Principal investigator (Project leader) 

Ben Wilson 

Funding source 

The European Research Council (ERC)

Project details 

Proposal duration: 5 years


More than 2.5 million refugees have been granted residence in Europe over the last ten years and their long-run adaptation is a fundamental societal challenge. Adaptation can only be evaluated over the long-run by making intergenerational comparisons between immigrants and their descendants, yet research has almost entirely overlooked this topic for refugees, not least because most countries lack both data and significant numbers of descendants of refugees. 

This proposal represents the first comprehensive intergenerational study of the descendants of refugees. Our aim is to compare and contrast four domains of life: socio-economic status, health, family formation and residential context. We will use cutting-edge research methods to analyse longitudinal data for the whole population of Sweden from 1968-2019. Thanks to the unique combination of this comprehensive data, and Sweden’s long history as a refugee-receiving country, we will be able to make ground-breaking contributions: 

  1. To reveal the diverse nature of intergenerational adaptation for the second-generation children of refugees, and establish to what extent this is determined by their parents’ adaptation
  2. To uncover the mechanisms of intergenerational adaptation for the second-generation children of refugees
  3. To establish the nature and extent of intergenerational adaptation beyond the second generation, for third-generation grandchildren of refugees 

Answers to these questions have the potential to generate large gains in understanding, and establish a holistic evidence base concerning the long-run adaptation of the descendants of refugees. In doing so, we will develop theories and evidence that can be shared with other European countries.

Read more here!