A multilevel analysis of factors influencing teenagers’ identification with Europe : the effects of migration and learning opportunities

The European Union (EU) faces challenges that affect its persistence, including the revival of national populism in many EU member states. Studies have shown that individuals with immigration histories identify less strongly with Europe than individuals without immigration histories. Therefore, fostering a strong identification with Europe is more relevant than ever. This paper will explore the possible historical roots of different levels of identification and examine if differing access to learning opportunities can explain the difference. Drawing on data from the German sample of the International Civic and Citizenship Study 2016, this paper aims to determine the relevance of individual variables and learning opportunities for the development of students’ identification with Europe. Multilevel analyses at individual and classroom level were conducted introducing different independent variables. Results show that having no immigration history from outside the EU, being Christian or atheist, and learning about Europe at school are predictors of a stronger level of identification with Europe. The effect of having an immigration history from outside the EU loses significance when socio-economic status classroom composition is entered into the model. We conclude that differences in identification are not due to different access to learning opportunities, but likely due to personal characteristics.


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