Volunteering Among Migrants Aged 40 Years and Above in Germany

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 09:15
Location: Hörsaal BIG 1 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Claudia VOGEL, German Centre of Gerontology, Germany
Julia SIMONSON, German Centre of Gerontology, Germany
Clemens TESCH-ROMER, German Centre of Gerontology, Germany
Volunteering contributes to successful ageing. On the societal level, older volunteers provide, for instance, social services which could not be financed by the welfare state. On the individual level, volunteering is expected to be beneficial for both, volunteers and recipients of support. This should hold true for migrants and non-migrants likewise. However, migrants seem to be less likely to participate than native citizens, although volunteering is found to correlate with well-being throughout the life-course and in old age. In Germany, about one in five inhabitants has immigrated or is a child of immigrants. Among the population 65 years and older, about one in ten has immigrated. The share of migrants is increasing rapidly, also as a result of the economic crisis.

In respect to volunteering among migrants, two opposed hypotheses are discussed: (a) Among migrants volunteering rates should be lower than in the native population, due to deficient language skills or disadvantaged socio-economic status. (b) In contrast, it could be assumed, that among migrants volunteering rates should be higher, due to necessity to cope with challenges in the migration process and with the integration in the host country.

We deal with two research questions: Do the volunteering rates of the migrant and the non-migrant population differ in middle and late adulthood? How can differences in volunteering rates in migrants and non-migrants be explained? The analyses are based on the German Survey on Volunteering, a representative telephone survey of the population aged 14 and older. The results show that among the population in middle and late life migrants are less likely to volunteer than non-migrants in Germany. The differences can be partially attributed to the duration of stay at the place of residence. However, the group of migrants is very heterogeneous.