Nationality, Citizenship, Race, Ethnicity and Migration as Socio-demographic Background Variables in Comparative Social Surveys
Hoffmeyer-Zlotnik, Juergen H.P.
Center for Survey Design and Methodology GESIS - Leibniz-Institute for Social Sciences Germany,
ERDI CEPS/INSTEAD Differdange, Luxembourg
All European national states are characterized by reasonable proportions of resident people not belonging to the national majorities in the countries. In Luxembourg about 37% of the resident population are foreigners; in Estonia about 20% are non-nationals; and the EU-25 average across the member states reports about 5% of the population are foreigners in the countries.
In comparative surveys, we are interested in the social stratification of the European countries and the social inequalities of their population. An increasing mobility of people across the national borders raises the probability to include non-nationals in samples for social surveys. Also, the position of foreigners in stratified social structure and the different chances of integration into the host society becomes an important issue in social sciences.
Therefore we need to identify nationality, citizenship, ethnicity and the migration experience of survey respondents for the comparison of the European countries.
We propose a survey instrument that covers four dimensions constituting the ethnical inequality in the societies:
The first dimension is citizenship with the main information on the respondent´s right to participate in the social and political life of the state coded as the interviewee´s nationality. For non-nationals, this is completed by the residential status the respondent holds.
The second element covers race and ethnicity where we are interested in the self attributed membership of the respondent to the minority groups of the observed population.
The third dimension collects information on the origin of the surveyed person. The country of birth is the central information. In addition the year of arrival in the host society is of interest. In this section of the questionnaire we propose to ask about the naturalization.
The forth useful variables inform about the use of languages at home; this can be interpreted as an indicator on "assimilation" to the host culture.
The fifth block on questions collects the information about the migration background.