Économie et Statistique n° 431-432 - 2010Labor, Training and Occupational Skills
Labour-Market Status of Direct Descendants of Immigrants in France: Are Women Doubly Disadvantaged?
The direct descendants of North African immigrants of both sexes are, all other things being equal, at greater risk of unemployment than (1) French persons by birth both of whose parents are French by birth, or (2) descendants of southern European immigrants. In addition to this over-unemployment, men and women of North African immigrant descent are more often economically inactive. Among persons with similar observable characteristics, direct descendants of North African immigrants seem to encounter more obstacles in their job search. The observed differences cannot be reduced to inequality caused by social reproduction and spatial segregation; there is also a specific origin-related effect. Women born to North African immigrants combine social, origin-related, and gender-related inequalities. Compared with the chances for French persons by birth both of whose parents are French by birth, these women are the least likely to be in employment. They also display the highest risk of inactivity. However, being a woman is just as penalizing for accessing employment, irrespective of whether the person is born or not in the immigrant community. In the face of these labour-market difficulties, further education seems to be a strategy adopted by men of North African descent, and even more so by their female counterparts. This may indicate both a desire for social ascent relative to their parents and a strategy of human-capital investment to offset the negative effects of origin alone.