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Using a unique dataset (N=2,014), we examine the pre- and post-migration determinants of socio-cultural integration among first-generation immigrant groups in southern Europe: Moroccan and Senegalese migrants in Spain, and Egyptian and Ghanaian migrants in Italy. The results of the pooled and immigrant-group specific regression analyses partly highlight the dominance of pre-migration factors. Immigrants who were well-educated and well-informed prior to migrating and who migrate at a young age, achieve higher levels of socio-cultural integration. Going against some hypotheses found in the literature, female gender and North African origin have a positive effect on socio-cultural integration as opposed to male gender and sub-Saharan origin. With regard to post-migration factors, occupational status is the main economic determinant of socio-cultural integration. Interestingly, being employed as such has no significant effect on socio-cultural integration. This suggests that labour market segmentation and discrimination negatively impact upon socio-cultural integration. The results also suggest that policies allowing immigrants to benefit from the human capital they carry across borders and achieve upward socio-economic mobility are likely to enhance their socio-cultural integration.

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Journal article


International Migration

Publication Date



DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-2435.2011.00687.x