Children in Immigrant Families in Eight Affluent Countries

©UNICEF IRC / 2009 - Innocenti Insight Children in Immigrant Families in Eight Affluent Countries


This new Innocenti Insight presents internationally comparable data on the situation of immigrant children in selected high-income countries. It draws on research conducted in eight countries - Australia, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States - that together include almost 40 per cent of all persons in the world living outside their countries of birth.

During recent decades, most affluent countries have experienced large increases in the number and diversity of immigrants. Accordingly, it is projected that children in immigrant families today will be increasingly prominent as workers, voters and parents over the coming years. The social, economic and civic integration of these children is of critical policy relevance, yet there is little statistical evidence available on this segment of the immigrant population.

The study provides detailed information on the situation of children in immigrant families over a broad range of dimensions, including family composition, educational background and working status of parents, and housing conditions, school and labour market participation and poverty status of children, presenting statistics broken down by region and GDP level of the country of origin.

Overall, the findings indicate areas of success in the social inclusion and civic integration of children in immigrant families in different countries. They also highlight areas in which the circumstances of the children, particularly those from low- and middle-income countries, call for further improvement.

Governments are urged to ensure that their policies facilitate full participation of children in immigrant families, including through measures that foster civic participation, promote access to education and employment, ensure access to appropriate housing and reduce poverty.

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