Diversity of Legacy : The Experience of Immigrants and their Descendants in Sweden

Sammanfattning: This dissertation examines the integration of immigrants from an intergenerational and multidimensional perspective. During the post-World War Two period, Sweden has been characterized by a large and increasing degree of heterogeneity in terms of immigrant background and reason for migration. This diversity has led to considerable challenges in terms of integration. While the economic challenges of immigrants are well documented, much less is known about other aspects of integration. In particular, little is known about the extent to which an individual’s home country characteristics and experiences carry over into the long-term integration prospects of immigrants and their descendants. This thesis examines integration as an intergenerational process, and examines aspects such as residential choice, education, gender differences, and health. Specific focus is placed on understanding the varying extent to which country of origin differences persist.The thesis exploits longitudinal administrative data found in Swedish registers to link families across generations. Using this linkage, it is possible to move away from standard mono-generational studies of integration and identify mechanisms through which parental experiences and background manifest themselves in the outcomes of their descendants. This not only allows us to understand integration in the past, but it also allows us to make informed assumptions of how integration may evolve over time.General results of this thesis suggest that there is considerable heterogeneity in the extent to which immigrant background carries over into the integration process in the new country. In an examination of residential choice, it becomes clear that country of origin may not be an adequate unit of aggregation to understand residential clustering of migrants. For countries with high degrees of ethnic heterogeneity, nationality is not the salient characteristic. When examining educational outcomes, the migration histories of parents are important in determining the educational disadvantage of the children. Additionally, the gender norms in the home country also affect the degree to which daughters perform relative to their brothers - origin countries with high degrees of gender inequality seem to penalize girls’ educational achievement. Finally, the thesis identifies a puzzling development where some migrant groups display increasing birthweight disparities relative to the native population, with differences growing even in the third generation.In sum, this thesis points to the broad diversity of legacy in terms of immigrant integration over generations. These results underline the fact that no single aspect of integration is adequate to assess the overall integration process. The identification of these processes highlights a potential development towards persistent socioeconomic stratification based on immigrant background.