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CHANGING POPULACE

Fifty percent of second-generation immigrants say they feel Spanish

Differences in education and employment aspirations now minimal, says study

Second-generation students at Barcelona's Eugeni D'Ors school. Ampliar foto
Second-generation students at Barcelona's Eugeni D'Ors school.

Spain "is no longer a country of immigrants," says Alejandro Portes, co-author of a report on integration among second-generation immigrants. In a study carried out by the Ortega y Gasset University Institute and Princeton University, a comparison between the same target group in 2008 and 2012 shows a 20 percent increase in the number of second-generation children who feel Spanish - from 30 percent to 50 percent.

The percentage is much higher among those born in Spain, 80 percent, in comparison to children who arrived in the country at a young age. "These results show a slow but positive advance in terms of integration," says Portes. This "favorable" process, says Rosa Aparicio of Ortega y Gasset, is also attributable to greater acceptance by Spanish society: less than 10 percent of immigrant children have felt discriminated against.

In the 2008 survey, Latin Americans felt the greatest identification with Spain. In the 2012 poll, it was Filipinos and Bulgarians who felt Spanish in the greatest majority, while Chinese and Bolivians felt being uprooted most keenly: "Maybe because of their longer relationship with their own community," says Aparicio.

Second-generation immigrants share career and education ambitions with young Spaniards: 70 percent wish to study at university although modest family incomes mean their expectation of being able to do so is only 57 percent. Of those surveyed in 2008 aged 17 and 18, 80 percent were still studying in some form in 2012, but only a "privileged five percent" had reached university while "a third were still trying to finish secondary education or vocational programs," says Princeton's Portes.

The Chinese children who stay at school get better results than anyone else"

The study noted that Spanish children, Argentineans, Chileans and Filipinos stayed in education longer than Dominicans and Chinese. The latter "have an interesting profile," says Portes. "Chinese children are among the groups who leave school in the largest numbers to join the family business. However, those who stay at school advance further and get better results than anyone else."

The average grade among second-generation immigrants is 6.15 out of 10, just half a percentage point lower than the Spanish median. Those with the highest marks are western European immigrants, while Bolivians, Dominicans and Moroccans generally scrape through. However, school drop-out rates and youth unemployment are very similar between Spaniards and second-generation immigrants.

Despite this, and the relative disadvantages in terms of income, the vast majority of immigrant families are opting "to stay in Spain and ride out the crisis," says the report. Of the people surveyed in 2008, only 1.76 percent were located outside Spanish borders and of these, the report states, most had left the country "to gain university access in their countries of origin or in other countries, and not out of economic necessity."

"The results of our survey do not support alarming or negative conclusions about second-generation integration in Spain. The vast majority of children born in Spain or brought from other countries at a young age stay in Spain and continue their studies," say the authors, who note that "a small minority show signs of downward mobility such as early motherhood or fatherhood and run-ins with the police."

The relative similarity between immigrant and Spanish unemployment and school dropout rates lead to the conclusion that the former "have integrated with Spanish youth and their differences with children of native Spaniards are diminishing with time."

Spain "is no longer a country of immigrants," says Alejandro Portes, co-author of a report on integration among second-generation immigrants. In a study carried out by the Ortega y Gasset University Institute and Princeton University, a comparison between the same target group in 2008 and 2012 shows a 20 percent increase in the number of second-generation children who feel Spanish - from 30 percent to 50 percent.
The percentage is much higher among those born in Spain, 80 percent, in comparison to children who arrived in the country at a young age. "These results show a slow but positive advance in terms of integration," says Portes. This "favorable" process, says Rosa Aparicio of Ortega y Gasset, is also attributable to greater acceptance by Spanish society: less than 10 percent of immigrant children have felt discriminated against.
In the 2008 survey, Latin Americans felt the greatest identification with Spain. In the 2012 poll, it was Filipinos and Bulgarians who felt Spanish in the greatest majority, while Chinese and Bolivians felt being uprooted most keenly: "Maybe because of their longer relationship with their own community," says Aparicio.
Second-generation immigrants share career and education ambitions with young Spaniards: 70 percent wish to study at university although modest family incomes mean their expectation of being able to do so is only 57 percent. Of those surveyed in 2008 aged 17 and 18, 80 percent were still studying in some form in 2012, but only a "privileged five percent" had reached university while "a third were still trying to finish secondary education or vocational programs," says Princeton's Portes.
The study noted that Spanish children, Argentineans, Chileans and Filipinos stayed in education longer than Dominicans and Chinese. The latter "have an interesting profile," says Portes. "Chinese children are among the groups who leave school in the largest numbers to join the family business. However, those who stay at school advance further and get better results than anyone else."
The average grade among second-generation immigrants is 6.15 out of 10, just half a percentage point lower than the Spanish median. Those with the highest marks are western European immigrants, while Bolivians, Dominicans and Moroccans generally scrape through. However, school drop-out rates and youth unemployment are very similar between Spaniards and second-generation immigrants.
Despite this, and the relative disadvantages in terms of income, the vast majority of immigrant families are opting "to stay in Spain and ride out the crisis," says the report. Of the people surveyed in 2008, only 1.76 percent were located outside Spanish borders and of these, the report states, most had left the country "to gain university access in their countries of origin or in other countries, and not out of economic necessity."
"The results of our survey do not support alarming or negative conclusions about second-generation integration in Spain. The vast majority of children born in Spain or brought from other countries at a young age stay in Spain and continue their studies," say the authors, who note that "a small minority show signs of downward mobility such as early motherhood or fatherhood and run-ins with the police."
The relative similarity between immigrant and Spanish unemployment and school dropout rates lead to the conclusion that the former "have integrated with Spanish youth and their differences with children of native Spaniards are diminishing with time."