Children of immigrants in Europe are often found to make more ambitious track choices than native-origin peers, net of academic performance and socioeconomic status. However, literature is mostly limited to Nordic and Western European countries, and little is known about Mediterranean states. In this article we fill this gap using the 2015 survey ‘Integration of the Second Generation’ to study upper secondary track enrolment for a nationally representative sample of students in Italy. We focus on two understudied determinants of track choices, gender and citizenship status, and adopt an intersectional approach by studying differences by country of origin and migrant generation. Overall, we find that children of immigrants in Italy do not tend to make more ambitious track choices than their native-origin peers: second-generation students of both genders and 1.5 generation girls make similar choices as their native-origin peers, whereas 1.5 generation boys are less likely than native-origin boys to choose the academic track. The latter finding is mostly driven by students of Albanian, Moroccan, and Balkan origin. The only group with more ambitious track choices than native-origin students are second-generation students with the Italian citizenship – highlighting the importance of expanding the access to citizenship for (children of) immigrants.
Alessandro Ferrara and Claudia Brunori, “Immigrant generation, gender, and citizenship: evidence on educational track choices from Italy“, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 2023.