Refugee and Immigrant Integration

Key terms on refugee and immigrant integration. For more terms, please see the Key Terms page.

Integration: A multidirectional process where both migrant and host populations make changes to incorporate the other. Different indicators include but are not limited to: economic, legal, political, social, and cultural integration. For more information, see "Key Concepts: Defining Integration" and "Key Concepts: Process of Integration."

Social Cohesion: The dynamics between people and groups, and the interactions between these groups and their governing institutions in a given setting. Government models of social integration tend to look at social cohesion top-down as adherence to a set of national values or norms, while at the individual or local level, social cohesion is examined more horizontally, looking at behaviors among spatially similar groups.

Social Inclusion: “The willingness of members of a society to cooperate with each other in order to survive and prosper;” however, the term lacks a universal common definition. (Richmond & Saloojee 2005)

Prejudice and Social Hostility: Conditions resistant to social integration that are universal in all people, with gradations: The “focus is not on pairs of individualized sameness or differences, such as black and white, female and male, gay and straight, rich and poor, but rather on us and them.” (Volkan 2017)

Social Capital: “The aggregate of the actual or potential resources that are linked to possession of a durable network of more or less institutionalized relationships of mutual acquaintance or recognition.” Social capital might be subdivided into four aspects: personal relationships, social network support, civic engagement, and trust and cooperative norms. (Aldrich & Meyer 2015)

Collective Efficacy: “The process of activating or converting social ties among neighborhood residents in order to achieve collective goals, such as public order or the control of crime,” which predicts spatial distribution of crime, poverty, and residential turnover rates. (Sampson 2010)

Social Networks: “A structured set of social relationships between individuals.” In the migration context social networks may be used as a pathway for new migrants to follow previous generations. Social networks have the potential to ease an individual's integration into new communities. (Gurak & Caces 1992)

Ethnic Identity: “The extent to which a person identifies with and positively regards his or her ethnic group.” Migrants' ethnic identity may play a role in how well integration occurs. The perceptions of certain ethnic groups within the host community can make integration and adaptation more difficult or easy depending on the context. (David 2013)