The Netherlands have attracted migrants for centuries. The Interner Link: immigrant population is very heterogeneous. Population statistics distinguish between autochtonen, that is, native-Dutch people who have two Dutch-born parents, and allochtonen who have at least one foreign-born parent. Immigrants of European (except Turkish), North American, Oceanean, Indonesian or Japanese origin are referred to as western-allochtonen, people from other world regions are called non-western allochtonen.
Non-Western allochtoon groups are generally in a disadvantaged socio-economic position. Although there have been improvements over time, particularly for the second generation in education and the labor market performance, significant gaps remain. Of the four largest non-Western immigrant groups, Moroccans are the group that is performing worst but is also the group has showing the strongest improvements in education among the second generation. Of the smaller communities, Somalis stand out for suffering from very high unemployment, welfare dependency and high crime rates among young Somali boys.
In 2012, unemployment among non-Western allochtonen was 16 percent of those participating in the labor market, compared to 5 percent among autochtoon Dutch. Unemployment was particularly high among Somali (37 percent), Afghan (21 percent) and Iraqi (20 percent) migrants. Since the beginning of the 2008 economic crisis immigrant groups have suffered a larger increase in unemployment than native Dutch.
The education level among the second generation shows a significant improvement compared to their parents and over time. Performance in elementary school has improved and an increasing share of the second generation attends the two highest tiers of secondary education (HAVO/VWO) 43. The increased participation in higher education is especially notable. In 2011 the share of non-Western allochtonen starting higher education (hogeschool or universiteit) was 53 percent up from
Increased enrollment in higher education is, however, only part of the story. Drop-out rates from high school and vocational tertiary education continue to be high among non-Western groups. While also here there have been improvements over time, less than half of 20-35 year olds of Turkish or Moroccan origin have a degree from the academic tiers of secondary school or a tertiary degree that is considered a starting point for entering the labor market (startkwalificatie). The degree completion rate among non-Western immigrant groups in higher education is lower than that of native Dutch. Of those who started their studies in 2003, 75 percent of native and 60 percent of non-Western migrant origin students obtained their bachelor’s degree within eight years.
Crime levels have been decreasing for all origin groups. However, the relative overrepresentation of Moroccan and Antillean origin youths has been increasing. Sixty-five percent of Moroccan-Dutch and 55 percent of Antillean-Dutch boys have been apprehended between the ages of 12 and 23, compared to 25 percent of autochtoon Dutch boys.
The political participation of immigrants is high compared to other countries. Though the percentage of voters is lower than among autochtonen, there are a considerable number of allochtoon politicians. Out of the 150 members of parliament, 14 are of non-Western immigrant origin – mostly Turkish. In the 2010 local elections, 303 councilors (or three percent) of immigrant origin were elected. Although this number does not yet represent the share of the immigrant population, it is a good record compared to neighboring countries. More than half of these 303 local councilors are of Turkish origin.
This text is part of the Interner Link: country profile Netherlands.
Dr. Evelyn Ersanilli is a Departmental Lecturer in Migration Studies at the International Migration Institute (IMI) at the University of Oxford. E-mail: E-Mail Link: firstname.lastname@example.org
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