The Wealth Gap between Ageing Immigrants and Native-Born in Ten European Countries*

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Using data from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe from 10 European countries, this study contributes to the research on immigrants’ economic incorporation by focusing on the nativity wealth gaps in mid and late life. Three origin groups of immigrants were distinguished: non-European, post-communist, and West, Central, and South European countries. We estimated the size of the wealth gap between each immigrant population and natives, the sources of the gap, and the trajectory of wealth convergence. The data revealed that the mean net worth of native-born groups was higher than that of all immigrant sub-groups. The gap was widest for non-European immigrants and lowest for West, Central, and South European immigrants. Differences in the rate of homeownership accounted for the largest portion of the gap, while neither differential levels of income nor education accounted for much of the gap between native-born and either non-European immigrants or immigrants from post-communist countries. Reception of gifts or inheritances did not account for a meaningful portion of the gaps. Estimation of the rate of convergence suggests that it would take an average of 85 years after arrival for an average immigrant household to bridge the wealth gap between it and an average native-born household. The rate of wealth convergence was somewhat faster for non-Europeans and slower for West, Central, and South Europeans .

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)639-660
Number of pages22
JournalSociologicky Casopis
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2022


  • European societies
  • Immigrants’ economic integration
  • Immigration
  • SHARE data
  • Wealth inequality


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