Project Project
Print Mail page to friend
-A +A

Six Country Immigrant Integration Comparative Survey (SCIICS)

Project Management
Evelyn Ersanilli (University of Oxford)
external staff member:
Verena Seibel
guest researcher and PhD candidate at Berlin Graduate School of Social Science

Theoretical background and objectives

This project aims to investigate the effect of three different types of contextual effects on immigrant integration: those related to the regions of origin of immigrants (e.g., levels of religiosity and socio-economic prosperity), those related to the localities in which they have settled within the country of immigration (e.g., levels of immigrant concentration and local unemployment), and those related to the national contexts of the countries of immigration (e.g., citizenship and welfare state regimes). It does so by comparing the levels of structural and socio-cultural integration of Turkish immigrants in six countries (Germany, France, Netherlands, Austria, Belgium, and Sweden) and Moroccan immigrants in four countries (Germany, France, Netherlands, Austria). The study includes a comparison group of natives.

The countries covered by the study represent different integration models and citizenship regimes. They vary in their degree of granting individual, cultural and religious group rights to migrants. The study has a quasi-experimental nature insofar as the immigrant sample includes only immigrants from the guest-worker period and their offspring, and half of the immigrant sample comes from a selected number of provinces in the country of origin. This design minimises the role of migration period and ensures that there is sufficient overlap between the samples in the different countries in terms of regions of origin. Topics of the survey range from labour market position and education to identification, segregation, interethnic social contacts, religiosity and attitudes towards cultural preservation. The native sample moreover includes questions about attitudes towards immigrants.

Research design, methodology and outlook

Data were collected in a bilingual phone survey during the first half of 2008. In each country, a minimum of 500 respondents for each group was surveyed, resulting in a total number of 9 365 valid observations. The data set has been supplemented with a broad set of context data on the ethnic composition of the local resident population, the regional labour market situation in the host country, and certain cultural and political aspects in the respondent's origin provinces, gathered from various official statistics. All respondents had the choice to answer the interview questions in either the host country or their origin country language. The study thus avoids the drawbacks of other international studies conducted only in the host country language, by ensuring the inclusion of all groups of migrants, even of those with poor host country language command.


Koopmans, Ruud (2014): "Religious Fundamentalism and Hostility against Out-groups: A Comparison of Muslims and Christians in Western Europe". In: Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies,
advance access, 21.07.2014, online:

Koopmans, Ruud (2014): Religious Fundamentalism and Out-Group Hostility among Muslims and Christians in Western Europe. WZB Discussion Paper SP VI 2014-101. Berlin: WZB.


Helbling, Marc (2014): Opposing Muslims and the Muslim Headscarf in Western Europe. In: European Sociological Review, Vol. 30, No. 2: 242-257. (First published online: January 13, 2014, doi: 10.1093/esr/jct038)


This article reveals that while Muslims have a surprisingly good reputation in Western Europe, the wearing of the headscarf in schools is opposed by a large majority of people. Several arguments are developed in this article to explain why people make a distinction between Muslims as a group and legislation on their religious practices. While attitudes towards Muslims vary little across countries, there is a lot of variation in levels of opposition to the headscarf. It appears that the more state and church are separated in a country or the more a state discriminates against religious groups the more opposed people are to allowing new religious practices in schools. At the individual level this article will test the extent to which general xenophobic attitudes, liberal values, and religiosity help us understand why attitudes differ. The article will show, among other things, that religious people are opposed to Muslims but not the rules that allow them to practice their religion. On the other hand, people with liberal values are tolerant of Muslims as a group but feel torn when it comes to legislation on religious practices such as the wearing of the headscarf, which for some people stands for the illiberal values of Islam. Data from a survey in six Western European countries will be analysed. Despite all the heated political debates this is one of the first studies that analyses attitudes towards Muslim immigrants across a number of countries, and for the first time attitudes towards Muslims as a group and legislation on the headscarf are compared.

Carol, Sarah/Ersanili, Evelyn/Wagner, Mareike (2014): Spousal Choice among the Children of Turkish and Moroccan Immigrants in Six European Countries. Transnational Spouse or Co-Ethnic Migrant?. In: International Migration Review, advance access, 18.02.2014, online:


Transnational marriages of migrants in Western Europe tend to be seen as hampering integration. In response, policies have been tightened, despite little knowledge on transnational marriages and the effects of such measures. This paper investigates the role of individual preferences and contextual factors such as family reunification policies, group size and development levels of the regions of origin in partner choice of the children of Turkish and Moroccan immigrants. We draw on a novel dataset collected in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Sweden. Our findings suggest that transnational marriages are partly associated with contextual factors such as a rural origin and family reunification policies. The analysis indicates higher rates of transnational marriages under open family reunification policies, providing tentative evidence of policy effects. On the individual level, the choice of a partner from the parents' origin country is associated with religiosity.


Lancee, Bram/Seibel, Verena (2013). Does Rural Origin Affect Immigrants' Contact with Natives? A Study of Turks in Six European Countries. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 1-23. DOI 10.1080/1369183X.2013.858591 (published online: 14 Nov 2013)


This paper analyses differences in rural and urban origin in visits from natives and the occurrence of interethnic marriages of Turkish immigrants in six European countries. We argue that values and human capital explain the relationship between rural-urban
origin and contact with natives. The value-based hypothesis stipulates that differences in contact with natives are due to values and predispositions that correlate with people’s rural and urban origin. The human capital hypothesis predicts that variation between rural and urban origin can be ascribed to differences in human capital accumulation. Using the Six Country Immigrant Incorporation Comparative Survey (SCIICS), the results show that Turkish immigrants with a rural origin have fewer visits from natives and are less likely to intermarry. Furthermore, educational attainment, destination country language proficiency, religious identification and identification with the origin culture explain a substantial part of the rural origin effect. However, also when accounting for values and human capital, we find a significant direct effect of rural origin, suggesting that rural and urban immigrants build social relations differently.

Ersanilli, Evelyn/Koopmans, Ruud (2013): The Six Country Immigrant Integration Comparative Survey (SCIICS) - Technical Report. WZB Discussion Paper SP VI 2013-102. Berlin: WZB.


The Six Country Immigrant Integration Comparative Survey (SCIICS) is a large-scale telephone survey conducted in 2008. The aim was to collect comparable data across European countries (the Netherlands, Germany, France, Belgium, Austria and Sweden) with different integration policies as well as variation on other variables to enable testing for contextual effects. SCIICS was designed to maximize cross-national data comparability by reducing sources of confounding variance. It employs a double-comparative design which looks at two immigrant groups (Turks and Moroccans) and a comparison group of natives from the six countries mentioned above. The immigrant target groups have been narrowed down to people who migrated in the guest-worker era (before 1975) and their children and grandchildren who were either born in the survey country or moved there before turning 18. To further increase comparability, half of the sample is subjected to an additional regional selection criterion – having an origin in East- or Central Anatolian provinces in Turkey or the former Spanish protectorate in Morocco. The sample was drawn from online telephone directories using onomastic methods. Mobile phone numbers were included as much as possible. In total, nearly

9,000 completed surveys were collected (3,373 native; 3,344 Turkish origin; 2,204 Moroccan origin). This paper discusses the research design, challenges in data collection, and response rates. It also presents the questionnaires and sources of context data.


Höhne, Jutta (2013): Language integration of labour migrants
in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden from a historical perspective.
WZB Discussion Paper SP VI 2013-101. Berlin: WZB.

The paper investigates the language integration of adult labour migrants in six major West‐European immigration countries (Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden) for the period between 1965 and the mid‐1990s. Results reveal quite different national approaches to the problem. Whereas in Sweden, France and Germany, migrants' linguistic integration was addressed by state authorities well ahead of establishing integration policy as a governmental task, the other countries under study ignored immigrants’ possible language problems until the early or even late 1980s. Compared to the intense and sophisticated contemporary integration courses, the didactic quality of language courses taught between the 1960s‐1990s was overall rather poor, and course durations were quite short. Best‐practice standards had been set since the early years of labor migration by Sweden where the government financed language courses already from 1965 on. The countries (the Netherlands, Belgium and Austria) that were already reluctant in the early years to set up language courses for immigrants still provide comparably less state‐funded language tuition to immigrants today.

Other output

Teney, Céline/ Lessard-Phillips, Laurence/ Fleischmann, Fenella/ Ersanilli, Evelyn (2011): Surveying first and second generation immigrants across European countries: Experiences from two comparative surveys, European Survey Research Association Conference, Lausanne, 22 July 2011.