Promoting the Well-Being of Immigrant Youth
The well-being of immigrant youth — of the first or second generation — is intimately tied up with their socio-economic status and success; in turn, their success and how immigrant youth relate to the society around them are important elements of social cohesion and well-being for those societies. Institutional settings, in relation to immigrants and to Welfare State structures more broadly, as well as the policies adopted within those settings, vary greatly from one developed country to the next. This opens up the potential for studying key outcomes for immigrant youth in a comparative perspective, and learning about which settings and policies appear to be more versus less effective in promoting their well-being and capitalizing on their potential. This paper sets out a framework for such an analytical exercise, drawing on recent research and monitoring efforts in the related areas of multidimensional well-being, social inclusion/exclusion, and child well-being. It then seeks to place some key findings from the disparate social science research literature on immigration and youth (principally drawing on economics and sociology) within that framework. This serves to bring out both the potential and the difficulties associated with this approach to teasing out “what works” for immigrant youth. In conclusion, the paper points to the major gaps in knowledge and what is required to make progress in learning from disparate country experiences about how best to promote the well-being on immigrant youth.
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