The melting-pot and the economic integration of immigrant families

ancestral and generational variations in Australia

Ron Johnston, James Forrest, Kelvyn Jones, David Manley, Dewi Owen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)


The melting-pot argument, whereby economically heterogeneous multi-cultural societies, characterised by high levels of immigration from a variety of origins, become more homogeneous over time, has attracted much attention, especially in North America. Australia has similarly experienced major waves of immigration from a wide range of cultural backgrounds. This paper reports successful tests of hypotheses, derived from the melting-pot model, that economic integration of immigrant groups there has also resulted in reduced inter-group occupational and income differences across successive generations, but that the pace of integration can vary across ethnic groups. Using a bespoke tabulation from the 2011 Australian census we explore differences among ten immigrant (ancestry) groups in their educational qualifications, and their occupational and income distributions, using a recently developed method to identify significant patterns within large contingency tables. We find that by the third generation there were no substantial differences either across the ten groups chosen to represent four main waves of immigration to Australia or between these groups and the non-immigrant population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2663-2682
Number of pages20
JournalEnvironment and Planning A: Economy and Space
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2015

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