The Second Generation in Europe



The study of integration processes has now reached a crucial stage in most Western European countries with the emergence of the second generation. The oldest children born to postwar immigrants on European soil have recently entered the job market, and we can now investigate their performance in both education and employment. This opens a unique opportunity to compare the situations of second generation migrants across countries. Ostensibly the children all have the same starting position, being born in the country of settlement. The intriguing question is how differences between immigrant groups, and also differences in national contexts, work to the benefit or detriment of the second generation. We discuss the first issue briefly, confining ourselves here to Turkish and Moroccan immigrants. In addressing the issue of national contexts, we focus primarily on policies and practices rather than on broad-reaching national integration models. We examine in detail the integration process itself in the context of vital institutional arrangements such as the education system and the mechanisms for transition to the labor market. How do such arrangements differ between countries, and how do they affect the outcomes for the second generation?