Social Connectedness Among European Migrants

Monday, 11 July 2016: 15:15
Location: Hörsaal 07 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
David BARTRAM, University of Leicester, United Kingdom
A common perception regarding immigrants is that they typically experience decreased social connectedness after migration, at least temporarily.  Difficulties of language and cultural difference might impede the formation of social ties; at a minimum, making new friends in a new location takes time.  This picture, however, emerges mainly from qualitative research investigating a limited range of specific migration streams. 

This paper develops a broader analysis of sociability among migrants moving within Europe, using data from the European Social Survey enabling comparison of migrants to stayers in the countries the migrants left.  While migrants in some streams do experience lower levels of sociability and higher rates of isolation (compared to rates among stayers in the corresponding origin countries), migrants in other streams experience significantly higher sociability and lower rates of isolation. Analysis of patterns across specific streams suggests that migrants adapt to general practices in the destination countries: when migrants go mainly to countries where rates of sociability are higher, they tend to experience greater sociability themselves -- and vice-versa.  

The consequences of migration for sociability, then, are by no means as uniform and unfavourable as previous research might suggest.