Inequality research beyond migration background?

Analysis of the consequences for empirical inequality research if migration background is replaced as a category

Data-Method-Monitoring Cluster

Project head: Dr. Jannes Jacobsen

Project team members: Rahaf Gharz Addien

Running time January 2023 until June 2024
Status Current project

"Is the migration background still sustainable?" This is the question that titles the last chapter of the current report of the Federal Government's Expert Commission on the Framework Conditions for Integration Capability in Germany "Shaping the Immigration Society Together" (Expert Commission on Integration Capability, 2021). In it, the Expert Commission addresses the debate that has been taking place in German migration research for several years on the use and recording of the (statistical) concept of migration background (Will, 2018) and discusses alternative categories at both the definitional and recording levels.

Migration background is a central marker along which social inequality is examined in Germany. If this marker is changed, it can be assumed that the result of inequality, i.e. its empirical "size", will also change. So far it is unclear whether replacing the migration background according to the microcensus makes inequalities invisible, makes them visible or has only a minor effect on the observation of social inequality.

This project aims to compile a series of new markers for recording migration biographies and to pay attention to them during empirical testing with regard to their ability to make social inequality visible. In this way, the research project ties in with international academic research on this complex of topics (Jacobs et al. 2009; Gresch and Kristen 2011).

Funding: Federal Ministry of Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (Institutional funding)