The second generation in Belgium

Christiane Timmerman*, Els Vanderwaeren, Maurice Crul

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


A growing proportion of second-generation Moroccan and Turkish youngsters in Belgium are moving on to higher secondary education and beyond. This trend is greater among Moroccan youngsters than among their Turkish peers. Turkish girls in particular are still married off at a young age, which inevitably affects their educational opportunities. Despite higher participation rates for youngsters from immigrant backgrounds, the educational gap with Belgian pupils and students remains wide. This is largely attributable to differences in socioeconomic background. It appears that the concentration of second-generation immigrant pupils in certain schools is also a major explanatory factor. Despite their increased participation in education, second-generation immigrants are still not well represented in the labor market and they are, moreover, employed mostly in less favorable segments of that market. An interesting development among second-generation immigrants is the polarization that is taking place in relation to the significance of Islam. A growing number of second-generation youngsters are opting for a more secular way of life, while an increasingly large group is choosing Islamist ideologies or at least a more conscious form of Islam. For young people of the second generation, who often have little to hold on to socially, Islamism can provide a transparent, supportive, and all-embracing frame of reference.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1065-1090
Number of pages26
JournalInternational Migration Review
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2003


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