I study the integration of immigrants and their offspring in western societies. I take a multidimensional view on integration, disentangling three dimensions: social, cultural, and economic. This means that, rather than focusing on a single aspect of integration (e.g., do immigrants speak the host-country language?), I study integration as a much broader concept that relates to the ‘distance’ between members of different ethnic groups in relation to their social ties (e.g., interethnic friendships, marriages, prejudice), their culture (e.g., language, religion, norms, values) and their resources (e.g., employment, education, health). In addition, I use a two-sided perspective on integration, meaning that not only immigrants and their offspring, but also the ethnic majority population are key actors in the integration process.
Friendships and networks
Ethnically mixed friendships are often seen as a key indicator of social integration. In this line of research I study how strongly social connections are ethnically segregated, such as among friendships of adolescents in school, and I try to discover what the main mechanisms are that cause network segregation. In recent work, I also look at patterns of online social segregation, such as on Facebook.
Van Tubergen, F. and S. Smith. 2018. ‘Making Friends across Ethnic Boundaries: Are Personal Networks of Adolescents Diverse?’ Pp. 176-200. In: Kalter, F., J.O. Jonsson, F. van Tubergen and A. Heath (eds.). 2018. Growing up in Diverse Europe: The Integration of the Children of Immigrants in England, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden. Oxford: Oxford University Press/British Academy. [PDF]
Hofstra, B., R. Corten, F. van Tubergen and N. Ellison. 2017. “Sources of Segregation in Social Networks: A Novel Approach Using Facebook.” American Sociological Review, 83(3), 625-656. [PDF]
Kruse, H., S. Smith, F. van Tubergen and I. Maas. 2016. “From Neighbors to School Friends? How Adolescents’ Place of Residence relates to same-ethnic School Friendships.” Social Networks, 44, 130-142. [PDF]
Smith, S., D.A. McFarland, F. van Tubergen and I. Maas. 2016. “Ethnic Composition and Friendship Segregation: Differential Effects for Adolescent Natives and Immigrants.” American Journal of Sociology, 121(4), 1223-1272. [PDF]
Smith, S., I. Maas and F. van Tubergen. 2015. “Parental Influence on Friendships Between Native and Immigrant Adolescents in Germany and the Netherlands.” Journal for Research on Adolescents, 25(3), 580-591. [PDF]
Van Tubergen, F. 2015. “Ethnic Boundaries in Core Discussion Networks: A Multilevel Social Network Study of Turks and Moroccans in the Netherlands.” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 41(1), 101-116. [PDF]
Martinovic, B., F. van Tubergen and I. Maas. 2015. “A Longitudinal Study of Interethnic Contacts in Germany: Estimates from a Multilevel Growth Curve Model.” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 41(1), 83-100. [PDF]
Smith, S., I. Maas and F. van Tubergen. 2014. “Ethnic ingroup friendships in schools: testing the by-product hypothesis in England, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden.” Social Networks, 39, 33-45. [PDF]
Martinovic, B., F. van Tubergen and I. Maas. 2011. “Acquisition of Cross-Ethnic Friends by Recent Immigrants in Canada: A Longitudinal Approach.” International Migration Review, 45(2), 460-488. [PDF]
Martinovic, B., F. van Tubergen, and I. Maas. 2009. “Changes in Immigrants’ Social Integration during the Stay in the Host Country: The Case of Non-Western Immigrants in the Netherlands.” Social Science Research, 38, 870-882. [PDF]
Martinovic, B., F. van Tubergen and I. Maas. 2009 “Dynamics of Interethnic Contact: A Panel Study of Immigrants in the Netherlands.” European Sociological Review, 25, 303-318. [PDF]
The second line of research on social integration examines marriage and cohabitation. Ethnic group segregation is strong when there are few intermarriages (‘exogamy’) and most people marry someone from their own ethnic group (‘endogamy’). A key finding is that there are large differences between ethnic groups in their exogamy/endogamy rate, and that these group differences are driven by a combination of social forces: structural opportunities, homophily, and third party effects.
Spörlein, C., E. Schlüter and F. van Tubergen. 2014 “Ethnic intermarriage in longitudinal perspective: Testing structural and cultural explanations in the United States, 1880–2011.” Social Science Research, 43, 1-15. [PDF]
Smith, S., I. Maas and F. van Tubergen. 2012. “Irreconcilable differences? Ethnic Intermarriage and Divorce in the Netherlands, 1995-2008.” Social Science Research, 41(5), 1126-1137. [PDF]
Kalmijn, M. and F. van Tubergen. 2010. “A Comparative Perspective on Intermarriage: Explaining Differences in Marriage Choices among National Origin Groups in the United States.” Demography, 47(2), 459-479. [PDF]
Van Tubergen, F. and I. Maas. 2007. “Ethnic Intermarriage among Immigrants in the Netherlands: An Analysis of Population Data.” Social Science Research, 36, 1065-1086. [PDF]
Kalmijn, M. and F. van Tubergen. 2006. “Ethnic Intermarriage in the Netherlands: Confirmations and Refutations of Accepted Insights.” European Journal of Population, 22, 371-97. [PDF]
Prejudice and discrimination
Another way to study social integration, is to look at how people think and feel about other ethnic groups, and if they tend to discriminate out-group members. A key insight is that ethnic discrimination exists in contemporary Western labor markets, that it occurs at various transitions in people’s career (school, first job, etc.), and that it is driven by implicit and explicit attitudes. My research furthermore shows that, in turn, these negative interethnic attitudes depend on direct, personal contacts with out-group members: ethnic majority students in ethnically mixed schools have more-positive out-group attitudes. Another social force affecting intergroup prejudice is the media: when media messages on minority out-groups are more salient, people will have more negative attitudes towards that out-group in the days and weeks after these messages.
Thijssen, L., F. van Tubergen, M. Coenders, R. Hellpap, and S. Jak. 2021. “Discrimination of Black and Muslim minority groups in Western countries: Evidence from a meta-analysis of field experiments. International Migration Review, in press.
Boer, M. and F. van Tubergen. 2019. “Media messages and attitudes toward Muslims and ethnic minorities: A panel study among ethnic majority adolescents in the Netherlands.” Social Science Research, 83, 102311. [PDF]
Bubritzki, S., F. van Tubergen, J. Weesie and S. Smith. 2018. “Ethnic composition of the school class and interethnic attitudes: a multi-group perspective.” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 44(3), 482-502. [PDF]
Blommaert, L., M. Coenders and F. van Tubergen. 2014. “Ethnic Discrimination in Recruitment and Decision Makers’ Features: Evidence from Laboratory Experiment and Survey Data using a Student Sample.” Social Indicators Research, 116(3), 731-754. [PDF]
Blommaert, L., M. Coenders, and F. van Tubergen. 2014. “Discrimination of Arabic-named applicants in the Netherlands: An internet-based field experiment examining different phases in online recruitment procedures.” Social Forces, 92(3), 957-82. [PDF]
Blommaert, L., F. van Tubergen, M. Coenders. 2012. “Implicit and Explicit Interethnic Attitudes and Ethnic Discrimination in Hiring.” Social Science Research, 41(1), 61-73. [PDF]
Dolfing, M. and F. van Tubergen. 2005. “Bensaïdi of Veenstra? Een experimenteel onderzoek naar discriminatie van Marokkanen in Nederland.” Sociologie, 1, 407-22. [PDF]
Cultural integration is the second dimension of integration, and ‘religion’ is a key element of it. In the past decades, Western Europe has witnessed two significant societal trends: on the one hand an ethnic majority population that has become increasingly secular, less religious. On the other hand, a growing population of immigrants, many of whom are religious and Muslim. Religion can be an important part of people’s identity, and strongly impact people’s norms, values, lifestyle. For this reason, ‘religion’ has become a key dimension in public and scientific discussions about the integration process. In my work I study patterns and causes of religiosity among ethnic minority and majority populations in western societies.
Simsek, M., F. van Tubergen, and F. Fleischmann. 2021. “Religion and intergroup boundaries: Positive and negative ties among youth in ethnically and religiously diverse classes in Western Europe.” Review of Religious Research, in press.
Van Tubergen, F., T. Cinjee, A. Menshikova, and J. Veldkamp. 2021. “Online activity of mosques and Muslims in the Netherlands: A study of Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter. PlosONE 16(7): e0254881. [LINK] [PDF] [Appendix] [Data]
Simsek, M., F. Fleischmann and F. van Tubergen. 2019. Similar or divergent paths? Religious development of Christian and Muslim adolescents in Western Europe. Social Science Research, 79, 160-180. [PDF]
Simsek, M., K. Jacob, F. Fleischmann and F. van Tubergen. 2018. ‘Keeping or Losing the Faith? Comparing Religion across Majority and Minority Youth in Europe. Pp. 246-273. In: Kalter, F., J.O. Jonsson, F. van Tubergen and A. Heath (eds.). 2018. Growing up in Diverse Europe: The Integration of the Children of Immigrants in England, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden. Oxford: Oxford University Press/British Academy. [PDF]
De Hoon, S. and F. van Tubergen. 2014. “The Religiosity of Children of Immigrants and Natives in England, Germany and the Netherlands: The Role of Parents and Peers in Class.” European Sociological Review, 30(2), 194-206. [PDF]
Van der Pol, J. and F. van Tubergen. 2014. “Inheritance of religiosity among Muslim immigrants in a secular society.” Review of Religious Research, 56(1), 87-106. [PDF]
Van Tubergen, F. 2013. “Religious Change of New Immigrants in the Netherlands: The Event of Migration.” Social Science Research, 42(3), 715-725. [PDF]
Immerzeel, T. and F. van Tubergen. 2013. “Religion as Reassurance? Testing the Insecurity Theory in 26 European Countries.” European Sociological Review, 29(2), 359-372. [PDF]
Van Tubergen, F. and J.I. Sindradóttir. 2011. “The Religiosity of Immigrants in Europe: A Cross-National Study.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 50(2), 272-288. [PDF]
Smits, F., S. Ruiter and F. van Tubergen. 2010. “Religious Practices Among Islamic Immigrants: Moroccan and Turkish Men in Belgium” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 49(2), 247-263. [PDF]
Ruiter, S. and F. van Tubergen. 2009. “Religious Attendance in Cross-National Perspective: A Multilevel Analysis of 60 Countries.” American Journal of Sociology, 115(3), 863-895. [PDF]
Van Tubergen, F. 2007. “Religious Affiliation and Participation among Immigrants in a Secular Society: A Study of Immigrants in the Netherlands.” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 33(5), 747-65. [PDF]
Van Tubergen, F. 2006. “Religious Affiliation and Participation among Immigrants in Eight Western Countries: A Cross-National Study of Individual and Contextual Effects.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 45, 1-22. [PDF]
Language is, next to religion, another key element of cultural integration. For many people, migrating to another country leads to all kinds of challenges, and learning a new language is certainly one of them. Even after living in the host country for ten years, many immigrants cannot speak or write in the second language very well. The costs of not being proficient in the second language are often significant: lack of social connections with ethnic majority members, limited job opportunities, etc. Some immigrants, however, learn the second language very fast. An important question for sociologists and policy makers is therefore: what are the determinants of immigrants’ second-language proficiency? In several studies I tried to find an answer to that question.
Van Tubergen, F. and T. Mentjox. 2014. “Minority Language Proficiency of Adolescent Immigrant Children in Four European Countries.” Kölner Zeitschrift für Soziologie und Sozial Psychologie (Suppl), 66, 241-262. [PDF]
Van Tubergen, F. and M. Wierenga. 2011. “Language Acquisition of Male Immigrants in a Multilingual Destination: Turks and Moroccans in Belgium” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 37(7), 1039-1057. [PDF]
Van Tubergen, F. 2010. “Determinants of Second Language Proficiency among Refugees in the Netherlands” Social Forces, 89(2), 515-534. [PDF]
Van Tubergen, F. and M. Kalmijn. 2009. “A Dynamic Approach to the Determinants of Immigrants’ Language Proficiency: The United States, 1980-2000.” International Migration Review, 43, 519-543. [PDF]
Van Tubergen, F. and M. Kalmijn. 2009. “Language Use and Proficiency of Immigrants in the Netherlands: Opportunities or Incentives?” European Sociological Review, 25, 169-182. [PDF]
Van Tubergen, F. and M. Kalmijn. 2005. “Destination-Language Proficiency in Cross-National Perspective: A Study of Immigrant Groups in Nine Western Countries.” American Journal of Sociology, 110, 1412-57. [PDF]
Economic integration is the third dimension of integration, and it indicates the similarity between ethnic minority and majority groups in realizing valued goals, such as getting a job and a good income. In my work, I try to find out how large the ‘ethnic penalties’ are in western labor markets, and how strongly this disadvantage is driven by the lack of returns to qualifications obtained abroad, ethnic discrimination and the role of social capital.
Spörlein, C. and F. van Tubergen. 2014. “The Occupational Status of Immigrants in Western and non-Western Societies.” International Journal of Comparative Sociology, 55(2), 119-143. [PDF]
Kanas, A. and F. van Tubergen. 2014. “The Conditional Returns to Origin-Country Human Capital among Turkish and Moroccan Immigrants in Belgium.” Social Science Research, 46, 130-141. [PDF]
Seibel, V. and F. van Tubergen. 2013. “Job Search Methods among Non-Western Immigrants in the Netherlands.” Journal of Immigrant and Refugee Studies, 11(3), 241-258. [PDF]
Kanas, A., B. Chiswick, T. van der Lippe and F. van Tubergen. 2012. “Social Contacts and the Economic Performance of Immigrants: A Panel Study of Immigrants in Germany.” International Migration Review, 46(3), 680-709. [PDF]
Van Tubergen, F. 2011. “Job Search Methods of Refugees in the Netherlands: Determinants and Consequences.” Journal of Immigrant and Refugee Studies, 9(2), 179-195. [PDF]
Kanas, A., F. van Tubergen and T. van der Lippe. 2011. “The Role of Social Contacts in the Employment Status of Immigrants: A Panel Study of Immigrants in Germany.” International Sociology, 26(1), 95-122. [PDF]
De Vroome, T. and F. van Tubergen. 2010. “The Employment Experience of Refugees in the Netherlands.” International Migration Review, 44(2), 376-403. [PDF]
Kanas, A. and F. van Tubergen. 2009. “The Impact of Origin- and Host-Country Schooling on the Economic Performance of Immigrants.” Social Forces, 88(2), 893-916. [PDF]
Kanas, A., F. van Tubergen and T. van der Lippe. 2009. “Immigrant Self-Employment: Testing Hypotheses about the Role of Origin- and Host-Country Human Capital and Bonding and Bridging Social Capital.” Work and Occupations, 36, 181-208. [PDF]
Van Tubergen, F. 2008. “The Impact of the Partner on the Economic Incorporation of Male and Female Immigrants: Household Specialization or Social Capital?” Kölner Zeitschrift für Soziologie und Sozial Psychologie (special issue), 307-324. [PDF]
Van Tubergen, F. 2006. “Occupational Status of Immigrants in Cross-National Perspective: A Multilevel Analysis of 17 Western Societies.” Pp. 147-171 in: Immigration and the Transformation of Europe, edited by G. Parsons and T. Smeeding. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. [PDF]
Van Tubergen, F. 2005. “Self-Employment of Immigrants: A Cross-National Study of 17 Western Societies.” Social Forces, 84, 709-32. [PDF]
Van Tubergen, F., I. Maas, and H. Flap. 2004. “The Economic Incorporation of Immigrants in 18 Western Societies: Origin, Destination, and Community Effects.” American Sociological Review, 69, 701-24. [PDF]
Geven, S., M. Kalmijn and F. van Tubergen. 2016. “The ethnic composition of schools and students’ problem behaviour: the role of friends.” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 42(9), 1473-1495. [PDF]
Emonds, V. and F. van Tubergen. 2015. “Mixed Parents, Mixed Results: Testing the Effects of Cross-Nativity Partnership on Children’s Educational Attainment.” Sociological Perspectives, 58(2), 145-167. [PDF]
Van Tubergen, F. and H. van de Werfhorst. 2007. “Postimmigration Investments in Education: A Study of Immigrants in the Netherlands.” Demography, 44, 883-898. [PDF]
Van de Werfhorst, H. and F. van Tubergen. 2007. “Ethnicity, Schooling and Merit in the Netherlands.” Ethnicities, 7(3), 416-444. [PDF]