Happy Newcomers? Subjective Well-Being of First-Generation Immigrants in Germany.

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 08:50
Oral Presentation
Hilke BROCKMANN, European University Institute, Italy
First-generation immigrants in Germany are surprisingly satisfied with their life. We test to what extent selection, adaptation, or resilience explains their comparatively high level of subjective well-being (SWB) using Panel data from 1984-2014 and running simultaneous probit and growth curve models. The analysis explains competing mechanisms of subjective well-being and positive integration. We find mixed evidence for health selection: First-generation immigrants are younger but overall less healthy than Germans. Irrespective of selectivity, significant evidence supports purposive adaptation: First-generation immigrants maintain high levels of happiness by using the local German population as a benchmark only to evaluate their economic situation but not to evaluate their family life. Thus, there is economic but not socio-cultural adaptation. Finally, we find some evidence of higher social but not economic resilience among first-generation immigrants than among Germans.