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1.5.2010 | Von:
Susanne Worb

Six Approaches

The following sections provide an overview of these forms of monitoring on the basis of seven characteristics. It should be noted that they are at different stages of development.
Einbürgerung von Migranten im Bonner Alten Rathaus. Hier: Ein junger Student der Volkswirtschaftslehre, türkischer Abstammung, freut sich mit seiner deutschen Freundin über die Einbürgerung.Naturalization of foreign citizens at the town hall in Bonn. (© picture-alliance/dpa)
Reference is made to the following approaches:
  • at the community level, the monitoring of Wiesbaden;
  • at the federal state level, the integration report presented by North Rhine-Westphalia in 2008 as well as the federal states' joint indicator set;
  • at the Federal Government level, the "Integration report" produced by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees as well as the indicator set and the report based on it for the Federal Government Commissioner;
  • and as an example of a non-state report applicable on various regional levels, the study carried out by the Berlin Institute.
Selected monitoring systems: their aim and interpretation of integrationSelected monitoring systems: their aim and interpretation of integration Lizenz: cc by-nc-nd/2.0/de (bpb)
The following sections provide an overview of these forms of monitoring on the basis of seven characteristics. It should be noted that they are at different stages of development. Thus the federal states' joint indicator set has been recently tested in a pilot study; no decision has yet been made as to its final form or the nature of the ensuing reporting. The reports for the Federal Government Commissioner and of the Berlin Institute and the state of NRW have each to date only been presented once, whereas Wiesbaden can meanwhile look back over six years of integration monitoring. Comparisons are nonetheless possible, despite these differences in their stage of development.

1) What is the aim of monitoring?

Almost all of the examined approaches explicitly pursue the aim of depicting the state of integration for the respective regional unit (local municipality, state (Länder) level, national level). However, there are also references to the procedural character of integration by means of formulations such as "state of the integration process and its development" (Wiesbaden). Two approaches differ somewhat in this respect: the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees is endeavouring to provide "basic information on the subject of integration" for various user groups, while the Berlin Institute aims above all to demonstrate which immigrant groups experience particular integration problems. In fact, however, both these organisations are conducting first and foremost a state diagnosis.

2) Integration in what sense?

The term integration is not always explicitly defined in the forms of monitoring under consideration. Table 1, however, shows two central elements:
  • "equality of opportunity" and "participation on equal terms" for people with and without a migration background as an aim of integration policy,
  • and the "equalisation" of conditions of life between the two groups.
The aspect "equality of opportunity" can be illustrated through the example of migrants' acquisition of German citizenship. There is no doubt that naturalisation increases the opportunities for political and social participation since, among other benefits, it is associated with the unrestricted right to vote on all political levels [1]. In the case of Wiesbaden this aspect is even used twice as an indicator, firstly as the proportion of foreigners with a claim to naturalisation, and, secondly, the number of foreigners who actually become citizens per 100 of those entitled to apply. Thus an indication is given as to how many foreign men and women could technically achieve legal equality of opportunity and how many actually make use of this possibility. Table 2 shows that between these two indicators there exists a considerable, and over the course of time, constant gap: about half of the foreign citizens in Wiesbaden would be entitled to apply for German citizenship, but of these only 2.5 to 4.2% are naturalised per year.

Indicators on naturalisation in the Wiesbaden monitoring system
YearProportion of foreigners entitled to apply for naturalisation (in %)*Naturalisations per 100 entitled to apply
Source: State capital Wiesbaden 2008. Own calculation
* Entitlement to apply for naturalisation: at least 16 years old, resident in Germany for at least 8 years, secure residence permit.
** No data published for 2001.

The second stated aspect that of the "equalisation of conditions of life" between immigrants and the native German population, means, in practice, that the similarity or dissimilarity of the distribution of characteristics in both groups is measured. Thus, for example, the first indicator report for the Federal Government Commissioner shows that among 18 to 25 year olds without a migration background in the year 2007, 1.6% had no educational qualifications, whereas the proportion of those of the same age with a migration background was two and a half times greater at 4.4% [2]. This, then, concerns directly comparable figures of migrants and non-migrants. Other examples of this type are the proportion of homeowners or the proportion of the population receiving minimum benefits payments.

Indicators, dimensions and data sources for selected monitoring systemsIndicators, dimensions and data sources for selected monitoring systems Lizenz: cc by-nc-nd/2.0/de (bpb)
Finally, there is still a third aspect which can be understood as a precondition for the alignment of opportunities and conditions of life and which therefore also plays a role in monitoring: the openness of the receiving society. The fact that openness of this kind has to exist at a social and institutional level is more or less explicit in the understanding of integration for all approaches. This finds expression in indicators such as the "proportion of bicultural marriages" (Berlin Institute) or the "number of registered racist, xenophobic or anti-Semitic acts of violence" (federal states' indicator set). Even the proportion of people with a migration background employed in various areas of work, such as the civil service, can be regarded as a measurement of this aspect.

3) How many indicators are used?

With the exception of North Rhine-Westphalia and the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees, all forms of monitoring work with pre-defined indicator sets. Two basic tendencies can be identified here:
  • There is an attempt to keep the number of indicators manageable, or, if necessary, to reduce them. Thus, for example, in essence only 15 indicators are used for the Berlin Institute study. The federal states working group is accordingly of the opinion that "the listing of a large number of key figures and indicators without a secure data base [...] should be expressly avoided" [3].
  • In both cases without pre-defined indicator sets, a comprehensive range of observations are made on a given theme based on various data sources. Thus, for example, the subject of vocational training is dealt with in the context of the BAMF "Integration report" both on the basis of official statistics on vocational education and university degrees and by means of microcensus and other survey data [4].

4) Which dimensions are covered?

A frequently used, four-dimensional integration model distinguishes between structural integration (acquisition of positions and rights), cultural integration (acquisition of knowledge and skills), social integration (formation of interethnic networks and relations) and identificational integration (development of feelings of belonging) [5]. In two approaches (Wiesbaden and BAMF) these dimensions are broken down into subsections, while the remaining forms of monitoring work at this classification level from the outset.

In terms of content, it is clear that all forms of monitoring focus on structural aspects of integration, which is linked to the relatively good availability of data in this area. Details on migrants´ legal status and period of residence, citizenship, naturalisation, education, training and participation in the labour market are included in just about every approach, as are data relating to income and the risk of poverty. The inclusion of additional areas depends on the approach. Where cultural or identificational integration in particular are concerned, however, there are often difficulties in finding and interpreting suitable indicators. Wiesbaden offers an interesting example here, once again. Under "cultural integration" its monitoring reveals the annual total fertility rate of foreign and German women. Over the course of time from 2000 to 2007 a downward trend is detectable among the former (from 1.81 to 1.67), while there is an upward trend among the latter (from 1.24 to 1.33) [6]. Whether this can be interpreted as "value convergence" as the relevant title in the monitoring report suggests, or whether other factors play a role here is, however, hard to say.

5) Where does the data come from?

Three types of data are used:
  • the microcensus is an important data source for all the presented approaches with the exception of Wiesbaden; in the case of the Berlin Institute it is even the only source. This sample-based survey primarily gathers data on structural integration, such as educational qualifications and also on areas such as housing and health.
  • another source is official and administrative data. Examples of this are unemployment figures from the German Federal Employment Agency or police crime statistics. To date, they mostly only distinguish according to nationality. On the other hand, they do, as a rule, concern full surveys and not just random samples.
  • use is also made of surveys conducted during empirical social research; such surveys inquire in particular into "soft" integration-related facts. At the federal level, the German Socio-economic Panel [7] must be mentioned as an important source of this type and contains, for example, data on the migrants' subjective assessment of their state of health and on their political involvement.
Measurement and reference groups plus depth of the analysis of selected monitoring systemsMeasurement and reference groups plus depth of the analysis of selected monitoring systems Lizenz: cc by-nc-nd/2.0/de (bpb)
The variety of data sources should be regarded in principle as positive, since official statistics in particular cannot cover all aspects of relevance to integration and therefore need to be complemented by empirical social research. There are, however, also problems resulting from different survey concepts with the outcome that there is a lack of comparability among the different sources. To counteract this, attempts have been made to include the category "Migration background" in official and administrative data. This concerns, for example, the above-mentioned data on unemployment.

6) Whose integration is measured?

Whose integration is to be measured, and by comparison with whom, is by no means clearly and consistently explained. The following differences can be found in the monitorings carried out to date:
  • persons with and without a migration background (possibly also: persons with a migration background and the total population).foreign and German nationals. A special case of this is the comparison of naturalised citizens with foreigners of the same origin.
  • first generation (born abroad) and second generation (born in Germany), alternatively also differentiation according to age groups.
  • men and women.
  • selected countries or regions of origin. This is the most disputed differentiation, among other reasons because there is the fear of encouraging the "ethnicising" of the integration debate (see conclusion).
Unemployment rate for different population groups in NRWUnemployment rate for different population groups in NRW Lizenz: cc by-nc-nd/2.0/de (bpb)
The fact that the selection of the observed groups has a considerable influence on the results is shown in the following example from the 2008 integration report for North Rhine-Westphalia. If we first observe the unemployment rate [8] for people with and without a migration history, the difference is considerable (17.9% versus 7.7%). Still higher is the proportion for foreign nationals (21.7%) and especially for those of Turkish citizenship (26.1%). Even so, the figures for naturalised former Turkish citizens at 19.4% are clearly lower than those for their fellow countrymen who are not naturalised. The better socio-economic placing of migrants who have acquired German nationality is, meanwhile, attested to many times over and underlines the necessity of data sets for integration monitoring that are as extensively differentiated as possible.

7) Are there any more extensive analyses?

Describing the state and development of integration is the core concern of the presented approaches. Additionally, more extensive approaches may be found, for instance using multivariate data analyses on selected areas of integration (Federal Government Commissioner) or the calculation of a comprehensive index derived from individual indicator values (Berlin Institute). On the basis of this index the Berlin Institute has also drawn up "rankings" of migrant groups, federal states and cities; in other words, evaluative comparisons heavily predominate in this study [9]. In the report for the Federal Government Commissioner, by contrast, more far-reaching analyses were designed to explain whether the differences discerned between people with and without a migration background could indeed be attributed to this background or to other factors (e.g. educational status). The results have varied according to the area being assessed. Thus it transpired that people from migrant families are more likely to be unemployed than comparable indigenous Germans, despite having, technically, equivalent educational and professional qualifications. By contrast, when considering socio-structural factors, having a migration background was found to have no significant influence on health [10].
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EU foreigners may vote in Germany on a local and EU level; by contrast, citizens of Non-EU countries cannot vote at all.
ISG/WZB (2009: 44).
Länderoffene Arbeitsgruppe (2009: 3).
Siegert (2009).
For theoretical principles see e.g. Esser (1990) and Heckmann (2001).
Landeshauptstadt Wiesbaden (2008: 7)
The Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) is a representative panel survey of private households in Germany, conducted annually since 1984 among the same persons and families. The study now includes about 20,000 adults living in more than 10,000 households and is conducted by the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW).
Number of immediately available unemployed persons aged between 15 and less than 65 years per 100 economic active persons of a corresponding age.
Cf. Kunz for criticism (2009).
ISG/WZB (2009: 17f.)



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