Will the COVID-19 Pandemic Increase Ethnic Inequality? New Immigrants’ Socio-Cultural Integration in Challenging Times

About this Session


Thu. 07.04.'22 15:30



Speaker: Claudia Diehl, Co-Authors: Matthias Koenig, Cornelia Kristen, Daniel Degen, Julia Ruedel, Julian Seurig Abstract: We assess the impact of the containment measures implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic on new immigrants’ early integration trajectories. The years after migrants’ arrival are a particularly dynamic and consequential period in their adaptation process. Using unique panel data and various modeling strategies, we compare differences in early integration trajectories between an earlier cohort of immigrants to Germany and one that arrived not long before the pandemic started. This allows us to disentangle the pandemic’s effect on immigrants’ integration from changes in the demographic and educational composition of both arrival cohorts. We show that the pandemic negatively affected newcomers’ language acquisition and their ties to natives but spurred their political interest in their host country. Furthermore, it affected their employment patterns in a group-specific way. We conclude that the pandemic-related deterioration of opportunities for integration was partly compensated by the more favorable composition of more recent immigrants, most importantly in terms of their levels of education.