Identifying Immigrants and Their Descendants in the National Educational Panel Study

  • Cornelia Kristen
  • Melanie Olczyk
  • Gisela Will


The data gathered in the German National Educational Panel Study (NEPS) can be used to describe and analyze the education of immigrants and their offspring across different stages in the school career and the life course and to uncover the origins of ethnic educational inequalities. In order to complement this task, it is necessary to adequately identify the population of interest. For this purpose, the NEPS includes a set of potential immigrant identifiers. This contribution provides an overview of the various measures and illustrates alternative ways of considering immigrants and their descendants. It also addresses a selection of problems that arise when applying one operationalization as opposed to another. The focus is on the country of birth, citizenship, and language use. The analyses are based on NEPS data from three starting cohorts: Kindergarten, Grade 5, and Grade 9. The findings indicate that the size of the immigrant population varies when using different operationalizations as well as across cohorts. Assignments based on citizenship and language use yield a substantially smaller migrant population than assignments via the country of birth. Drawing on the example of the two largest immigrant groups in Germany, namely children and youth of Turkish origin and from the Former Soviet Union, it turns out that the use of certain identifiers may not be equally appropriate for different groups.


Immigrant Population Former Soviet Union Target Person Residence Status German Nationality 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Bellin, N., Dunge, O., & Gunzenhauser, C. (2010). The importance of class composition for reading achievement: Migration background, social composition and instructional practices. An analysis of the German 2006 PIRLS data. In M. von Davier, & D. Hastedt (Eds.), IERI Monograph Series: Issues and methodologies in large-scale assessment (Vol. 3, pp. 9–34). Hamburg: IER Institute.Google Scholar
  2. Bundesministerium des Innern (Ed.). (2013). Migrationsbericht des Bundesamtes für Migration und Flüchtlinge im Auftrag der Bundesregierung: Migrationsbericht 2011. Nürnberg: Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge.Google Scholar
  3. Gresch, C., & Kristen, C. (2011): Staatsbürgerschaft oder Migrationshintergrund ? Ein Vergleich unterschiedlicher Operationalisierungsweisen am Beispiel der Bildungsbeteiligung. Zeitschrift für Soziologie, 40(3), 208 – 227.Google Scholar
  4. Kristen, C. (2008). Schulische Leistungen von Kindern aus türkischen Familien am Ende der Grundschulzeit: Befunde aus der IGLU-Studie. In F. Kalter (Hrsg.), Migration und Integration. Kölner Zeitschrift für Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie (Sonderband 48, pp. 230–251). Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften.Google Scholar
  5. Kristen, C., Edele, A., Kalter, F., Kogan, I., Schulz, B., Stanat, P., & Will, G. (2011). The education of migrants and their children across the life course. In H.-P. Blossfeld, H.-G. Roßbach, & J. von Maurice (Eds.), Zeitschrift für Erziehungswissenschaft,14. Education as a lifelong process: The German National Educational Panel Study (NEPS) (pp. 121–138). Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften.Google Scholar
  6. Mudiappa, M., & Kluczniok, K. (2015). Visits to cultural learning places in the early childhood. European Early Childhood Education Journal 23(2), 200 – 212.Google Scholar
  7. Olczyk, M., Will, G., & Kristen, C. (2014). Immigrants in the NEPS: Identifying generation status and group of origin. (NEPS Working Paper No. 41a). Bamberg: University of Bamberg, National Educational Panel Study.Google Scholar
  8. Stanat, P. (2006). Schulleistungen von Jugendlichen mit Migrationshintergrund: Die Rolle der Zusammensetzung der Schülerschaft. In J. Baumert, P. Stanat, & R. Watermann (Eds.), Herkunftsbedingte Disparitäten im Bildungswesen: Differenzielle Bildungsprozesse und Probleme der Verteilungsgerechtigkeit. Vertiefende Analysen im Rahmen von PISA 2000 (pp. 189 – 219). Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften.Google Scholar
  9. Van der Slik, F. W. P., Driessen, G. W. J. M., & De Bot, K. L. J. (2006). Ethnic and socioeconomic class composition and language proficiency: A longitudinal multilevel examination in Dutch elementary schools. European Sociological Review, 22(3), 293–308.Google Scholar
  10. Wagner, W., Helmke, A., & Schrader, F.-W. (2009). Die Rekonstruktion der Übergangsempfehlung für die Sekundarstufe I und der Wahl des Bildungsgangs auf der Basis des Migrationsstatus, der sozialen Herkunft, der Schulleistung und schulklassenspezifischer Merkmale. In J. Baumert, K. Maaz, & U. Trautwein (Eds.), Zeitschrift für Erziehungswissenschaft, 12. Bildungsentscheidungen (pp. 183 – 204). Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.BambergDeutschland

Personalised recommendations