Reports 2013/36

Employment and education among young people with immigrant background. 2011

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This report describes how the share of young people aged 16-34 years who are in employment or education varies with immigration background. The following three groups are compared: 1) Those who arrived in Norway as immigrants from Eastern-Europe outside the EU, from Asia, Africa and South- and Central-America, 2) those born in Norway with immigrant parents with background from the mentioned world regions and 3) people of non-immigrant background (i.e. the majority population). The report is based on register statistics for the 4th quarter 2011.

The 2011 figures confirm the main pattern that emerged in our previous researches in the sense that the Norwegian-born with immigrant parents are much closer to the majority population than the immigrant group when it comes to the share that are in employment or in education. The difference in relation to the majority is 4.7 percentage points among the Norwegian- born with immigrant parents and almost 24 percentage points among immigrants when looking at the age group 16-34 years of age as a whole. These differences are only marginally reduced compared to 2010.

There are, however, some nuances within the various age groups, for instance a slightly larger gap to the majority among Norwegian- born with immigrant parents above 24 years of age compared to the younger ones. This is mostly due to a lower level of employment among the female Norwegian-born with immigrant parents. Immigrants have, however, mostly the same difference towards the majority population in all age groups.

As the immigrant group is concerned, their age at the time of immigration is, however, important for the share of actives (i.e. in employment or education). If they immigrated as small children (before compulsory school), the share of actives is approximately the same as for Norwegian-born to immigrant parents.

The differences between men and women are small among Norwegian-born with immigrant parents and among the majority when regarding the groups as a whole. Among those below 25 years of age the differences are in favour of the women, while we can observe more traditional differences, in favour of men, within the older group 25 – 34 years of age. This tendency is most explicit among the Norwegian-born with immigrant parents, but the gender difference within this group is, however, not nearly so large as among the immigrants.

Immigrant males have a considerably higher level of employment compared to the females among those above 19 years of age. These immigrant women constitute the group with the largest gap to the majority as the share of actives is concerned. The difference is about 30 percentage points compared to the majority women, while the difference among immigrant men and majority men is ca. 16 percentage points. This is due to a particular low level of participation in labour or employment among married immigrant women with children, who constitute a rather large group among immigrants.

It should be noticed that differences in education level among those above 19 years of age are of greater importance than immigrant background as the shares of actives are concerned. We can observe higher shares of actives among Norwegian-born with immigrant parents and immigrants with education above compulsory level compared to the majority with compulsory education only. Moreover there is a larger gap between immigrants with compulsory education only and immigrants with higher education compared to the difference among immigrants and the majority at the same educational level.

People with compulsory education only have in particular the lowest rates of actives within all three population groups. Since the groups with immigrant background have larger shares of only compulsory educated than the majority among those above 19 years of age, this is an important cause behind the differences in activity level between the population groups.

Acknowledgement: The work is financed by the Ministry of Children, Equality and Social Inclusion.

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