Children of migrants feel more discriminated against

Adult children of migrants who were born in the UK are much more likely to perceive discrimination against their group than migrants themselves.

This latest research used Understanding Society and looked at the question asked in the Study on whether people would describe themselves as ‘members of a group that is discriminated against in this country’ because of their colour/race, nationality, religion, language or ethnicity’. The responses showed that on average 16% of migrants in the UK identified with the statement, but this number rose to 30% of UK-born people with migrant parents.

Migrants from non-EU countries were roughly twice as likely as EU migrants to feel that they were part of a group that is discriminated against (19% vs. 8% in 2018).

Dr Mariña Fernández-Reino, researcher at Oxford University’s Migration Observatory and the author of the briefing said, “It is interesting that people who have migrated to the UK are less likely to feel that they face discrimination than UK-born children of migrants. The reasons for this will be complex. Some UK-born minorities actually have worse outcomes than migrants, such as higher unemployment.

“Research also suggests that children of migrants, who were born and raised here, have higher expectations and so are more sensitive to inequalities or unequal treatment they encounter. By contrast, people who migrated here may compare their experience to life in their country of origin and feel that they have benefited from moving even if they still face some disadvantages.”

EU migrants have traditionally reported fewer experiences of discrimination than those born outside the EU. However, the share of EU migrants saying they were a member of a group that faced discrimination more than doubled during the time of the EU referendum compared to levels seen both before (2010-12) and after (2018).

Read the full report