Study examines youth immigrant integration in Switzerland

The controversial 'double eagle' gesture by some members of the Swiss national football team gave the researchers the idea for a study into immigration integration. Keystone

The integration of teenagers with immigration background into Swiss society appears to depend to a large extent on the country of origin of their parents, according to a poll.

This content was published on January 13, 2019 - 15:27

Youths from neighbouring Germany and Austria ranked top in the integration survey which was conducted by the college of applied sciences in Zurich and the Fribourg school of social work.

Observers say this was to be expected as more than 60% of the Swiss population speak a form of German dialect.

Teenagers from Kosovo and the Republic of Macedonia in south-eastern Europe are bottom of the table. Youths with roots in North Africa or Arab countries were also low in the ranking.

The poll among more than 8,300 people aged 17 or 18 found that the length of time spent in Switzerland helps integration in general.


However, lack of integration does not pose an increased risk for delinquency, the researchers found.

While youths with immigration background tend to be more disposed to use violence, offences, including theft or cannabis consumption, appears to be more widespread among teenagers with Swiss roots, say the authors of the study.

Critics of the survey argue the report is based on three criteria only – friendship with a Swiss person, identification with Switzerland and education.

The lead author of the report, Dirk Baier, acknowledges that the method is relatively basic, according to the SonntagsZeitung and Le Matin Dimanche newspapers.

He also admits there is a risk that the results of the study could be used for political ends.

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