Education deficiency means lower income for immigrant men

15/05/2007 15:00

The average income of 25-29 year-old men with a non-western foreign background in the Netherlands is around 30 percent lower than that of their native Dutch peers. A considerable part of this difference is caused by their lower educational levels.

Moroccan men at the bottom of the income ladder

On average, the income of Moroccan men aged 25–59 years in 2003 was 43 percent lower than that of native Dutch men in this age group. Turkish men had a 34 percent lower income. For Antillean, Aruban and Surinamese men the difference was smaller. 

Personal income of men aged 25–59 years, 2003

Personal income of men aged 25–59 years, 2003

Surinamese and Antilleans more educated than Turks and Moroccans

Turkish and Moroccan men have the lowest levels of education on average. More than half of them have completed only primary education or pre-vocational training. Although Surinamese, Antillean and Aruban men have higher levels of education, they too are not as well educated as native Dutch men.

Men by level of education and ethnic origin, 2004

Men by level of education and ethnic origin, 2004

Education accounts for one third of education deficiency for Turks

Among other things, the income differences are connected with age composition, household composition and working hours. After correction for these factors, the difference in income is smaller. If the level of education is also taken into account, the difference is reduced even further. The effect of education is largest for Turkish men. In this group education deficiency accounts for nearly one third of the lower level of income. For Moroccan men it accounts for about one quarter.

Income difference for Antilleans completely explained

Antilleans and Arubans are the only group who do not have a lower income if differences in age composition, household composition and working hours are taken into account. For the other non-western groups a negative difference of 12 to 16 percent remains after correction for these factors.

Income differences by ethnic origin, men, 2003

Income differences by ethnic origin, men, 2003

Investing in lower drop-out rates

Policies aimed at reducing the education deficiency of non-western groups may reduce the existing inequality. Up to now, measures have been aimed at primary schools. Current policy is trying to reduce the extensive drop-out rates in secondary education, especially among children with a foreign background. 

Hendrika Lautenbach and Ferdy Otten