The latest research on ethnicity and immigration uses Understanding Society data

Does the UK Citizenship Process lead immigrants to reject British identity? This was just one of the research questions asked at the recent International Sociological Association 2018 Congress (July 15-21) in Toronto this month.

Several researchers used Understanding Society’s ethnicity and immigration boost sample data to present new findings at the ISA’s renowned conference.

Understanding Society’s immigrant and ethnic minority boost sample (IEMB) was added in Wave 6 and comprises approximately 2,900 participating households. The IEMB features five target ethnic minority groups; Indian, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Caribbean, and Africa and additionally a sample of immigrants (i.e. non-UK born) from groups other than these five ethnic minority groups.

What were the papers?

Does the UK “Citizenship Process” Lead Immigrants to Reject British Identity? A Panel Data Analysis

In this research, David Bartram from the University of Leicester considered whether the British version of the citizenship process is effective in leading immigrants to embrace British national identity. Using data drawn from Understanding Society, he wanted to facilitate a comparison between those immigrants who become citizens and those who do not. The main finding is those who become UK citizens significantly increase their attachment to British identity, relative to those who do not become citizens.

The Relationship between Political and Ethnic Identity Among UK Ethnic Minority and Majority Populations

Using the ethnic and immigration minority boost from Understanding Society, this paper written by Lucinda Platt, LSE and Alita Nandi, University of Essex explored the relationship between ethnic and political identity across UK majority and minority populations.

Key findings

  • Both political and ethnic identity was stronger among second generation compared to immigrant minorities.
  • White UK women have weaker ethnic identity than white UK men; ethnic minority women have stronger ethnic identity than ethnic minority men.
  • Right-wing voters were associated with stronger ethnic but not political identity among both majority and minority populations, while discrimination was linked to minorities’ political but not ethnic identity.

Read the poster

The Truth about Undercutting: Migration and Its Long-Term Impact upon Labour Market Outcomes of White British and Minority Workers

Wouter Zwysen and Neli Demireva from the University of Essex analysed different aspects of work, including the security and tenure of work and job quality to build a comprehensive picture of the impact of migration. Using longitudinal data from the British Household Panel Study and Understanding Society they studied how sectoral changes in exposure to migrants, estimated from the UK Labour Force Survey, shape labour market experiences of individuals over time. Preliminary results indicate that an increase in migrant exposure in the regional sector leads to lower job security and worse employment conditions.

Birds of a Feather Flock Together? Own-Group Concentration and Immigrants’ Life Satisfaction in the UK, 2009-2016

Jing Shen and Irena Kogan from the University of Mannheim, Germany researched the importance of cultural coherence between individuals and its impact on life satisfaction. Preliminary findings show that in the dimension of ethnicity, Black immigrants’ life satisfaction increases, and Indian immigrants’ life satisfaction decrease with the percentages of their own-ethnic groups at the Local Authority (LA) level. Regarding religion, religious composition seems to matter only for Christians, who feel significantly more satisfied with their lives when living in Christian-dominant LAs. This may be because ethnic boundaries are more important than religious boundaries for immigrants from African and South Asian regions, while religious boundaries are more important than ethnic boundaries for immigrants from Christianity-dominant regions.