European Journal of Population

, Volume 31, Issue 5, pp 529–560 | Cite as

The Transition to Adulthood of the Italian Second Generation in France

  • Roberto Impicciatore


The lack of convergence between Mediterranean and North-Western European countries in the patterns of transition to adulthood is usually explained in terms of the welfare state or persistent cultural differences. The extensive literature emphasizes the importance of these two mechanisms focusing, respectively, on each aspect separately, but few attempts have been made to distinguish between them given the difficulties in disentangling factors that are strongly endogenous. However, specific situations may offer favourable conditions for the researchers. One of these takes into account the analysis of second-generation immigrants, i.e. individuals born and raised in the country of arrival, but influenced by a different cultural background. Thus, the comparison between the patterns experienced by the children of immigrants and natives can shed light on the role of the welfare regime and cultural factors transmitted from parents to children. In this article we focus on events that mark the transition to adulthood, comparing French natives with Italian second-generation immigrants in France. We use data from the Étude de l’histoire familiale survey. Our analysis, developed using a cohort and gender perspective, generally underlines the relevance of the welfare regime or the institutional setting since the behaviours of second-generation immigrants from the Mediterranean area are clearly different from those observed in the countries of origin. Nevertheless, the distance between second generations and French natives is also evident and the former group shows marked similarities with the patterns experienced in Italy. This latter result supports the hypothesis that there is (also) a cultural component in the peculiarities observed in the Mediterranean countries.


Second generations Transition to adulthood Welfare Familism 



The author would like to thank Laurent Toulemon, Gianpiero Dalla Zuanna and Rossella Ghigi for their helpful comments and discussions regarding previous versions of this manuscript. He is also grateful to the referees and editors of European Journal of Population for comments that helped to improve the article.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Statistical SciencesUniversity of BolognaBolognaItaly

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