Immigrants’ Subjective Integration: Life Satisfaction Among Immigrants in Italy
Angela Paparusso, Institute of research on population and social policies CNR-IRPPS
Elena Ambrosetti, Sapienza Università di Roma
Our study draws on the Survey on Social Condition and Integration of Migrants in Italy carried out by ISTAT in 2011-2012. We subset our sample to individuals aged 14 years and over, foreign born and foreign born naturalized Italian. The total sample is 15,709. We perform a stepwise ordered logistic regression.
As dependent variable, we will analyze immigrants’ self-reported life satisfaction. Respondents were asked the following question: could you please tell me on a scale of 0 to 10 how satisfied you are with your life as a whole? 0 means you are very dissatisfied and 10 means you are very satisfied.
We will operationalize several independent variables. Among the demographic variables, we will select (a) respondents’ age; (b) age squared; (c) gender, (d) marital status. Then, (e) area of origin, (f) cultural similarity. For what concerns the human capital variables, we will select (g) current economic situation; (h) perceived financial well-being, (i) educational attainment. For the so-called ‘immigration’ variables, we will select three variables. First, (l) years since migration, (m) years since migration squared. Third, (n) immigrants’ period of arrival. Forth, (o) legal status.
The results of the preliminary multivariate analysis show that self-reported life satisfaction strongly depends on immigrants’ demographic characteristics and human capital factors, such as age, marital status, current economic situation and perceived financial well-being. Nevertheless, when controlling for ‘immigration’ variables, the association between life satisfaction and demographic and human capital variables changes, thus proving that not only factors at origin (immigrants’ background characteristics), but also conditions at destination are important in determining immigrants’ self-reported life satisfaction. In particular, legal status plays a significant role in defining immigrants’ life satisfaction, thus demonstrating that the ensemble of rights, resources and restrictions immigrants find into the country of residence shapes their satisfaction with life and, therefore, their subjective integration (e.g. Morris, 2001; Vertovec, 2007). Therefore, our preliminary results provide support for the importance of the individual determinants in explaining immigrants’ satisfaction with life into the residence country. The concurrent role played by demographic, human capital and ‘immigration’ variables in explaining immigrants’ self-reported life satisfaction and, therefore, their integration into the residence country provides evidence for the dynamic, multidimensional and bidirectional character of the integration process in immigrants’ receiving countries.