Selectivity profiles of recently arrived refugees and labour migrants in Germany


Migrant selectivity refers to the idea that immigrants differ in certain characteristics from individuals who stay behind in their country of origin. In this article, we describe the selectivity profiles of recent migrants to Germany with respect to educational attainment, age and sex. We illustrate how refugees differ from labour migrants, and we compare the profiles of Syrian refugees who successfully completed the long journey to Europe to Syrian refugees who settled in neighbouring Lebanon or Jordan. We rely on destination-country data from the IAB-BAMFGSOEP Survey of Refugees, the Arab Barometer, and the German Microcensus, as well as on a broad range of origin-country data sources. Regarding sex selectivity, males dominate among refugees in Germany, while among economic migrants, sex distributions are more balanced. Relative to their societies of origin, labour migrants are younger than refugees. At the same time, both types of migrants are drawn from the younger segments of their origin populations. In terms of educational attainment, many refugees compare rather poorly with average Germans’ attainment, but well when compared to their origin populations. The educational profiles for labour migrants are mixed. Finally, Syrians who settle in Germany are younger, more likely to be male and relatively better educated than Syrians migrating to Jordan or Lebanon.

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