their minority group and immi-
grants more generally (Huo & Molina, 2006). Thus, we focused on perceived negative
reactions (discrimination) and perceived positive reactions (respect) toward immi-
grants as two indicators of relative deprivation. Furthermore, we also tested whether
education in the host country and in the country of origin are differently related to
perceived discrimination and respect. According to the integration paradox, immi-
grants perceive that they themselves or members of their group get lower returns for
exactly the same educational investments in the host society. The native population is
a relevant comparison group for immigrants who are educated in the host society
(Zagefka & Brown, 2005) and probably less so for those who were educated in their
country of origin.
In the analysis, we first tested the measurement models, and confirmatory factor
analyses indicated that perceived discrimination and subgroup respect were two sepa-
rate latent constructs. In addition, tests of cross-group measurement equivalence indi-
cated that the two latent constructs were sufficiently comparable across the four
immigrant-origin groups and the two generations. So the hypothesized relations could
be validly compared across groups and generations (see de Vroome, Martinovic, et al.,
2014, for details).
In the second step, we tested the structural model with the expected relations and
investigated the robustness of the model across immigrant groups and generations. In
doing so, we controlled statistically for age, years since migration, gender, and occu-
pational status. The findings supported the indirect relationships proposed in the medi-
ation model (for details, see de Vroome, Martinovic, et al., 2014). Higher education
was positively related to perceived discrimination, and perceived discrimination, in
turn, was negatively related to favorable attitudes toward the host society (“level of
satisfaction with Dutch society”) as well as the native population (“general feeling”).
In addition, higher education was negatively related to perceived respect which, in
turn, was positively related to favorable attitudes toward the host society and the native
population. The proposed mediation model was found to be similar for the two genera-
tions and found support among all four immigrant-origin groups. Furthermore,
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additional analyses (“curve estimation”) did not show significant quadratic or other
linear effects for education on the attitude toward the host society and native popula-
tion. Thus, there was no evidence that, for example, the lowest and highest educated
are more negative toward the Dutch than those with a moderate level of education.
Importantly, the findings further showed that higher education was associated with
lower perceived respect among immigrants who were educated in the Netherlands,
and not among those educated in the country of origin. Thus, the level of host country
education rather than origin country education was associated with a perceived lack of
respect. Origin and host country education were similarly related to perceived dis-
crimination. However, compared with perceived lack of respect, discrimination was,
in turn, less strongly associated with favorable attitude toward the host society. Thus,
the integration paradox seems most applicable to immigrants who have invested in
host country education. The education of majority members is probably a less relevant
standard of comparison for immigrants who are educated in the country of origin.
Education, Discrimination, and Positive Social Contacts
Higher education has been found to increase immigrants’ contact opportunities and
actual positive contacts with majority members (Kalmijn & van Tubergen, 2006;
Martinovic, 2013) which might lead to developing a more positive attitude toward the
host society and majority group members (Pettigrew & Tropp, 2006). The integration
paradox, however, implies that higher educated immigrants will have more negative
attitudes toward the host society and the majority population. This might mean that
there are two pathways. On the one hand, higher educated immigrants have more fre-
quent positive contacts with the majority population than lower educated immigrants,
and more contact is associated with a more favorable attitude toward the majority
population. On the other hand, higher educated immigrants will feel less accepted in
the country and perceive more discrimination (negative contact) than lower educated
immigrants, resulting in a less favorable attitude toward the majority population.
We examined these two pathways in another study among different large samples
(N = 4,199) of the same four immigrant-origin groups in the Netherlands (ten Teije,
Coenders, & Verkuyten, 2013). Thus, we tried to replicate the findings of the previous
study by using a different attitude measure (extent to which participants considered the
native Dutch as honest, polite, helpful, hospitable, neat, tolerant, and friendly;
Cronbach’s alpha = .76) and by taking positive social contacts into account. For these
samples, there was only information available about education in the Netherlands and
not in the country of origin. Participants were again randomly selected from registers
of various municipalities. As indicators of relative deprivation, we focused on per-
ceived acceptance and perceived discrimination, against oneself as a minority member
(personal discrimination) and against one’s group in general (group discrimination).
In a first step of the analysis, we confirmed (confirmatory factor analysis) the
empirical distinction between these constructs, established measurement equiva-
lence across the four immigrant groups, and found no significant quadratic or other
nonlinear effects of education on the attitude toward the native Dutch. In the second
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590 American Behavioral Scientist 60(5-6)
step, we tested the proposed structural model that is shown in Figure 2. We con-
trolled statistically for age, years since migration, generation, gender, occupational
status, and Dutch language proficiency. The findings supported the indirect relation-
ships proposed in the mediation model (Figure 2; for details, see ten Teije et al.,
2013). For the first pathway, the findings demonstrated that higher educated migrants
indeed had more contacts with the native Dutch and that contact was associated with
more positive attitude toward the native Dutch. More important, there was also
empirical evidence for the second pathway. Higher educated immigrants perceived
lower acceptance of ethnic minority groups in Dutch society and more group dis-
crimination than lower educated migrants. These perceptions were related to less
positive attitudes.
In addition, the unfair treatment of co-ethnics (group discrimination), rather than
personal experiences with discrimination, was found to be important for the attitude
toward the Dutch. This supports the idea that the more advantaged members of disad-
vantaged groups tend to engage in group comparisons and develop more negative
attitudes toward the advantaged group (Taylor & Moghaddam, 1994). Higher educa-
tion might increase one’s awareness of and concerns about the vulnerable and rela-
tively marginal position of immigrants in society. In addition, when they perceive and
experience ethnic discrimination, higher status minority members might be more
assertive (Baumgartner, 1998). Although we did not explicitly test these interpreta-
tions, we did find that the higher educated perceived more group discrimination than
the lower educated, whereas there was no difference for personal discrimination. In
turn, and independently of personal discrimination, higher perceived nonacceptance of
migrant groups and of group discrimination were associated with a less favorable atti-
tude toward the native Dutch. The proposed mediation model was found to be quite
similar for the four immigrant-origin groups with most of the relations being compa-
rable in direction and also in size.
Figure 2. Path diagram with standardized direct and indirect effects of education on
immigrants’ attitude toward the native Dutch.
Note. Circles indicate latent variables and squares manifest variables.
**p < .01. ***p < .001.
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Future Directions
The “integration paradox” indicates that the more highly educated immigrants will
show relatively high levels of dissatisfaction with the host society and more negative
attitudes toward the native majority. Although research in the Netherlands has made
clear progress in documenting and understanding the integration paradox, many
important questions remain. A first question is whether the processes involved in the
integration paradox are limited to host society attitudes and immigrants’ feelings of
belonging. There are reasons to expect that this is not the case and that it also involves,
for example, behavior. A study showed that Moroccan Dutch youngsters who are on
custody awaiting trial are much better integrated in Dutch society than their Moroccan
Dutch noncriminal peers (Stevens, Veen, & Vollebergh, 2009). Relative to the latter,
the former group more often speaks the Dutch language fluently, has more contacts
with Dutch people, and self-identify more often as Dutch. Their relatively strong ori-
entation on Dutch society makes them extra sensitive to inequalities and negative ste-
reotypes. This increases the likelihood of feelings of relative deprivation with the
associated negative emotions of anger, resentment, and frustration that can lead to
crime (Agnew, 2001; Smith et al., 2012). Similarly, several studies in the United States
have found relative high levels of delinquency among ethnic minority youth who have
a strong orientation on American society (Samaniego & Gonzales, 1999; Vega, Gil,
Warheit, Zimmerman, & Apospori, 1993).
A second question relates to the underlying processes. There can be various rea-
sons for why immigrants’ higher structural integration is associated with weaker feel-
ings of identification and belonging in the host society. I focused on one important
reason and that is that immigrants who have achieved higher levels of education also
develop higher expectations and therefore are more susceptible to feelings of relative
deprivation. However, the research discussed did not directly examine these feelings
but used perceptions of discrimination, acceptance, and subgroup respect as indica-
tors. This means that the role of feelings of relative deprivation should be examined
more fully and systematically. Feelings of relative deprivation depend on the indi-
vidual and group comparisons that people make and typically involve anger and
resentment (Smith et al., 2012). This means that future studies could examine justice-
related feelings and emotions directly and examine whether these more fully explain
the association between education and host society disengagement.
A third issue is that the research discussed relied on cross-sectional data and there-
fore we do not know the causal directions of the proposed relations. The path model
(Figure 1) was theoretically derived and other research has shown, for example, that
perceived discrimination drives immigrants’ attitudes toward the host society
(Jasinskaja-Lahti et al., 2009), but different and mutual directions of influence are pos-
sible. Longitudinal panel data are needed for examining the integration paradox more
fully. These kind of data are increasingly collected in North America and many
European countries and it might be possible to investigate the over-time associations
involved in the integration paradox by using existing panel data, or to incorporate
some measures in new data collections.
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The research discussed is from a single country in Western Europe. Therefore, we
do not know the generalizability of the findings to other countries. Although there is
some qualitative evidence for similar processes in small-scale studies among minority
groups in the U.S. context (e.g., Baumgartner, 1998; Ogbu, 1993), there might be
country differences that moderate the associations found. For example, large-scale
research has shown that in the Netherlands, Canada, and New Zealand, discrimination
is more often reported by the highly educated immigrants compared with the low edu-
cated, while in other European countries, the low educated report more discrimination
(OECD, 2012). The reasons for these differences are not clear but might have to do
with the fact that European countries do not consider themselves as immigration soci-
eties such as Canada, the United States, and New Zealand. Yet this cannot explain why
there is evidence for the integration paradox in the Netherlands but less so in other
European countries (see Schneider, 2013).
Not only country characteristics are important to investigate in future studies on the
integration paradox but also differences between and within immigrant-origin groups.
In the Netherlands, evidence for the processes behind the paradox was found among
quite different groups, including relatively large groups that have a history of migrant
labor, ex-colonial groups, and more recent and smaller groups that migrated for various
reasons. This indicates that the phenomenon is quite robust and not specific for one
particular group. Yet there might be meaningful differences between immigrant-origin
groups within other countries that have an impact on the integration paradox. For exam-
ple, it might be the case that feelings of entitlements and relative deprivation are stron-
ger among immigrant-origin groups that have a long historical relationship with the
country of settlement, such as Pakistani and Bangladeshi in the United Kingdom.
Additionally, the economic and cultural (mis)match between the host country and coun-
try of origin might be important for how immigrants perceive their situation, feel about
the reactions of the majority population, and emphasize the importance of education.
There are important differences within each particular immigrant-origin group. The
fact that people originate from the same country tell us something, but not a whole lot.
Although we found no generational differences in the integration paradox processes, there
are other demographic differences that might be important, such as gender, age, length of
residence, and region (city, village) of origin and settlement. There also are important dif-
ferences in the immediate social context (neighborhood, community organizations,
schools) and the family context in which immigrants from a particular country of origin
are embedded. And there are differences in political orientations, ideological beliefs, and
religiosity that can be relevant for how immigrants perceive and evaluate their situation
and the opportunities and barriers in the host society. Future research could examine
whether and how these kinds of differences within an immigrant-origin group are relevant
for understanding the processes and conditions involved in the integration paradox.
In addition to the “immigrant paradox” (Garcia Coll et al., 2012), the integration para-
dox presents another surprising and troublesome phenomenon. This paradox relates to
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what happens when immigrants and their children advance their educational and socio-
economic position. Classical immigration theories as well as policy makers and politi-
cians typically argue that education is the road to other forms of integration, including
a sense of belonging and a positive attitude toward the host society. There are many
important reasons for being concerned about educational arrears or underachievement
of immigrants and for putting every effort in trying to improve their educational out-
comes. Yet educational investments without paying close attention to processes of dis-
crimination and feelings of relative deprivation can lead to a distancing or disengagement
from society. Integration policies that focus on structural integration will not necessar-
ily be successful in developing a sense of belonging and a positive attitude toward a
host society. Questions of relative deprivation, and of ethnic discrimination and sub-
group respect in particular, also need to be addressed. Higher education and structural
integration more generally make immigrants more aware of discrimination in society
and more sophisticated social critics. There is a serious problem regarding the per-
ceived (equality of) opportunities in society for those immigrants who meet the educa-
tional requirements and make a strong effort to integrate, but find that key positions in
society are not open to them. Not really being accepted or being treated as a second-
class citizens despite one’s educational investments and efforts undermines the devel-
opment of a sense of belonging to the country of settlement and a positive attitude
toward the dominant majority. The lack of feelings of belonging can put a strain on the
cohesion of society because such feelings are generally considered a prerequisite for
national solidarity, a unified society, and effective democracy. Conditions that hamper
immigrants’ orientation to the host society should therefore be addressed and research
on the integration paradox can make a contribution for doing so.
Declaration of Conflicting Interests
The author(s) declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship,
and/or publication of this article.
The author(s) received no financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of
this article.
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Author Biography
Maykel Verkuyten is a professor in Interdisciplinary Social Science at the Faculty of Social
and Behavioral Sciences, Utrecht University, the Netherlands. He is also the academic director
of the European Research Centre on Migration and Ethnic relations at Utrecht University. He
has published widely on questions related to ethnic identity and cultural diversity.
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... Diğer yandan Iraklıların eğitim düzeyi ile geriye dönüş ya da Batıya göç etme niyetleri arasındaki ilişki çalışmanın geride kalan kavramsal ve kuramsal çerçevesiyle paralellik göstermektedir. Özellikle Verkuyten (2016)'in Hollanda'da entegrasyon paradoksu konusunda yapmış olduğu çalışmada, eğitim düzeyi arttıkça, yüksek eğitimlilerin kendilerini görece yoksun hissetmeye başladıklarını ve bunun bir sonucu olarak da kendilerini ev sahibi toplumdan psikolojik olarak uzaklaştırdıklarını belirlemiştir. ...
... Eğitim seviyesi arttıkça Iraklıların geri dönme ve Batıya göç etme niyetleri artarken, Suriyelilerin eğitim seviyesi arttıkça geri dönme ve Batıya göç etme niyetleri azalmaktadır. Bu sonuçlar entegrasyon paradoksunun (Verkuyten, 2016) Iraklılar için geçerli olup, Suriyeliler için geçerli olmadığını göstermektedir. Suriyeliler için geçerli olmama nedeni Suriye'deki tehlikelerin halen çok yüksek seviyede olmasının yarattığı itici faktörlerden kaynaklı olduğu düşünülmektedir. ...
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Göçmenler ev sahibi ülkelerden politik, ekonomik ve toplumsal koşulları ileri sürerek kalmayı, anayurtlarına geri dönmeyi ya da gelişmiş batı ülkelerine gitmeyi düşünebilirler. Bu düşüncelerin gerçekleşmesinde anavatanda algılanan tehlike, eğitim seviyesi, yaş, cinsiyet, medeni durum, ev sahibi ülkedeki hukuksal statüler gibi birçok etken kaynaklık edebilir. Bu çalışmada, Türkiye'de bulunan Suriyeli ve Iraklı göçmenlerin anavatanlarına veya gelişmiş batı ülkelerine göç etme niyetleri entegrasyon paradoksu çerçevesinde araştırılmıştır. Elde edilen bulgulara göre, anavatanda algılanan tehlikenin Suriyeli ve Iraklı her iki göçmen grubun geriye göç niyetlerinin azalmasıyla ilişkili olduğunu; yaş, cinsiyet, medeni durum, eğitim seviyesi, Türkçe öğrenme düzeyi, defin yeri tercihi, gelir düzeyi, Türkiye'de kalınan sürenin, ev sahibi ülkedeki vatandaşlık, statü, kalış şekli gibi yasal süreçler ile anayurtta ve yaşanan ülkede sahip olunan mülk değişkenlerinin her iki göçmen grup için geri dönme ya da gelişmiş batı ülkelerine göç etme niyetleri arasında ise farklı ilişkilere sahip olduğu entegrasyon sürecine bağlı olarak tekrar göç niyetlerinin değiştiği saptanmıştır. Sonuçlar entegrasyon paradoksunun Iraklılar için geçerli olurken Suriyeliler için geçerli olmadığını göstermektedir. Suriyeliler, Iraklılar, Abstract Keywords Immigrants may consider staying, returning to their homeland, or moving to developed Western countries due to political, economic, and social conditions in the host countries. Many factors such as the perceived danger in the homeland, education level, age, gender, marital status, and legal status in the host country can be the source of these intentionsIn this study, the intentions of Syrian and Iraqi immigrants in Turkey to return to their homeland or move to developed Western countries were investigated from the integration paradox framework. According to the findings, perceived danger in the homeland is associated with a decrease in the intention to return migration of both Syrian and Iraqi immigrant groups; age, gender, marital status, education level, Turkish language learning level, burial place preference, income level, length of stay in Turkey, legal processes in the host country such as citizenship, status, type of stay, and property owned in the home country and the country of residence have different relationships between the intention to return or migrate to developed Western countries for both immigrant groups, and the intention to remigrate changes depending on the integration process. The results show that the integration paradox is valid for Iraqis but not Syrians.
... Participants in inter-group comparisons are likelier to be the more advantaged members within the disadvantaged immigrant community, such as better-educated immigrants. Thus, they are more aware of discrimination and non-acceptance and feel more deprived (Taylor & Moghaddam, 1994;Verkuyten, 2016). Relevant evidence has been found in the Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand, and Germany (Steinmann, 2019;Verkuyten, 2016). ...
... Thus, they are more aware of discrimination and non-acceptance and feel more deprived (Taylor & Moghaddam, 1994;Verkuyten, 2016). Relevant evidence has been found in the Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand, and Germany (Steinmann, 2019;Verkuyten, 2016). Chinese internal migrants with advanced socioeconomic positions in their host city may have high expectations of equality and kindness from local-hukou residents and feel enormously disappointed if their high expectations are unmet. ...
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In the international context, considerable attention has been paid to majorities’ attitudes towards immigrants, emphasising the critical role such social context plays in shaping the lives and well-being of immigrants. However, these research perspectives have been particularly neglected in studies on domestic migrants, even though internal migrants in developing countries like India and China encounter severe discrimination in their destinations. Specifically, the effect of natives’ attitudes on out-groups’ migration/settlement has been underexamined. Based on the China Migrants Dynamic Survey, this article tackles the two research gaps. It studies how local-hukou residents’ hostility and acceptance of migrants affect the intention of permanent settlement among rural-to-urban migrants. Moreover, it tests how the effect of attitudes varies within different contexts and among various groups of rural-to-urban migrants. Last, the study reveals that place attachment and place identity are pathways through which the acceptance from local-hukou residents affect the settlement intentions of rural-to-urban migrants. The study adds knowledge to the effects of inter-group relationships on the settlement decisions of migrants in the Chinese context, emphasising the distinctive roles of hostility and acceptance in shaping the plans to settle in destination cities among rural-to-urban migrants.
... This reaction could potentially incite immigrants to distance themselves from the majority culture and intensify their engagement with their heritage culture (Jasinskaja-Lahti et al., 2009;Kunst & Sam, 2013b). The concept of the "integration paradox" posits that this propensity may be particularly pronounced among highly educated individuals, who may be more perceptive of discriminatory practices and ideologies (de Vroome et al., 2014;Verkuyten, 2016). This underscores the significance of individual-level factors. ...
... Some firstgeneration immigrant parents, particularly those from low-status groups, may foster cultural assimilation in their children in the hope to bolster their social and cultural capital (Kempny-Mazur, 2017). However, it is crucial to note that the children of these parents sometimes exhibit less assimilation than their parents (Birman & Trickett, 2001;Verkuyten, 2016). For effective vertical transmission of an orientation towards the majority-group culture and away from the heritage culture, it is likely that these must coincide with horizontal processes. ...
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Psychological research has only recently begun to consider the dynamics involved in the acculturation of majority groups. Recognizing heterogeneity among immigrant groups, the present work investigates the influence of perceived characteristics of these groups on majority-group members’ adoption of immigrant cultures. In three pre-registered studies–one correlational (N = 201) and two experimental (Ns = 144 and 146)–with within-subjects designs and close to politically representative samples from the U.K. and U.S., we show that majority-group members are more willing to adopt the culture of immigrants that are perceived as warm, competent, and moral because this makes these immigrants seem indispensable to the identity and economy of the mainstream society. Our studies highlight the importance of considering the differentiated acculturation that majority-group members have to various immigrant groups within the same national context. We delve into the societal and cultural repercussions arising from this selective uptake of other cultures.
... Het is een ontwikkeling die doet denken aan wat in de literatuur de integratieparadox wordt genoemd (bv. Geurts, 2022;Verkuyten, 2016): met de toename van de verblijfsduur en een verbeterende sociaaleconomische positie neemt het onbehagen over de Nederlandse samenleving toe. Het lijkt erop dat de Syrische Nederlanders zich hier voorzichtig naar toe bewegen. ...
... Without randomization, addressing challenges to causal inference is problematic. For example, highly integrated immigrants may perceive higher levels of discrimination, as they are often socialized to expect fair treatment and can recognize even subtle forms of discrimination due to higher levels of language and cultural integration (Lajevardi et al. 2020;Verkuyten 2016). Although we have employed measures of integration, this does not necessarily address the potential for reverse causality. ...
... Tässä tutkimuksessa Suomessa syntyneet somalialaistaustaiset arvioivat oman kieliryhmänsä edustajien kohtaaman stereotyyppisen suhtautumisen ja työmarkkinasyrjinnän tismalleen yhtä yleiseksi kuin Somaliassa syntyneet somalialaistaustaisetkin. Syynä tähän huolestuttavaan tulokseen, joka on ilmennyt myös aiemmissa tutkimuksissa, saattaa olla niin kutsuttu integraatioparadoksi (Verkuyten 2016): vaikka suomalainen koulutus takaa Suomessa syntyneille ulkomaalaistaustaisille helpomman etenemisen maan työmarkkinoilla, ovat he kuitenkin samalla myös vanhempiaan paremmin perillä yhteiskunnassa piilevistä syrjivistä rakenteista, kuten somalialaistaustaisten eriarvoisesta asemasta suhteessa kantaväestön edustajiin mitä tulee esimerkiksi työnhakutilanteisiin (ks. esim. ...
Technical Report
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Tutkimus tarkastelee pääkaupunkiseudun ulkomaalaistaustaisen väestön kokemusta kuulumisesta osaksi suomalaista yhteiskuntaa ja sen kansaa, eli kansallista samastumista. Tutkimuksessa kartoitetaan sitä, kuinka erilaiset yksilölliset ja yhteiskunnan vastaanottavuudesta kumpuavat tekijät ovat yhteydessä kansalliseen samastumiseen. Lisäksi tutkimus sisältää uutta tietoa kansallisen samastumisen yhteydestä osallistujien luottamukseen uuden kotimaansa instituutioita ja edustajia kohtaan. Osallistujat edustivat pääkaupunkiseudun suurimpia ulkomaalaistaustaisten ryhmiä: Virossa, Venäjällä ja entisessä Neuvostoliitossa, Somaliassa, Irakissa ja englanninkielisissä maissa syntyneitä. Myös Suomessa syntyneitä somalialaistaustaisia nuoria tarkasteltiin mahdollisuuksien mukaan omana ryhmänään.
... Moreover, one cannot ignore other findings suggesting that higher educational levels could be accompanied by high levels of PD (Portes 1984;Finch et al. 2000;Pérez et al. 2008;André and Dronkers 2017). To explain this paradox, Verkuyten (2016) suggested that higher education develops higher expectations and paves the way to feelings of relative deprivation. The link between PD and education and income, therefore, needs further investigation. ...
Full-text available
This article intended to compare the discrimination perceived, respectively, by Muslim and non-Muslim immigrants in Europe, and investigate its determinants. Data covered six European Social Surveys and fourteen countries. The study found that the perception of being discriminated against is much more widespread among Muslim immigrants. The paper also found vast demo-socioeconomic heterogeneities between Muslim and non-Muslim immigrants. Consequently, the hypothesis was advanced that those heterogeneities were responsible for the discrimination differential between the two groups. In order to test this hypothesis, the present study used a statistical decomposition model rather than the procedures usually employed to analyse perceived discrimination. It emerged that demo-socioeconomic dissimilarities (in age, education, unemployment, income etc.) between Muslim and non-Muslim immigrants do not explain their gap in perceived discrimination. Nor is the gap eliminated by controlling for the host country’s features, economic conditions and native hostility included. Instead, it emerged that identical individual traits—such as second generation, age, and income—are accompanied by opposite outcomes of perceived discrimination in the two groups. These divergent outcomes, in turn, are associated with deep-rooted characteristics of the immigrants’ cultural identity. These findings suggest that these characteristics can be more impactful than the immigrants’ socioeconomic status and the host country’s features and that, ultimately, immigrants’ shared in-group values play a more prominent role in the discrimination perceived by ethnic-religious groups than usually assumed by current literature.
In der Konflikt- und Gewaltforschung ist die Frage aufgeworfen worden, ob und wenn ja, in welchem Maße auf klassische Erklärungsansätze und -ansprüche verzichtet werden muss, wenn Konflikt und Gewalt als emergente Phänomene aufgefasst werden. Die Autoren nehmen diese Frage auf, um die Wechselwirkung von Casing (›Zuschneiden‹ des Forschungsgegenstandes) und Causing (Erklären des Gegenstandes) in der Konflikt- und Gewaltforschung neu zu überdenken. Sie rekurrieren dabei auf Hans Blumenbergs Metaphorologie. Ihr entnehmen sie die Erkenntnis, dass wissenschaftliche Erklärungen auf lebensweltlichen Kausalitätsvorstellungen basieren, welche durch absolute Metaphern in die Wissenschaft hineingetragen worden sind. Die Autoren zeigen, dass die Suggestionskraft herkömmlicher Metaphern nicht ausreicht, um die Konflikt- und Gewaltforschung auch angesichts der zunehmenden Diversität potenziell relevanter Erklärungsfaktoren voranzubringen. Daraufhin wagen sie das Experiment, eine neue absolute Metapher und damit auch neue Kausalitätsvorstellungen ins Spiel zu bringen – die »Freakwelle«. Sie nutzen diese Metapher, um eine ihrem Forschungsfeld angemessene Erklärungsform auszuprobieren, die den Horizont wissenschaftlicher Möglichkeiten nicht durch axiomatische Vorentscheidungen einengt.
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Background Studies have shown that, compared with the general native population, immigrants display weaker or absent income gradients in mortality. The aim of this study is to examine the extent to which the income gradient is modified by immigrants’ duration of residence in Sweden. Methods Swedish register data from 2004 to 2016 were used to study the association between individual income and all-cause mortality among foreign-born and Swedish-born individuals at ages 25–64 years. Based on relative indices of inequality (RIIs) and slope indices of inequality (SIIs) derived from Poisson regressions, we measured relative and absolute mortality differentials between the least and most advantaged income ranks. The analyses were stratified by sex, immigrants’ European or non-European origin, and immigrants’ duration of residence in Sweden. Results The relative income inequality in mortality among immigrant men was less than half (RII: 2.32; 95% CI: 2.15 to 2.50) than that of Swedish-born men (RII: 6.25; 95% CI: 6.06 to 6.44). The corresponding RII among immigrant women was 1.23 (95% CI: 1.13 to 1.34) compared with an RII of 2.75 (95% CI: 2.65 to 2.86) among Swedish-born women. Inequalities in mortality were lowest among immigrants who resided for less than 10 years in Sweden, and most pronounced among immigrants who resided for more than 20 years in the country. Corresponding analyses of absolute income inequalities in mortality based on the SII were largely consistent with the observed relative inequalities in mortality. Conclusions Income inequalities in mortality among immigrants differ by duration of residence in Sweden, suggesting that health inequalities develop in the receiving context.
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This is a review of the Sigelman Welch book on Black Americans' Views of Racial Inequality published by Cambridge in 1991. The review is by Wade Smith. This is not an article.
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This study, conducted in The Netherlands, examines the “paradox of integration” proposition by focusing on the relationship between educational attainment and immigrants’ attitude toward the native population. We found that educational level is related to this attitude in two opposite ways. On the one hand, better educated immigrants had more voluntary contact with the native population, and more contact was associated with a more positive attitude, partly because of higher perceived acceptance and lower perceived discrimination. On the other hand and independently of contact, better educated immigrants had a less positive attitude toward the native population because of lower perceived acceptance and higher perceived group discrimination. The latter findings support the paradox of integration proposition. The pattern of results was quite similar for four different immigrant groups. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved)
Research has shown that more acculturated Latino adolescents are at increased risk for delinquent behavior relative to their less acculturated counterparts. The present study examined the mediating effects of seven variables hypothesized to account for the empirical link between acculturation status and delinquent activity for a sample of Mexican American adolescents. Mediational analyses provided support for four of the putative mediators which included family conflict, maternal monitoring, inconsistent discipline, and negative peer hassles. Examined together, these variables totally mediated the effect of acculturation status on delinquent behavior. In addition, family conflict and maternal monitoring uniquely accounted for a significant proportion of the mediated variance above that explained by the other variables in the model. Adolescent's cultural identity, perceived discrimination, and maternal acceptance were not supported as mediators.
Post-1965 immigration to the United States has given rise to a vigorous literature focused on adult newcomers. There is, however, a growing new second generation whose prospects of adaptation cannot be gleaned from the experience of their parents or from that of children of European immigrants arriving at the turn of the century. We present data on the contemporary second generation and review the challenges that it confronts in seeking adaptation to American society. The concept of segmented assimilation is introduced to describe the diverse possible outcomes of this process of adaptation. The concept of modes of incorporation is used for developing a typology of vulnerability and resources affecting such outcomes. Empirical case studies illustrate the theory and highlight consequences of the different contextual situations facing today's second generation.
Conference Paper
The processes involved in well-being maintenance among African Americans who differed in their attributions to prejudice were examined. A rejection-identification model was proposed where stable attributions to prejudice represent rejection by the dominant group. This results in a direct and negative effect on well-being. The model also predicts a positive effect on well-being that is mediated by minority group identification. In other words, the generally negative consequences of perceiving oneself as a victim of racial prejudice can be somewhat alleviated by identification with the minority group. Structural equation analyses provided support for the model and ruled out alternative theoretical possibilities. Perceiving prejudice as pervasive produces effects on well-being that are fundamentally different from those that may arise from an unstable attribution to prejudice for a single negative outcome.
The set of studies presented here describes a theoretically based method of assessing perceived social inequity and illustrates the approach through the development of an instrument assessing this experience in women's lives. The Perceived Social Inequity Scale-Women's Form (PSIS-W) is grounded in relative deprivation theory (Davis, 1959), which states that discontent results from recognition of an unfair discrepancy between one's own situation and that of others. The psychometric quality of me 26-item PSIS-W is supported by consistent results across two factor analyses, strong temporal stability over 1- and 4-month intervals, and relationships found between it and a number of predicted variables. Implications for theory and research in the areas of social inequity, social stigma, and stereotype perception are discussed.
This paper reports findings from an ethnographic investigation into how immigrants to the contemporary United States manage grievances against people culturally different from themselves, including individuals from the majority population, other immigrants and members of American-born minority groups. Two principal patterns emerge: first, that a high degree of harmony can and does exist between immigrants and other people, but that it is a harmony based largely on mutual avoidance and self-segregation rather than intercultural solidarity and support, and second, that immigrants react differently to offenders from the majority population than to those who, like themselves come from culturally unconventional backgrounds. The reasons for these patterns are explored, and implications for the moral order of diverse communities are considered.
Previous studies among the four largest immigrant groups in the Netherlands suggest that higher-educated immigrants, who are more apt to integrate, actually experience more discrimination than lower-educated immigrants, which is referred to as the integration paradox. In this study, we first investigate whether this paradox also exists among smaller immigrant groups (i.e. Afghani, Iraqi, Irani, Somali, Polish and Chinese) in the Netherlands. Second, we aim to explain the educational effect on perceived personal discrimination. We derive hypotheses from a theory of exposure and a theory of rising expectations. Data are drawn from a large-scale survey (SING2009) and include close to 1,000 face-to-face interviews for each of the small ethnic minority groups. Our study supports the existence of an integration paradox for small immigrant groups in the Netherlands. Our results show that higher-educated immigrants perceive more personal discrimination, which can be attributed to their exposure to Dutch politics, their experience of relative deprivation regarding their work and education and their participation in associations.