The integration paradox: The association between education and host society disengagement among immigrant groups in the Netherlands.
Aa, H. van der
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Background This study analyses the integration paradox, the phenomenon that higher-educated immigrants are turning away from the host society instead of becoming more oriented towards it. By using the relative deprivation theory and the theory of exposure to explain this phenomenon, the relation between educational level, perceived discrimination and host society disengagement is investigated. In addition, ethnic differences in this relation between the four largest immigrant groups in the Netherlands are examined. Methods The integration paradox is investigated within the Dutch context among a large sample (N = 2499) of immigrants, by using data of Survey Integration Minorities (SIM2015). First and second-generation immigrant adults of Moroccan, Turkish, Surinamese and Antillean origin are included. Data were analysed through correlations, parametric and nonparametric tests. Results This study reveals that the integration paradox, which has been repeatedly identified in previous research, cannot be found among immigrant adults in the Netherlands with more recent data. Higher education is directly associated with lower host society disengagement. Nevertheless, findings do reveal that the higher immigrants’ educational level, the more personal discrimination they perceive. Finally, while results show that there are ethnic differences in group discrimination and in host society disengagement, the negative association between education and disengagement was not different for the four immigrant groups. Conclusions The findings indicate that the integration paradox cannot be considered a paradox in this study. However, higher-educated immigrants are thereby not automatically protected against discrimination. This evidence therefore forms the basis for suggestions for future research and policy implications.