What role do housing patterns play for the successful incorporation of immigrants?

Neighbourhood effects on acculturation attitudes among minority and majority adolescents in Germany

2020, with D. Kretschmer

Urban Studies 57(16): 3363-3380


Attitudes on whether  immigrants should culturally adapt to their receiving society or maintain the customs of their origin context vary – not only between majority and minority populations but also within these groups. Focusing on adolescents in the German context, this study investigates whether such acculturation attitudes are shaped by the ethnic composition of a person’s neighbourhood context. Building on arguments from theories of intergroup contact, concentration effects and reactive ethnicity, we expect different effects for minority and majority adolescents. To empirically investigate these expectations, we combine survey data on N = 4621 adolescents and their parents with geocoded information on the characteristics of their neighbourhood contexts. Exploiting an intergenerational set-up to account for neighbourhood selection, we find indication of neighbourhood effects among minority adolescents. Among majority youth, acculturation attitudes turn out to be unrelated to neighbourhood ethnic composition.

Name-based Measures of Neighborhood Composition: How Telling are Neighbors’ Names?

2017, with J. Dollmann

Survey Research Methods 11(4): 435-450

krusedollmann2017Name-based ethnicity classification is a common tool in the sampling of minority populations. In recent years, however, it has become a popular technique to construct measures of neighborhood composition if more objective data are unavailable. In this article, we test the accuracy of such name-based measures of neighborhood composition, relying on the example of German neighborhoods. Drawing upon previous research, we assert that ethnic groups differ as to how well they are identifiable via name-based classification. Moreover, the ethnic mix in neighborhoods varies systematically, the ethnicities of immigrants residing in majority-dominated neighborhoods differing from those residing in minority-dominated neighborhoods. Taken together, these two notions imply that a name-based classification bias should be neighborhood-specific. Results indicate a tendency to overestimate majority shares in minority-dominated neighborhoods and slightly underestimate them in majority-dominated neighborhoods. All analyses rely on data from the “Children of Immigrants Longitudinal Survey in Four European Countries (CILS4EU)” as well as on neighborhood compositional data from local statistics of two German cities. The article closes with a discussion of potential strategies to cope with the name-based classification bias.

The SES-Specific Neighbourhood Effect on Interethnic Friendship Formation. The Case of Adolescent Immigrants in Germany


European Sociological Review 33(2): 182-194

Neighbourhoods with high ethnic concentrations are argued to steer immigrants into lives separate from the native population. Taking adolescent immigrants in Germany as an example, this article argues and shows why the link between the ethnic composition of immigrants’ neighbourhoods and their friendships depends on immigrants’ socio-economic status (i.e. SES-specific neighbourhood effects on interethnic friendships); why high-SES immigrants living around more natives have more native friends, whereas for low-SES immigrants, this association is weaker.


Introducing a formal account of interethnic friendship formation, the article proposes four potential explanations, three being empirically corroborated. First, SES differences are partly an artefact because of model misspecification. Second, low-SES immigrants attend more concentrated meeting contexts (i.e. schools) than high-SES immigrants, yielding different opportunities for native friends even when neighbourhood compositions are identical. Third, SES-specific friendship preferences may also be responsible. There is no indication that SES groups differ in how much they rely on their neighbourhoods when making friends. Additional analyses conducted on adolescent immigrants in the Netherlands confirm these patterns. All presented analyses make use of ego-network data from the first wave of the CILS4EU data, accompanied by small-scale neighbourhood information from an external data source.

From neighbors to school friends? How adolescents’ place of residence relates to same-ethnic school friendships

2016, with S. Smith, F. van Tubergen, and I. Maas

Social Networks 44: 130-142


This study examines to what extent adolescents’ place of residence is related to the opportunities and the preferences to befriend same-ethnic classmates. Analyzing 3345 students within 158 German and Dutch school classes, we find that sharing a neighborhood provides additional meeting opportunities to become friends in class as adolescents are likely to befriend classmates who live nearby them or who live nearby a friend of them (propinquity mechanism). However, this hardly explains why adolescent friendship networks in school classes tend to be ethnically homogeneous. Also, we find no convincing evidence that an adolescent’s preference for same-ethnic friends in class varies with the share of outgroup members in his/her neighborhood (exposure mechanism).