Iranians making good progress with integration

03/10/2006 14:00

Among the largest groups of refugees living in the Netherlands, Iranians seems to be making the most progress integrating in the population. To a slightly lesser extent this is also true of Afghans. The picture is slightly less favourable for Somalis. These findings are among those published in the Integration monitor 2006, in which the Research and Documentation Centre of the Ministry of Justice (WODC) and Statistics Netherlands describe the social integration of people with a foreign background in the Netherlands.

Four large refugee groups

Some population groups with a non-western background consist mostly of people who came to the Netherlands as political refugees. At the beginning of 2006 the four largest refugee groups were Iraqis (44 thousand people), Afghans (37 thousand), Iranians (29 thousand) and Somalis (20 thousand). Together they account for 7.5 percent of all people with a non-western foreign background living in the Netherlands

Second generation still small

As the immigration of these refugees only started in the nineties, the proportion of people in these groups born in the Netherlands (the second generation) is still small. This second generation is also very young, with an average age of younger than 10 years.

Children doing well in primary education

Children of refugees are doing well in primary education. Iranian girls and boys and Afghan boys in particular score well in the Cito test, a test taken at most primary schools in the last year of primary education. In 2004 their scores on this test were better than the average of all non-western groups. Somali children had a lower score on average.

Achievement on Cito test, 2004

Refugees less likely to have paid work

Just over 40 percent of Iranians had paid employment. For Somalis this was less than 25 percent. The percentage of all refugee groups with a paid job was lower than the average for the total non-western population. However, it should be taken into account that refugees have spent the shortest time in the Netherlands, and - as asylumseekers – they are not allowed to have paid employment right away. The percentage receiving a benefit was indeed relatively high. The Iranians were an exception in this respect.

Jobs and benefits, 15 to 65 year-olds, 2004

Refugee groups live in mixed neighbourhoods

Relatively more people from refugee groups live in neighbourhoods with few non-western foreigners. This means they have more contact with native Dutch people than other non-western population groups. This factor may have a positive effect on the integration of these groups. 

Somalis relatively often charged with criminal behaviour

Problems that may occur in immigrant groups are often reflected by the percentage of people charged with a criminal offence. This was relatively low for first generation Afghans: less than 3 percent. For Somalis it was considerably higher. For the first generation this was nearly 8 percent.

First generation refugees charged with criminal behaviour 2004

Ko Oudhof and Rik van der Vliet