Journal of Happiness Studies vol:15 issue:6 pages:1389-1406
Previous studies have shown that immigrants’ levels of life satisfaction tend to be lower than among natives. We do not know, however, whether this is due to the immigration experience as such, or rather is a result of the fact that on average this group is faced with less prosperous living conditions. In this analysis, we use data from a recent Dutch population survey (n=3,925), with an oversampling of first and second generation minority respondents of Moroccan and Turkish origin (n=1,697). While initially we observe significant differences in levels of life satisfaction, these can be almost fully explained by more financial problems and stronger feelings of social isolation among these groups, as predicted by the need-gratification theory on life satisfaction. We did not observe any interaction effect between these variables and minority status, indicating that these conditions have the same effect on all population groups. Taking into account financial and social resources, there is no significant difference in life satisfaction between the majority group and ethnic minorities in the Netherlands. We close with observations on the theoretical and policy implications.