Économie et Statistique n° 490 - 2016Adults' writing and arithmetic skills
Measuring new migrants’ writing and speaking skills
The Enquête longitudinale sur l’intégration des primo-arrivants (Elipa), carried out in three waves (in 2010, 2011 and 2013), covers "new migrants", namely people coming from outside the European Economic Area and Switzerland who obtained a first residence permit for at least one year in 2009. The 2013 edition provides brand new data on their difficulties with speaking and writing. These new migrants' skills can be compared to the immigrants’ and non-immigrants’ skills assessed in the Information et vie quotidienne (IVQ) 2011 survey. Comparison remains difficult nevertheless, due to the methodological differences between these two surveys.
New migrants encounter extreme difficulties in speaking and writing more frequently than other individuals : approximately 17 % of new migrants were unable to do the spoken exercises and 23 % the written ones, compared to 12 % and 13 % of immigrants from third countries and 1 % for non-immigrants respectively. The lower performances of new migrants are due in large part to their socio-demographic characteristics : for example, arriving in France at a later age than immigrants is less favourable to skills acquisition.
Among the various socio-demographic characteristics, the factors most strongly associated with lower performances by new migrants are poor knowledge of French and learning to read and write at a late age.
Finally, using the longitudinal dimension of Elipa, it is possible to observe the changes in new migrants' skills between 2010 and 2013 : over the course of the three years after they obtain their first residence permit, at least four new migrants in ten have improved their writing skills, and even more their oral skills.