Stockholm University
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Patterns of early adult disadvantage among the children of immigrants: Life course trajectories across multiple domains of life

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posted on 2022-05-30, 08:54 authored by Ben WilsonBen Wilson, Eleonora MussinoEleonora Mussino, Caroline UgglaCaroline Uggla

How immigrants and their families fare after settling in a destination country is a question of great policy relevance. It is increasingly recognized that integration is multidimensional and can only be assessed by taking a long-run perspective, beyond the study of adult immigrants. Because adult immigrant trajectories after arrival may be due to selection or reverse causality, studies of immigrants who migrate as children (G1.5) and the native-born children of immigrants (G2), enable researchers to understand the link between exposure to destination— based on age at arrival or generational status—and individual integration-related outcomes. Prior research suggests that age at arrival is a key determinant of different outcomes that may be seen as markers of integration, but has either focused on single outcomes or outcomes at one stage in life. Here we seek to establish the link between migration background—age at arrival, country of birth and reason for migration—and early adult life course trajectories across multiple domains of life, including education, work, and family formation. We use latent class analysis, generalised linear models and family fixed effects to analyse administrative data for the whole population of Sweden, giving a study population of more than 118,000 members of G1.5 and G2. Results suggest that the descendants of immigrants follow broadly one of four different trajectories: ‘high SES’, ‘medium SES’, ‘low SES’, and ‘early childbearing’, where the latter are a particularly disadvantaged group, especially at younger ages. Increased exposure to Swedish society is associated with increased likelihood of following a more advantaged life course trajectory, even after controlling for family fixed effects. Our study highlights patterns of early adult disadvantage among the children of immigrants and refugees and how they vary across multiple domains of life.


European Research Council Starting Grant 948727 (REFU-GEN)

Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet), grant number 2017-01021

Swedish Research Council for Health, Working life and Welfare (FORTE), grant numbers: 2016-07115, 2016-07105 and 2018-00310

Swedish Foundation for Humanities and Social Sciences (Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, RJ), grant registration number M18-0214:1




Original title

Patterns of early adult disadvantage among the children of immigrants: Life course trajectories across multiple domains of life

Original language

  • English

Publication date


Affiliation (institution of first SU-affiliated author)

  • 310 Sociologiska institutionen | Department of Sociology


  • public