Changing social stratification in Vienna: Why are migrants declining from the middle of society?

Bernhard Riederer, Roland Verwiebe, Lena Seewann

Publication: Scientific journalJournal article


The social stratification systems of major cities are transforming all around the globe.
International research has been discussing this trend and focus on changing occupational
classes. However, the precise effects on urban households, taking social welfare
and different family arrangements into account, as well as the precise effects on people
with a migration background, remain unclear. Using the example of Vienna, this article
examines immigration as a key dimension for social stratification. Although household
income structures in Austria have remained comparatively stable over the past two
decades, the middle‐income share in Vienna (as the sole metropolis in Austria) has dramatically
decreased. This predominantly affects people from migrant backgrounds.
Using a comprehensive dataset (two waves, N = 16,700 participants, including
N = 4,500 migrants), we systematically examine the role of (a) migration‐specific and
(b) education‐ and employment‐related factors to explain the decline of middle‐income
migrants. The results of multinomial logistic regression and decomposition analyses suggest
that transformations in the labour market is the main driving force. Changing
migrant characteristics have counteracted this process. If today's migrants displayed
similar showed characteristics (e.g., origin and educational levels) to those prevalent in
the past decade, the ethnic stratification disparities would have been even stronger
Original languageGerman (Austria)
Pages (from-to)1-11
JournalPopulation, Space and Place
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes

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