Toward Spatial Assimilation? Intergenerational Residential Mobility Among Children of Immigrants in Norway

Pål Oskar Hundebo, University of Oslo
Are Skeie Hermansen , University of Oslo
Gunn Elisabeth Birkelund, University of Oslo

We study intergenerational contextual mobility and spatial assimilation among immigrant minorities using administrative data from Norway. First, we find that immigrant descendants often remain in adult neighborhood contexts—with comparatively few native-origin residents and relative economic disadvantage—that resemble their childhood neighborhoods, although this pattern is most pronounced among descendants from Pakistan, the Middle East, and Africa. Second, we find that group-level differences in children’s adult socioeconomic attainments, parental resources, and characteristics of their childhood neighborhoods account for a substantial part of the adult native-immigrant gaps in neighborhood-level economic composition, but much less so for neighborhood-level shares of native-origin residents. The role of childhood residential segregation is most important in accounting for adult native-immigrant neighborhood gaps. Our findings offer only partial support for spatial assimilation theory—which predicts that acculturation and socioeconomic progress generate upward contextual mobility—but may reflect external barriers in the housing market or persistent in-group preferences for (co-ethnic) immigrant neighbors.

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 Presented in Session 241. Migration, Inequality, and Social Mobility