Migrant children perform worse in Austria

Across the EU, children whose parents immigrated are likely to achieve higher education levels than their parents, a recent study shows -- but not in Austria.

Christine Tragler
Christine Tragler Der Standard, Austria
Source: Der Standard
Migrant children perform worse in Austria - NewsMavens
Student. Pixabay

Why this story matters:

Education is still a family matter in Austria, meaning that the children of well-educated Austrians tend to have higher education too, whereas the children of the working class tend to drop out of the education system earlier. 

But how can the second generation break this vicious circle of low education and lack of opportunities? Economist Alyssa Schneebaum tries to look for answers in her study.

"This research shows that second generation migrants across the EU are better educated than their parents," says Schneebaum. "However, Austria is not aligned [with the rest of the EU] and educational mobility is comparatively low among migrants."

There are also gender differences: in Austria boys with a migrant background show more educational mobility than girls.

The microeconomist believes that the Austrian education system, in which non-native speakers of German are separated from native speakers, could be to blame.  

Details from the story:

  • Economist Alyssa Schneebaum demonstrated that, in Europe, children whose parents were born in another country are often better educated than their parents. Children with native parents, on the other hand, are not better educated than the previous generation.
  • Of the eleven countries surveyed, the second generation who made the biggest leap in education was in Great Britain, followed by Switzerland and Luxembourg. Like Austria, Czechia showed no difference in educational mobility between immigrants and locals. In Austria, 47.1% of migrant children achieved higher education than their parents; for native children it was 44.4%.
  • The biggest difference between local and migrant populations was recorded in Switzerland: 61.6% of children with a migrant background made the leap; without a migrant background, the figure was only 37.5%. Only in Latvia and Estonia, where migrants generally have high levels of education, did local children overtake their parents.

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