Family Context and Personal Social Networks of Refugees in Germany

Lenore Sauer , Federal Institute for Population Research (BiB)
Elisabeth K. Kraus, Federal Institute for Population Research

Although the numbers of forcibly displaced persons worldwide has increased substantially over the last years, studies on refugee populations in European destination countries are still sparse, especially concerning refugee families. Particularly in the context of forced migration, family members play a crucial role in regard to integration and participation in the country of destination. However, if family and kinship relationships are regarded as an integration alternative and all social contacts take place within kinship networks, familial ties can become an obstacle to integration. Although researchers have acknowledged the ambivalent role of families, few have observed the interrelation between family structure, family members’ place of residence and the size and composition of personal social networks. Fewer still have observed this phenomenon among refugees. We aim to fill this research gap by making use of the Refugee Sample of the German Socio-Economic Panel (IAB-BAMF-SOEP). Applying descriptive statistics as well as logistic regression models, we analyze the interrelation between different family arrangements, whereabouts of close family members and the composition of personal social networks and to what extent they are shaped by other personal and structural characteristics. Preliminary results reveal that networks consisting of non-family members and networks consisting of persons originating from Germany are associated with family members’ place of residence as well as family size. Moreover, not only sex, age at arrival, duration of stay, country/region of origin, education, but also German language proficiency and identification with country of origin determine the composition of personal social networks.

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 Presented in Session 70. Migrant Populations