Reports 2012/32

Young people with immigrant background in Scandinavia

How many are in employment or education?

The report compares the shares in employment or education of young people aged 20-29 years with immigration background at the end of 2010 who were settled in Norway, Sweden and Denmark.

The following three groups are compared: 1) those born in Norway, Sweden and Denmark with two immigrant parents with background from the following world regions: Eastern-Europe outside the EU/EEA, from Asia, Africa and South- and Central-America and Oceania except Australia and New-Zealand. 2) Those who are immigrants themselves and arrived Norway, Sweden and Denmark before 18 years of age with background from the mentioned world regions and 3) People of non-immigrant background, i.e. the majority population who either are immigrants or have two immigrant parents.

It must be emphasized that the Norwegian- and Danish-born with immigrant parents constitute rather small groups within our population (ca. 10 000 in each country). In Norway this group is dominated by people with Pakistani background, while Turkey is the most predominant nation in Denmark within that group. There is, however, more dispersion in Sweden, but also there the Turkish group is the largest one among the Swedish-born with immigrant parents.

The three population groups in Norway and Sweden have larger shares of actives (i.e. in employment or education) compared to Denmark. It is the difference in these shares between the two groups with immigrant-background on the one side and the majority on the other, which is the main focus when these three countries are compared.

There are some joint traits among the Scandinavian countries as the main pattern is concerned. The two groups with immigrant background are some percentage points below the majority in shares of actives. Among these two groups the national born with immigrant parents are closest to the majority. Norway and Sweden have rather equal differences between these two population groups, 6.7 and 6.8 percentage points respectively, while Denmark has 7.6 percentage points in the shares of actives. As the immigrant group is concerned, Sweden has the smallest difference to the majority with 9.2 percentage points, while Norway has a difference of 11.8 percentage points and Denmark 15.4.

There are only small differences between men and women within the three population groups in all three Scandinavian countries when regarding the age group 20 – 29 years as a whole. Where gender differences exist, they are in the favour of women.

We observe a lower level of actives in the groups with immigrant background at 25 – 29 years of age in Norway and Denmark compared to those between 20 – 24 years. This is mostly due to the national-born women with immigrant parents, who are married and have children. Hence, there is a wider gap to the majority among those above 24 years of age and more traditional gender differences in the favour of men. This age group constitutes, however, a minority among the Norwegian- and Danish- born with immigrant parents. Therefore they do not influence the total average of actives of these population groups to any great degree.

Differences in education level are of greater importance than immigrant background with regard to the shares of actives. There is an explicit dividing line between those with compulsory education only and those with education above the compulsory level. This distinction manifests itself within all three population groups in all three Scandinavian countries. Hence it is people with compulsory education only who reduce the average of actives within each of the population groups. Since immigrants and to some extent national-born with immigrant parents have larger shares of only compulsory educated than the majority, this is an important cause behind the differences in activity level between the population groups.

As a consequence of the importance of the educational level, we can observe fairly higher shares of actives among those with immigrant background with education above compulsory level compared to the majority with compulsory education only in all three Scandinavian countries.

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