Poverty and Housing Overcrowding Among Immigrant Children in an Emerging Destination Country: Evidence from Finland

Ilari Ilmakunnas, Finnish National Institute for Health and Welfare
Ognjen Obucina, INED

The aim of this paper is to analyze the patterns of income poverty and housing overcrowding among immigrant children in Finland, with a particular focus on the standard of living in the first years of settlement. We also seek to explore whether and to what degree foreign-born children are disadvantaged relative to native children in terms of income poverty and housing conditions. We use data from a compilation of Finnish registers. More specifically, we use Population register, Family register, and Migration register. The registers are of longitudinal nature and contain yearly information on all individuals who resided in Finland at any point between 1995 and 2014. In addition to the country of birth, we also have information on mother tongue, which enables us to use a more fine-grained classification of immigrant groups. We distinguish between four different types of income poverty trajectories in the first five years after arrival in Finland: 1) no experience of poverty, 2) not poor in at least three out of five years, 3) poor in at least three out of five years, and 4) poor in all five years. An analogous classification is applied when looking at housing overcrowding. The relative disadvantage of immigrant children relative to native children is more pronounced in terms of income poverty than in terms of housing. However, the former has been fairly stable since 1995, whereas the latter has been gradually increasing. The most frequent outcome in terms of income poverty is no experience of poverty, followed by persistent poverty, i.e. poverty in all five years. The same patterns are found for overcrowding. The multivariate analysis, based on the ordered logistic regression, shows a substantial heterogeneity across immigrant groups defined by country of birth, and a modest degree of difference between different language groups originating from the same country.

Presented in Session 85: Social Capital and Wellbeing Among Immigrants