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Is There a North–South Divide in Integration Outcomes? A Comparison of the Integration Outcomes of Immigrants in Southern and Northern Europe

Publication Illustration
Boado, Hector Cebolla & Finotelli, Claudio.
European Journal of Population
Year of Publication

Integration models are often viewed as a necessary tool for framing integration policies, and for measuring integration efficiency. While “old” European immigration countries in Europe account for a systematic framework of integration policies embedded in a given integration philosophy, new immigration countries (particularly Italy, Greece, Portugal and Spain) have lacked a coherent set of integration policies and practices and, it goes without saying, a philosophical approach to integration. This vacuum has often been seen as a source of marginalization and ‘differential exclusion’, suggesting the existence of a North–South divide in integration matters, and more importantly, outcomes.

However, there is still a striking lack of appropriate comparative empirical evidence backing or dismissing this divide. The objective of this article is to explore national-level differences in the real performance of immigrants in selected European countries of immigration along key indicators of integration outcomes, including school attainment and labor market participation. We here discuss the position of Italy, Spain, Greece and Portugal as a coherent cluster of countries and compare the performance of their migrants with that of other foreign-born workers settled in the West of Europe. Our evidence provides little support for the idea that the Southern countries are a unique cluster and that they homogeneously lag behind in terms of integration outcomes.