Children of immigrants in France still victims of discrimination in hiring

Citizens from immigrant families living in France, even with high diplomas and higher education certificates than their parents, do not have the same employment opportunities according to their origins, reveals a recent study.

Based on the second “Trajectories and origins” survey (TeO2), the study drawn up by the National Institute for Demographic Studies (INED) and the National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies in France, shows that the curve of he improvement in higher education in France is noticeable among immigrant families.

It is even greater when only one parent is an immigrant or when the children come from a second generation of immigrants. It is noted, at the same time, that despite this improvement in the quality of diplomas and studies, this does not benefit the children of immigrants in the same way according to their region of origin, because of discrimination in hiring.

The authors of the study attempted to answer the question of whether children do better than their parents and ancestors when they come from immigrant families. To do this, they asked questions to 27,200 people aged 18 to 59 who live in ordinary housing in metropolitan France, with the aim of carrying out detailed analyzes of the main population groups who have direct or indirect effect of migration to metropolitan France.

In these immigrant families, “when we compare the highest diploma of the two parents to that of the children, we observe that the proportion of higher education graduates increases from 1 in 20 to almost a third” (33%) but this rate remains lower than other families, including those with an immigrant background, the publication indicates.

Thus, the results of the study show that the natives of France record a better proportion of graduates from one parent to one child with a rate of 43%, for the grandchildren of immigrants the percentage of improvement in diplomas rises to 43%, while children from mixed couples are at 41%.

“It is therefore enough that one of the parents was born in France for the level of diploma to catch up with that of the rest of the population”, observe the authors.

By region of origin, it appears that the proportion of children of immigrants with a better education than their parents is highest among families of southern European origin such as Spain, Portugal or Italy with an average of 80.2%, followed by the Maghreb countries with 69.8%, the countries of Asia with 67.7%, Turkey and the Middle East 66.7% and 52.3% of the countries of Africa outside North Africa.

The researchers note that the generation of children of immigrants “was educated at a time and in a society where higher education is more frequent”, which partly explains these differences between generations. “But the intergenerational progression and convergence with the descendants of natives vary significantly according to the origin of the families”, adds the same source.

In the case of families from the Maghreb and southern Europe, while the parents very rarely have a higher education diploma (less than 3%), more than a third of the children have one.

“This strong progression in one generation is not only explained by the weak diffusion of higher education in the countries of origin, but also by the strong mobilization of immigrant parents in favor of the academic success of their children”, affirm the editors.

“However, the level reached remains below that of the descendants of natives (43%), except for the children of mixed couples. In the third generation, the descendants of European migrations are at the same level as the descendants of natives”, which suggests that it takes two generations of integration to reach the same level as children from native couples.

Despite everything, the study reveals “a lower return on the diploma on the labor market for the descendants of non-European immigrants”.

Over the generations, the descendants of immigrants therefore tend to approach the levels of education of the descendants of natives. But the proportion of higher education graduates who enter intermediate or higher professions is 77% for descendants of natives and 75% for grandchildren of European immigrants, while those born to one or two parents of of non-European origin are far fewer in accessing intermediate or higher professions.

The study notes in its conclusions that they are 63% to access it for those from the Maghreb, 67% for those from Asia and 71% for those from the rest of Africa. “Part of the explanation for these differences according to origin is due to regularly measured discrimination in hiring”.


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