Gunnar Andersson. Photo: Stockholm University
Gunnar Andersson. Photo: Stockholm University

The project is called “Understanding Life Trajectories of Immigrants and Their Descendants in Europe and Projecting Future Trends (MigrantLife)”, and lead by Hill Kulu, Professor of Human Geography and Demography at the University of S:t Andrews. He is also a long-standing collaborator with the Stockholm University Demography Unit, SUDA, at the Department of Sociology.

Using longitudinal data from UK, France, Germany and Sweden, the researchers will investigate how employment, housing and family trajectories evolve and interact in the lives of descendants of post-WWII immigrants and post-1990 immigrants.

The aim of the project is to better understand the life trajectories of immigrants and their descendants, and why they differ between different groups.

– We will investigate how factors related to societal context, early life context and critical transitions shape their life histories, says Gunnar Andersson, professor of Demography at the Stockholm University Demography Unit and one of the partners in the project.

Another objective is to understand the differences between immigrants’ and natives’ life courses. Are these differences due to short-term effects on immigrants in a longer process of integration? Or are they evidence of entirely different pathways for immigrants and their descendants?   

In order to answer these questions, the study will also project immigrant’s future life paths using innovative simulation techniques. The researchers will use large-scale longitudinal data from the four countries and apply advanced statistical methods on them.

According to Gunnar Andersson, this project links with a similar project at Stockholm University under the name MigrantTrajectories with support from Forte, in collaboration with demographers and human geographers at this university.

­– There we study migrants’ life courses seen over time since migration to Sweden, within different domains of life: family, work, education and migration within Sweden. In order for that research to put in a larger context, comparative research with similar design applied to contexts other than Sweden is required. This ERC project comes in fine in this picture, says Gunnar Andersson.