Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies vol:38 issue:10 pages:1513-1531
This study examines the relation between the ethnic composition of municipalities and secondary school completion of the second generation of Italian, Moroccan and Turkish origin and native origin Belgians. Drawing on random samples from the Belgian Census and on contextual data at the level of municipalities, we use multilevel models to compare two competing concepts and measures of ethnic composition. While the percentage of ethnic minorities in a municipality is found to be negatively related to secondary school completion among Belgians, but not among ethnic minorities, a positive association is found for the percentage of co-ethnics for all groups. Compared to measures of socio-economic composition, however, ethnic composition measures are more weakly associated with school completion. The findings are discussed in light of research on neighbourhood effects, in particular ethnic density effects. We argue that combining different ethnic groups into one measure of ethnic minority concentration, though relevant for the majority population, glosses over crucial ethnic differences from the perspective of ethnic minorities.