Social Benefits of Migrants in Sweden during Their First Five Years after Arrival

Gerda R. Neyer , Stockholm University
Eleonora Mussino, Stockholm University
Hernan Mondani, Stockholm University

The recent wave of immigration to Europe has spurred discourses on social benefits paid to migrants after arrival. Many consider these payments to burden the welfare state and hamper integration, others regard them as necessary start-ups. To assess their relevance for migrants’ integration process, we use Swedish register data and study the composition and time evolution of social benefits taken up by migrants during the first five years after arrival in Sweden. We concentrate on migrants aged 18-55 and to analyze their social benefit receipt in relation to employment. We concentrate on the cohorts arriving in 2005 (pre-recession cohort) and in 2010 (recession cohort). In the first step, we apply sequence analysis and distinguish between income from work, employment-related social benefits (unemployment, parental-leave, study loan) and poverty-related benefits (housing assistance, income maintenance benefits). Our first results show that work is the dominant income source for men and women, and the work-benefit distribution is very similar among the two cohorts. Over time the share of benefit decreases markedly, but benefits often remain supplements to work. The sequences reveal clear gender-specific patterns of benefit uptake and benefit evolution over time. Women show a slower transition from social benefits to work, patch benefits more, have longer uptakes of employment-related social benefits (due to parental leave), but much shorter usage of social assistance than men. In our further analyses we will apply logistic regression and include comparative groups of Swedes to examine whether these patterns are structural or migrant-specific.

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 Presented in Session 71. Immigrants' Structural Integration I: Labour Market