The Housing Integration of Asylum Seekers and Refugees in Germany

Chia Liu , University of St. Andrews
Hill Kulu, University of St Andrews

Housing security is widely recognized as an indicator of social inclusion. However, there is limited understanding regarding how immigrants navigate the housing market based on their legal entry type. This study examines residential mobility and home ownership in conjunction among immigrants who entered Germany through different legal pathways. Using the German Socio-Economic Panel (GSOEP), we constructed housing trajectories for individuals aged 20 to 49 between the years 2000 to 2021 by residential mobility and tenure type. We focus on three refugee groups: those from Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq, compared to EU immigrants, ethnic German immigrants, and other non-EU immigrants. Using discrete-time event history models, we analyze the likelihood of individuals experiencing residential moves. Refugee groups experience elevated spatial mobility in the first years since arrival compared to other immigrant groups; after five years their mobility resembles that of the other groups, especially once socio-economic conditions are considered. Refugees and ethnic German immigrants are more likely to move to government housing compared to other groups. This research contributes to the existing literature by highlighting how the legal pathway into a country can shape individuals' intentions to stay and their subsequent opportunities, including the possibility of long-term investments such as purchasing a home. Additionally, the higher levels of mobility observed among refugees, coupled with their lower rates of home ownership, suggest heightened residential instability and increased social exclusion.

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 Presented in Session 72. Spatial Segregation and Migrant Populations