Migration Background and Social Well-Being: The Role of Trust in Others

Anne-Kristin Kuhnt, Universit├Ąt Duisburg-Essen
Annelene Wengler, Robert Koch Institute

So far we know only little about differences in social well-being between migrants and non-migrants living in Germany, especially regarding variations between subgroups of migrants (e.g. different generations, times of residency). Using data from the GGS (Generations and Gender Survey) we are able to analyse the social well-being of around 4,000 Turkish migrants in Germany and compare them to around 10,000 German natives.

We argue that social well-being differs between migrants and autochthonous population since the migration process is associated with stress in different life domains and the reduction of social contacts. We focus on subjective measures of social-wellbeing because the individual need for social contacts and interaction with others differ between single persons. These measures are: assessment of closeness, social support, feeling the need of contact to other people, sense of belonging, and trust in others.

Through factor analysis we identify three relevant concepts of social well-being: closeness & support, sense of belonging, and trust in others. Observing first and second generation migrants shows that in all three concepts the social well-being of Turkish migrants is below the level of social well-being of the autochthonous population, even if controlling for age, sex, education, unemployment, partner status, number of children, religion, and health status in the regression models. Differences are highest between the first generation and the autochthonous population, while the second generation is in between. An exception to this is the trust in others. It is lowest for the second generation and highest for the autochthonous group. Further analyses show differences by gender and age. Concluding, findings suggest inequalities in social well-being between Turkish migrants and the autochthonous population, even though convergence between second generation and the autochthonous population hints towards processes of adaptation.

Presented in Session 85: Social Capital and Wellbeing Among Immigrants