Contextual effects on educational outcomes: neighbourhood characteristics and the ethnic density effect on educational attainment among the second generation in Belgium
Faculty of Social Sciences. Sociology
Louvain-la-Neuve :Université catholique de Louvain-la-Neuve, 2008
Chair Quetelet, 2008
Drawing on a sample from the 1991 Belgian Census, we examine the structural neighbourhood conditions under which a positive effect of ethnic density on educational attainment occurs. Previous research showed that, in general, living in a neighbourhood with more co-ethnics positively influenced the chances to successfully finish secondary education among both native and second generation immigrant students. In this study, we show that among the three most important ethnic minority groups in Belgium, this ethnic density effect is contingent on the stability of their residential communities: where residential mobility, urbanisation and the share of single households are low and home ownership rates are high, a positive effect of ethnic density on educational attainment is observed. Decreasing stability in terms of these four characteristics, however, cancels out the positive effect of ethnic density among the ethnic minorities. A comparison of the types of neighbourhoods in which the three largest ethnic minority groups in Belgium the Italians, Moroccans and Turks live, shows that Moroccans are least likely to profit from the positive effect of co-ethnic concentration due to living in the most urbanised, least stable residential areas.