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Frank Micheel and Robert Naderi (2009)

Subjective Assessment of the Economic Situation of older Turks in Connection with their Social Inclusion*

In: Zeitschrift für Bevölkerungswissenschaft, Vol. 34, 1-2/2009, p. 165-198, Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, ISSN: 0340-2398, DOI: 10.1007/s12523-010-0037-y

Abstract: This article aims to investigate the subjective income situation of older Turkish migrants living in Germany (aged from 55 to 79) in connection with their social inclusion and in comparison to their German peers with no migration background. The background is the finding that the income situation of Turks, measured by net equivalent income, is much worse than that of German respondents. On the other hand, there is a group among Turkish respondents which should not be neglected which states that it gets by well on the available household income. What factors may explain this inconsistency
between the objective situation and the subjective assessment? Are social networks able to compensate for shortcomings in the income situation, or can more cumulative effects be expected? The concept of social capital was used as a theoretical pattern to explain this phenomenon. The following three influencing factors as to the subjective perception of the income situation can be presumed, and at the same time are placed on the test-bed as hypotheses: (1) Embedding in family networks; (2) The emotional expression of social embedding; and (3) General trust in people. The data basis is formed by the first wave of the Generations and Gender Survey (GGS). Use is made of the main questionnaire of roughly 10,000 German-speaking individuals collected in a representative fashion in 2005, as well as of the additional survey from 2006 of roughly 4,000 Turkish nationals in Germany. Multivariate analyses show two unmistakeable results: Firstly, the amount of income not surprisingly plays a major role in the subjective evaluation of the financial household situation. Secondly, the subjective assessment of social embedding demonstrates a significant effect on the assessment of the income situation. The central result is that social networks are more important for older Turks in terms of compensation for economic disadvantages than for older Germans.

* peer-reviewed article (original German title: Subjektive Einschätzung der ökonomischen Lage älterer Türkinnen und Türken im Zusammenhang mit ihrer sozialen Einbindung)

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