Cultural Integration of First-Generation Immigrants: Evidence from European Union Countries


  • Eleftherios Giovanis Izmir Bakircay University
  • Sacit Hadi Akdede Izmir Bakircay University


Cultural Integration, Discrete Choice Models, First-Generation Immigrants, International Migration, Integration, Multiculturalism


In this study, we aim to explore and compare the frequency of attendance, and the reasons for non-attendance to cultural activities between natives and first-generation immigrants in Belgium, France, Italy, Spain, Sweden, and the UK. The empirical analysis relies on data derived from the special module on cultural participation in the European Union-Income and Living Conditions Survey (EU-SILC) in 2015. We apply discrete choice models, such as the ordered Probit and multinomial Probit models. The results vary across the countries, as in some cases natives and immigrants are less likely to participate in cultural activities because of financial difficulties, while immigrants in areas with high net migration rates show more interest in the cultural activities explored. Age, health conditions, wealth, household income, employment status, and education level, significantly influence the participation in cultural activities. The results highlight that social interactions depend on several factors related mainly to the country of destination, employment opportunities and area effects, and of individual factors related to the migrant, including demographic and economic characteristics, and the length of residence in the host country. The findings show that the length of residence of immigrants in the host countries is positively correlated with a higher frequency of attendance, indicating that cultural participation can be by its nature a long-term process or “experienced” activity. This study contributes to the literature by exploring the determinants of cultural participation and comparing the frequency of participation in cultural activities between natives and first-generation immigrants. Furthermore, the study explores the reasons of non-participation in cultural activities highlighting potential differences between countries and between the European Union (EU) and non-EU migrants. The findings show that in most of the cases, migrants do not attend the cultural activities we explore because of financial constraints, and not due to lack of interest. Thus, this highlights that the economic integration of migrants could be the main driver of cultural participation and integration.