Children of Immigrants Longitudinal Survey in Four European Countries (CILS4EU)

Research question/goal: 

This project focuses on the intergenerational integration of the children of immigrants in four selected European countries: Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. Initially funded within the NORFACE programme, it is the first comprehensive and fully-standardized panel study on this topic in Europe. Between 2010 and 2013, three waves of data collection were conducted with children of immigrants and their majority peers starting at age 14, thus covering a crucial, formative period of their lives. Furthermore, parental as well as teachers’ surveys were realised during the first wave of data collection. Based on these data, it will be possible to investigate the complex causal interplay between the processes of structural, social, and cultural integration. The project started from the assumption that this is the only way one can account for the important differences between countries, ethnic groups, and domains of life, as revealed by prior research on the integration of the second generation in Europe. The project is the first to collect the data needed to uncover the mechanisms behind these diverse and complex patterns: large-scale, strictly comparative, theory-guided, multilevel and longitudinal data. Regarding the latter, the longitudinal aspect did not end after the initial NORFACE funding period in 2014. All country teams started—sometimes, as in the case of Germany, meanwhile successful—initiatives to prolong the project in the context of national research projects, still ensuring highly coordinated action between the different country teams.

Current stage: 

Our main task in 2022 was to collect the data for the ninth wave of CILS4EU. Furthermore, we have published a Campus Use File of the CILS4EU data for teaching purposes. Besides these project-related activities, the project team’s exemplary research focussed on the question of whether immigrant optimism, i.e. the tendency of students with an immigrant background to pursue ambitious educational pathways despite their on average lower achievement level than that of peers without an immigrant background, is responsible for the higher dropout rates of these students. Furthermore, using CILS4EU data on the strength of foreign accents, we investigated whether these language markers are an obstacle to labour market entry.

Fact sheet

2009 to 2024
Data Sources: 
Primary data collection
Geographic Space: 
Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, the United Kingdom/England



Kalter, Frank, Jan O. Jonsson, Frank van Tubergen and Anthony Heath (Eds.) (2018): Growing up in Diverse Societies: the Integration of the Children of Immigrants in England, Germany, the Netherlands, and Sweden. Oxford: Oxford University Press. [Proceedings of the British Academy; 215] more