Intergenerational Transfer in Russian-Israeli Immigrant Families: Parental Social Mobility and Children's Integration

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Existing research on immigrant youth in North America and Europe points to the salient role of parental pre-migration socio-economic status for the second generation's integration. Israel offers a unique opportunity to examine inter-generational transfer, drawing on the experiences of former Soviet immigrants. The study explored parent-child influences in terms of educational attainment and social mobility among 40 immigrant families, of whom half were status-stable or upwardly mobile and half downwardly mobile in the new country. The findings suggest that parental success or failure to maintain or improve their occupational and social status upon migration has a strong bearing upon the children, although not always in the predictable direction. In most cases, the upwardly mobile first generation boosted their children's motivation for integration and success. However, children of downwardly mobile immigrants were driven to compensate for their parents' status losses by overcoming barriers and improving their educational and labour-market outcomes. Thus, not only the first generation's human capital but also the returns on their skills and social mobility in the host country are important in the successful integration of the second generation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1533-1550
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Ethnic and Migration Studies
Issue number10
StatePublished - Dec 2012


  • Human Capital
  • Immigrant Generations
  • Israel
  • Occupational and Social Mobility

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Demography
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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