Advertisement

Social Indicators Research

, Volume 96, Issue 3, pp 515–534 | Cite as

Determinants of Life Satisfaction Among Immigrants from Western Countries and from the FSU in Israel

  • Karin AmitEmail author
Article

Abstract

This study examines the integration of immigrants via their satisfaction with life in the new country. While most studies on immigrant integration have focused on objective integration parameters such as education, occupation and salary (e.g., Borjas in Friends or strangers: the impact of immigrants on the US economy. Basic Books, New York, 1990), subjective parameters have traditionally received less attention. However, in recent years it has become increasingly clear that subjective perceptions carry considerable weight in the social-integration process of immigrants (McMichael and Manderson in Human Organ 63(1):88–99, 2004; Massey and Redstone in Soc Sci Q 87(5):954–971, 2006). The study group consists of Jewish immigrants who arrived in Israel during the past two decades from two different regions of origin: Western countries, and the Former Soviet Union (FSU). All of these immigrants are generally highly educated and skilled, but they came to Israel from different societies and contrasting motives. The objective of this study is to learn about the integration of these immigrants via their satisfaction with life in Israel and to understand the factors that explain it, taking into account the differences between the immigrant groups. The findings, based on the 2007 Ruppin representative survey data (The data for this study was obtained with the support of the Israeli Ministry of Immigrant Absorption.), point to significant differences between the two immigrant groups under discussion. Western immigrants are more satisfied with their lives in Israel than FSU immigrants and have higher scores in most of the independent variables tested. The multivariate analyses for predicting an immigrant’s life satisfaction reveal that those reporting the greatest satisfaction are women, religious, with a high standard of living, with no academic education, and stronger Israeli identity (personal and as perceived by others). In addition, different variables play a role in predicting the life satisfaction for each immigrant group. This knowledge may be of service to Israeli policymakers dealing with the immigration and integration of highly skilled immigrants in Israeli society.

Keywords

Life satisfaction Immigration Social integration 

References

  1. Amit, K. (2008). The social integration of immigrants aged 50+: Life quality as a function of ethnicity, years since migration, human, economic and social capital. Social Security, 76, 291–308. (Hebrew).Google Scholar
  2. Amit, K., & Chachashvili-Bollotin, S. (Eds.). (2007). Ruppin index for immigrants’ integration in Israel—2nd report, The Institute for Immigration and Social Integration, Israel: Ruppin Academic Center (Hebrew).Google Scholar
  3. Amit, K., & Riss, I. (2006). Current motifs in immigration: Interviews and contemporary literature. Paper presented at a conference at Tel Aviv University, American Aliyah in literature and research.Google Scholar
  4. Amit, K., & Riss, I. (2007). The role of social networks in the immigration decision-making process: The case of North American immigration to Israel. Immigrants & Minorities, 25(3), 290–313. doi: 10.1080/02619280802407517.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Anson, O., Pilpel, D., & Rolnik, V. (1996). Physical and psychological well-being among immigrant referrals to colonoscopy. Social Science and Medicine, 43(9), 1309–1316. doi: 10.1016/0277-9536(95)00401-7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Beenshtock, M., & Ben Menahem, Y. (1997). The labor market absorption of CIS immigrants to Israel: 1989–1994. International Migration (Geneva, Switzerland), 35, 187–224. doi: 10.1111/1468-2435.00010.Google Scholar
  7. Ben Rafael, E., Olshtain, O., & Geijst, I. (1994). Identity and language: The social insertion of Soviet Jews in Israel. In N. Lewin-Epstien, Y. Ro’i, & P. Ritterband (Eds.), Russian Jews on three continents: Migration and resettlement (pp. 364–388). London: Frank Cass.Google Scholar
  8. Ben-Rafael, E., Yubansky, M. L., Glockner, O., & Harris, P. (2006). Building a diaspora: Russian Jews in Israel. Germany and the USA. Leiden: Brill.Google Scholar
  9. Bensimon, D., & Della Pergula, S. (1986). La population Juive de France: Socio-demogrraphie et identite. Paris: Centre National De La Recherrche Scientifique.Google Scholar
  10. Bohnke, P. (2008). Does society matter? Life satisfaction in enlarged Europe. Social Indicators Research, 87, 189–210. doi: 10.1007/s11205-007-9169-4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Bonini, A. N. (2008). Cross-national variation in individual life satisfaction: Effects of national wealth, human development, and environment conditions. Social Indicators Research, 87, 223–236. doi: 10.1007/s11205-007-9167-6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Bordieu, P. (1986). The forms of capital. In J. Richardson (Ed.), Handbook of theory and research for the sociology of education (pp. 241–258). New York: Greenwood Press.Google Scholar
  13. Borjas, J. G. (1990). Friends or strangers: The impact of immigrants on the U.S economy. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  14. Borjas, J. G. (1994). Long-run convergence of ethnic skill differentials: The children and grandchildren of the great migration. Industrial and Labor Relations Review, 47(4), 553–573. doi: 10.2307/2524658.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Brandi, M. C. (2001). Skilled immigrants in Rome. International Migration (Geneva, Switzerland), 39(4), 101–131. doi: 10.1111/1468-2435.00164.Google Scholar
  16. Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS). (2007). Statistical abstract of Israel (Vol. 58, pp. 231–232). Jerusalem: Central Bureau of Statistics.Google Scholar
  17. Chiswick, B. (1979). The economic progress of immigrants: Some apparently universal patterns. In W. Fallner (Ed.), Contemporary Economic Problems. (pp. 357–399). Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  18. Chiswick, B. (1998). Hebrew language usage: Determinants and effects on earnings among immigrants in Israel. Journal of Population Economics, 11(2), 253–371. doi: 10.1007/s001480050068.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Chiswick, B. (2002). Immigrant earnings: Language skills, linguistic concentrations and the business cycle. Journal of Population Economics, 15(2), 31–57. doi: 10.1007/PL00003838.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Dgani, A., & Dgani, R. (2004). Argrntinian olims: Attitudes and beliefs towards the absorption process in Israel. Tel-Aviv: The Israeli Ministry of Absorption and the Jewish Agency.Google Scholar
  21. Diener, E. R. (1984). Subjective well-being. Psychological Bulletin, 95, 542–575. doi: 10.1037/0033-2909.95.3.542.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Diener, E. R., Emmos, R., Larsen, R., & Griffin, S. (1985). The satisfaction with life scale. Journal of Personality Assessment, 49(1), 71–75. doi: 10.1207/s15327752jpa4901_13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Diener, E., Sandvik, E., Seidlitz, L., & Deiner, M. (1993). The relationship between income and subjective well-being: Relative or absolute? Social Indicators Research, 28, 195–223. doi: 10.1007/BF01079018.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Doerschler, P., & College, L. (2006). Pull-Push factors and immigrant political integration in Germany. Social Science Quarterly, 87(5), 1100–1116. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-6237.2006.00418.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Eckstein, Z., & Weiss, Y. (2002). The integration of immigrants in the former Soviet Union in the Israeli labor market. In A. Ben-Bassat (Ed.), The Israeli economy, 1985–1998: From government intervention to market economics. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  26. Helliwell, J. F. (2003). How’s life? Combining individual and national variables to explain subjective well-being. Economic Modelling, 20(2), 331–360. doi: 10.1016/S0264-9993(02)00057-3.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Iredale, R. (1999). The need to import skilled personnel: Factors favoring and hindering its international mobility. International Migration (Geneva, Switzerland), 37(1), 89–123. doi: 10.1111/1468-2435.00067.Google Scholar
  28. Jewish Agency for Israel (2005) Immigration and absorption study. Harris interactive.Google Scholar
  29. Kahneman, D., & Krueger, A. B. (2006). Developments in the measurement of subjective well-being. The Journal of Economic Perspectives, 20(1), 3–24. doi: 10.1257/089533006776526030.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Lester, L. H. (2005). Immigrants satisfaction: What is it? Does it matter? NILS working paper, 154, 2–103.Google Scholar
  31. Litwin, H. (2005). Correlates of successful aging: Are they universal? International Journal of Aging and Human Development, 61(4), 313–333. doi: 10.2190/DUGV-AQPU-PT28-B8D7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Mahroum, S. (2001). Europe and the immigration of highly skilled labour. International Migration (Geneva, Switzerland), 39, 27–43. doi: 10.1111/1468-2435.00170.Google Scholar
  33. Massey, D. S., & Redstone, A. I. (2006). Immigrant intentions and mobility in a global economy: The attitudes and behavior of recently arrived US immigrants. Social Science Quarterly, 87(5), 954–971.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. McMichael, C., & Manderson, L. (2004). Somali women and well-being: Social networks and social capital among immigrant women in Australia. Human Organization, 63(1), 88–99.Google Scholar
  35. Neto, F. (1995). Predictors of satisfaction with life among second generation migrants. Social Indicators Research, 35(1), 93–116. doi: 10.1007/BF01079240.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Neto, F. (2001). Satisfaction with life among adolescents from immigrant families in Portugal. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 30(1), 53–67. doi: 10.1023/A:1005272805052.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Phinney, J. S., Horenczyk, G., Liebkind, K., & Vedder, P. (2001). Ethnic identity, immigration, and well-being: An interactional perspective. The Journal of Social Issues, 57(3), 493–510. doi: 10.1111/0022-4537.00225.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Portes, A. (1998). Social capital: Its origins and applications in modern sociology. Annual Review of Sociology, 24, 1–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Putnam, R. D. (2000). Bowling alone. A Touchstone Book, New York: Simon & Schuster.Google Scholar
  40. Quaked, S. (2002). Transatlantic roundtable on high skilled migration and sending countries issues. International Migration (Geneva, Switzerland), 40(4), 153–166.Google Scholar
  41. Raijman, R., & Semyonov, M. (1997). Models of labor market incorporation and occupational cost among immigrants to Israel. The International Migration Review, 29, 375–393. doi: 10.2307/2546786.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Raijman, R., & Semyonov, M. (1998). Best of times, worst of times of occupational mobility: The case of Russian immigrants in Israel. International Migration (Geneva, Switzerland), 36, 291–312. doi: 10.1111/1468-2435.00048.Google Scholar
  43. Remennick, L. (2004). Language acquisition, ethnicity and social integration among former Soviet immigrants of the 1990s in Israel. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 27(3), 431–454. doi: 10.1080/01491987042000189213.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Rozenbaum-Tamari, Y. (2004). Immigrants from the FSU: Motives for migration and commitment to Israel. The Israeli Ministry of Absorption, special issue no. 1.Google Scholar
  45. Schwarzwald, J., & Tur-Kaspa, M. (1997). Perceived threat and social dominance as determinants of prejudice toward Russian and Ethiopian immigrants in Israel. Megamot, 38(4), 504–527. (Hebrew).Google Scholar
  46. Semyonov, M., & Lerenthal, T. (1991). Country of origin, gender and the attainment of socioeconomic status: A study of stratification in the Jewish population of Israel. Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, 10, 325–345.Google Scholar
  47. Semyonov, M., & Lewin-Epstein, N. (2003). Immigration and ethnicity in Israel: Returning diaspora and nation-building. In M. Rainer & O. Rainer (Eds.), In diasporas and ethnic migrants (pp. 327–337). London: Frank Cass.Google Scholar
  48. Shin, D., & Johnson, D. (1978). Avowed happiness as an overall assessment of the quality of life. Social Indicators Research, 5, 474–492. doi: 10.1007/BF00352944.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Vohra, N., & Adir, J. (2000). Life satisfaction of Indian immigrants in Canada. Psychology and Developing Societies, 12(2), 109–138. doi: 10.1177/097133360001200201.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Waxman, C. I. (1989). American aliyah: Portrait of an innovative migration movement. Detroit, MI: Wayne State University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Institute for Immigration and Social IntegrationRuppin Academic CenterEmek HeferIsrael

Personalised recommendations