Better Fortunes? Living Arrangements and Wellbeing of Migrant Youth in Six OECD Countries

Audrey N. Beck, Princeton University
Marta Tienda, Princeton University

Using recent census data, this paper documents cross-national variation in the living arrangements of youth with migration backgrounds in six industrialized countries—France, Greece, Portugal, Spain, Israel and the United States, and evaluates nativity and generational differences that are related to child wellbeing. After characterizing each nation’s context of reception, including changes in policies that favor family migration, we illustrate how operational definitions that exclude children not living with parents not only distort estimates of migrant youth, but also exclude the most vulnerable. We find migrant youth are more likely to live without parents (an especially vulnerable group excluded in most research) or in extended families relative to native-born youth; youth in complex and nonparental households are more likely to be recent immigrants, and tend to fare worse in terms of school enrollment. The concluding section identifies the strengths and limitations of census data and further research needs.

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Presented in Session 166: Immigrants' Families and Households