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Old and new inequalities in educational attainment

[journal article]

Phalet, Karen; Deboosere, Patrick; Bastiaenssen, Vicky

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Abstract This study examines ethnic and class inequalities in educational attainment using the 2001 Belgian Census. It analyses the highest qualifications that the 1973 to 1979 birth cohort obtained in 2001. Variation in attainment levels is explained as a function of gender, ethnic and class origins, and other characteristics of the parental household in 1991. Earlier findings of gross ethnic disadvantage, in particular among Turkish and Moroccan youngsters, were largely replicated when ethnicity is identified by ancestry rather than nationality. Looking across ethnic groups, parental resources in 1991 were very powerful predictors of educational attainment in 2001. In order of importance, parental education, accumulated wealth (as measured by ownership and quality of housing), employment and occupational class explain most educational inequality. Ethnic disadvantage is perpetuated from one generation to the next mainly through mechanisms of class disadvantage. In addition, there is evidence of cumulative ethnic and class disadvantage for Turkish and Moroccan minorities. Finally, the largest unexplained ethnic disadvantage is found for the Turkish minority in Flanders. Not only are they most underrepresented in tertiary education, they are also most at risk of school dropout in secondary education.
Free Keywords educational inequality; ethnic disadvantage; ethnicity; second generation; social class;
Document language English
Publication Year 2007
Page/Pages p. 390-415
Journal Ethnicities, 7 (2007) 3
Status Postprint; peer reviewed
Licence PEER Licence Agreement (applicable only to documents from PEER project)