Social Indicators Research

, Volume 119, Issue 1, pp 247–264 | Cite as

The Subjective Well-Being of Immigrants: Pre- and Post-migration

  • Karin AmitEmail author
  • Ilan Riss


In recent years, migration studies have increasingly shown that subjective well-being carries considerable weight in immigrant integration. Yet little is known about the subjective well-being of immigrants in their origin country (pre-migration) or its relation to their well-being in the host country. This paper examines the relationship between subjective well-being, both pre- and post-immigration, among North Americans who arrived in Israel during the past two decades. The study combines both quantitative and qualitative research methods. According to our quantitative findings, the labor market performance of North American immigrants in Israel is lower than in their origin countries. Further, we learned from the qualitative analysis that although the immigrants’ positions in the labor market were better in their origin countries, the immigrants perceived their standard of living in Israel to be the same as in their origin country—if not better—due to the low cost of services in Israel. The importance of the immigrant’s satisfaction from the current job in Israel was apparent in the findings of both methods. We also found that the subjective well-being of North American immigrants in Israel is relatively high, and most immigrants did not consider leaving Israel. The subjective well-being of the immigrants in Israel was found to be related to their social networks in their origin country, to their religious immigration motive and to their work satisfaction in Israel. The more supportive the immigrants’ families were of their decision to immigrate, the less the immigrants tended to consider leaving Israel. Immigrants with a religious motivation for immigrating to Israel were less inclined to leave, and the same was true for immigrants who were satisfied with their work in Israel. The qualitative data added important perspective on the immigrants’ social networks, this time in Israel. Interviewees reported having more supportive social networks in Israel, and a greater sense of community, although most of their contacts were within the Anglo community.


Immigrant subjective well-being Immigrant life satisfaction Pre-migration Post-migration 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Institute for Immigration and Social IntegrationRuppin Academic CenterEmek HeferIsrael
  2. 2.IT DepartmentIsraeli Central Bureau of StatisticsJerusalemIsrael

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