Cognitive and Language Skills of Turkish Children in Germany: A Comparison of the Second and Third Generation and Mixed Generational Groups


  • The author gratefully acknowledges the financial support granted by the German Research Foundation (DFG) within the project “Preschool Education and Educational Careers among Migrant Children.” The analyses of this paper were carried out during my year as a Postdoc Fellow at the Mannheim Centre for European Social Research (MZES). Furthermore, I would like to thank Irena Kogan and Hartmut Esser for helpful comments.


The paper compares several generational groups of Turkish children in Germany with respect to cognitive skills and German language skills at an early age. Empirically, children of inter-marriages outperform the other groups of Turkish children in both tests while children with a first generation mother and a second generation father score worse than all others. All group differences regarding children’s cognitive skills can be explained by the families’ socio-economic status and educational resources. In contrast, with respect to children’s language skills also parents’ endowment with receiving country specific resources (e.g., parental German language proficiency) needs to be taken into account.