Unemployment of people of foreign origin in France: The role of discrimination

  • Jean-Luc Richard
Keywords: migrants’ children in France, discrimination, labour market, longitudinal analysis, citizenship


This article has two primary objectives: (1) to understand the relationship between the origins of the children of immigrants and the likelihood of unemployment; and (2) to examine the possible role of discrimination in the likelihood of unemployment. The French Permanent Demographic Sample (EDP, a longitudinal database maintained by INSEE, which is the French equivalent of the English Longitudinal Survey) permits the study young foreign-born people who grew up in France and young people of foreign-origin who were born in France. The EDP is a census-based panel survey that, on average, comprises a 1 per cent sample of all immigrant groups. It contains information on a person’s nationality relative to his/her labour market position. According to most academics, it also contains valuable socio-demographic and socio-economic information on parents and their sons and daughters. The data registry was created in 1967 and includes data from the 1968, 1975, 1982, 1990, and 1999 censuses. The interest in individual trajectories requires us to consider the relations between personal labour market situations and the acquisition of French nationality. This relation must be analyzed in light of the population which consists of those children who, since childhood, have been in a position to acquire French citizenship. Although gaining citizenship is usually regarded as an important sign of civic and political assimilation among immigrants, it can also be seen as a factor in their economic assimilation. French nationality makes it easier for young immigrants to get jobs. It is better to be a young Algerian or Moroccan with French nationality than to be a young Algerian or Moroccan who does not have French nationality.

Author Biography

Jean-Luc Richard
Department of Sociology