Language Used at Home and Educational–Occupational Mismatch of Migrants by Gender

Debora Pricila Birgier, Eyal Bar-Haim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The ability of migrants to use the host country's language is crucial to their integration. Nonetheless, the association between migrant literacy and their labor market outcome is less explored compared to the association between their educational attainment and their economic integration. Moreover, this ability has another vital role in immigrant assimilation, serving as an indicator of cultural capital. The current study, therefore, examines the extent to which language as cultural capital shapes gender differences in migrant economic integration, as measured by educational–occupational mismatch (EOM). Using the PIAAC 2018 dataset, we employ a series of nested fixed-effect linear models in which our dependent variable is years of over-education and study the effect of language use at home, controlling for linguistic competence in the host country language. We find that once controlling for educational level, migrant men who use a different language than the host country's language at home are not more prone to EOM. However, migrant women, who are at higher risk of EOM, suffer even more when using a foreign language at home. We suggest that using a foreign language at home for women might indicate low host-country-specific cultural capital, which could directly affect migrant women’s integration into the labor market.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)265-290
Number of pages26
JournalSocial Indicators Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s).


Open access funding provided by Stockholm University. The research was partially funded by the Israel Science Foundation (80/20) and the Swedish Research Council for Health, Working life and Welfare (FORTE) (2016-07105). The paper was presented at the 2022 spring meeting of ISA's research committee on stratification and mobility (RC28) at the London School of Economics (LSE), London. The authors want to thank the participants of the conference and the two anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments. We would also like to acknowledge the Israel Science Foundation (80/20) and the Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life, and Welfare (FORTE) (2016-07105) for their financial support of this work.

FundersFunder number
Israel Science Foundation80/20
Forskningsrådet om Hälsa, Arbetsliv och Välfärd2016-07105


    • Cultural capital
    • Educational–occupational mismatch
    • Migration
    • Overeducation


    Dive into the research topics of 'Language Used at Home and Educational–Occupational Mismatch of Migrants by Gender'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this