Socio-cultural Adaptation of Second-generation Afghans in Iran



The long-term settlement of Afghan immigrants in Iran, along with their high fertility, has produced an important shift in the composition of their population with the emergence of a “second generation”. This article aims to examine how second-generation Afghans have adapted to the host society and to what extent their adaptation patterns have correlated with demographic and contextual factors. The data is drawn from the 2010 Afghans Adaptation Survey which covered 520 second-generation Afghans.

Results revealed that second-generation Afghans have a variety of adaptation patterns. Integration is the most prevalent pattern of adaptation and acculturation (which is observed among 35.8 per cent of respondents) followed by separation (33.3%), assimilation (17.1%) and marginalization (13.8%). Our multivariate analysis showed that such socio-demographic factors as gender, education, ethnicity, perceived discrimination, family context, neighbourhood characteristics, length and city of residence are associated with their adaptation patterns.

Policy Implications

  • Successful implementation of policies and durable solutions for Afghans in Iran rests on the diversity of the adaptation patterns of their second-generation.
  • Restriction on employment opportunities has led to downward assimilation and marginalization of some of the Afghans in Iran. Improvement in labour laws would promote the integration of Afghans in the society.
  • Afghan females have relatively better access to a gender-equitable environment in Iran than they do in Afghanistan, and are less willing to return to their homeland. The Government of Afghanistan should improve service and security provisions for women to ensure their voluntary repatriation.