Socio-economic Integration of Immigrants in Greece: The Case of the Greater Athens Area

Gemi, Eda (2015) Socio-economic Integration of Immigrants in Greece: The Case of the Greater Athens Area. Doctoral thesis, London Metropolitan University.


This study examines issues pertaining to the socio-economic integration of immigrants in Greece. Its focus is on two localities of the greater Athens area, Piraeus and Korydallos, and on three immigrant communities: Albanians, East Europeans and Asians. The research is set within the context of debates about immigration and integration, and more specifically within the economic, social and ethno-cultural context of Greece. This approach, which primarily recognises the specific significance of the host country’s structures, perceives immigrants as dynamic actors that develop competition strategies in the context of their own cultural references and sense-making. Through this perspective, it is argued that immigrants develop autonomous individual and/or collective integration strategies, which are largely a result of the bottom-up interaction of immigrants with both the native population and the sociopolitical institutions of the host country, at the local level.

This thesis is the outcome of fieldwork research that involved probability quota sampling of 270 immigrants from Albania, Asia and Eastern Europe, interviewed in person using a structured questionnaire, with some room for collecting qualitative data. It examines the level of socio-economic integration of immigrants by applying quantitative methods (construction of the integration index, the use of one-way ANOVA, independent samples t-test and multiple linear regression analysis), and descriptive analysis. The integration indicators include: employment, housing, use of the Greek language, social interaction, social and political participation, self-evaluation of integration, and racism and discrimination.

The findings provide an empirical account of the level of integration of immigrants, revealing a significant degree of heterogeneity among communities, a factor that has unavoidably conditioned integration patterns. East Europeans display the highest level of partial integration in comparison to the other immigrant groups. Albanians appear relatively stable at the level of partial integration, while the Asians display a marginal integration pattern. The integration index of socio-economic integration stands at the level of partial integration. The multiple linear regression analysis shows that citizenship, years of residence and educational are significant predictors of integration levels. The empirical findings corroborate the hypothesis of differentiated exclusion in the integration process of immigrants, with the relevant policies leaving room for partial integration only. Furthermore, the study suggests that the limited range of the state’s institutional intervention appears to offer increased space for local and individual micro-processes, confirming that micro-level practices and strategies of the immigrants themselves are the most effective channels in shaping the phenomenon of socio-economic integration.

GemiEda_SocioEconomicIntegrationOfImmigrantsInGreece.pdf - Accepted Version

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