Transition To Adulthood among Descendants of Immigrants in France: The Role of Educational Attainments vs. Family Background

le Lundi 30 Novembre 2015 à l’Ined, salle Sauvy, de 11h30 à 12h30

Présenté par Giulia Ferrari (Ined) ; Discutant : Nicola Barban (Oxford University)

Patterns of transition to adulthood changed substantially in most Western countries from the late 1960s onwards. The emerging trend reveals more complex and longer transitions due to changes in norms, greater labor market insecurity and the increased cost of living. Socio-economic stratification and the cultural environment where people grow up play a crucial role in this process of transition to adulthood. This study questions if such changes have also taken place among descendants of immigrants in France. Focusing on the interplay between cultural and structural factors, it investigates whether individual behaviors are affected by tradition and open to individual choice and/or shaped by structural factors, and especially educational attainment. We limited the analysis to individuals aged 30-50 and to the most represented areas of origin that are Southern Europe and North Africa, comparing them to natives. Based on event-history data collected in the Trajectories and Origins survey (Ined, Insee 2008), we construct individual sequences of states occurred during the transition to adulthood, paying particular attention to residential (living in the parental home vs. having left), occupational (being student, unemployed/not in a stable employment, or in a stable employment), conjugal (being single, cohabiting, married), and parenthood (childless vs. parent) dimensions. Using optimal matching sequence analysis, we classify similar trajectories into five transition typologies, namely Married parents (37%), Living autonomously (32%), Cohabiting (15%), Latest nest leavers (12%), Unemployed in union (3%). Furthermore, we implement multinomial logistic regression to investigate the probability to belong to each of the selected clusters.

Although descriptive analysis shows that paths into adulthood significantly vary by origin and gender, only few differences persist in the multivariate models, after controlling for background characteristics and individual education. Women are more likely than men to be in union (married parents, cohabiting or unemployed in union). However, both men and women descendants of immigrants from Maghreb are less frequently cohabiting and more likely latest nest leavers. Descendants from South Europe behave similarly to natives, but less frequently are unemployed in union. In summary, young adults whose parents were born in North Africa behave in a more traditional way, while those whose parents came from South Europe uniformed to the French natives way of becoming adult.


Giulia Ferrari

Giulia Ferrari is a Post-Doc researcher at INED. She previously worked as research fellow at Dondena Centre for Research on Social Dynamics in Milan, Italy. She owns a PhD in Demography achieved at University of Rome “La Sapienza”. Her main interests cover the field of family demography in a comparative perspective, with a particular attention to transition to adulthood, union formation and intergenerational relationships.