Human Capital and the Structural Integration of Polish Immigrants in Australia in the First, Second and Third Generations

James Forrest, Weronika Kusek*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The Polish diaspora is one of the largest in the world. Australia's 2011 census identifies 48 611 born in Poland and 170 000 claiming Polish ancestry. Using the census, we assess the structural (socio-economic) and spatial integration of the first (Poles who arrived in the post-World War II period as largely displaced persons and refugees), second (their children) and third (grandchildren) generations, and compare the first generation with another cohort: the skilled first-generation (‘Solidarity') immigrants who arrived in the 1980s and early 1990s. Key OECD indicators of integration—education attainment, proficiency in English, employment status and occupational progression, home ownership, naturalisation, return rates and patterns of residential distribution—are examined. Results point to their successful integration, with high levels of labour market participation, earnings, and naturalisation, levels of spatial integration as exemplified in a Melbourne case study (where the highest proportions of those of Polish birth or ancestry reside), return migration and language retention, and levels of owner-occupied housing (the ‘middle-class dream') higher than among Australians generally.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)233-248
Number of pages16
JournalAustralian Geographer
Volume47
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Apr 2016

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