Feeling European: an exploration of ethnic disparities among immigrants

Céline Teney*, Laurie Hanquinet, Katharina Bürkin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Over the last 20 years, European identity has become a key topic widely investigated in social sciences. However, most research has only focused on EU nationals and EU immigrants, neglecting the fact that a substantial segment of citizens in Europe are non-EU immigrants. This article explores the differences between and within EU and non-EU immigrant groups in terms of European identity and potential factors behind these differences. Based on the 2013 IAB-SOEP Migration Sample of first generation immigrants in Germany (N = 2581), this paper reveals that non-EU immigrants tend to identify as European – even if to a lesser extent than EU immigrants. Moreover it provides a systematic comparative exploration of different factors possibly able to foster a European identity among EU and non-EU immigrants. It reveals, for instance, that religious affiliation has no significant impact but that spatial mobility is especially important in accounting for patterns in ethnic disparities in the endorsement of a European identity. Furthermore, this article illuminates a positive association between European identity and identity with the receiving society among both EU and non-EU immigrants as well as a positive association between European identity and identification with the origin country among EU immigrants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2182-2204
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Ethnic and Migration Studies
Issue number13
Early online date4 Apr 2016
Publication statusPublished - 20 Oct 2016

Bibliographical note

© 2016 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an author-produced version of the published paper. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self-archiving policy. Further copying may not be permitted; contact the publisher for details.


  • assimilation
  • EU free movers
  • European identity
  • immigrants
  • spatial mobility

Cite this