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Changes in the Personal Networks of Young Immigrants in Sweden

  • Gerald Mollenhorst
  • Christofer Edling
  • Jens Rydgren
  • Mariella Espinoza-Herold
  • Rina Manuela Contini
Publishing year: 2017
Language: English
Pages: 223-249
Publication/Series: Living in Two Homes
Document type: Book chapter
Publisher: Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Abstract english

In this chapter, we focus on the social integration of young immigrants in Sweden who themselves and/or one or both of their parents came from Iran or former Yugoslavia. In particular, we look at the share of alters in their core networks who are of the same parental national origin and how this has changed within a period of four years. To explain network changes, we consider the parental national origin similarity among them, changes in opportunities to meet network members, and important life events.

We analyzed two waves of survey data collected in 2010 and 2014 from 1,537 individuals who live in Sweden and who were all born in 1990, including 325 immigrants from Iran, 447 immigrants from former Yugoslavia, and 805 native Swedes. The results indicate that: (a) the share of parental national origin similar alters in the core networks of immigrants significantly increases over time, (b) first-generation immigrants in particular increasingly associate with others who are of the same parental national origin, (c) important life events hardly result in network changes, and (d) schools and work places are social contexts that enhance the social integration of immigrants, because in these contexts immigrants meet and engage in personal relationships with individuals who do not share their parental national origin.


  • Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
  • Personal networks
  • social integration
  • immigrants
  • national origin
  • social contexts
  • Sweden


  • ISBN: 978-1-78635-781-6
  • ISBN: 978-1-78635-782-3
Christofer Edling
E-mail: christofer [dot] edling [at] soc [dot] lu [dot] se


Faculty of Social Sciences

+46 46 222 88 62



Centre for Economic Demography




+46 46 222 88 62




I earned my PhD from Stockholm University in 1999. Between 2002 and 2005 I was Torgny Segerstedt Pro Futura Fellow at the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study at Uppsala University. I received my Docent-title in 2003, and was appointed Associate Professor at Stockholm University in 2004. From 2006 to 2008 I was Head of the Department of Sociology at Stockholm university. Before coming to Lund in 2012 I served as Full Professor of Sociology at Jacobs University, Bremen, Germany. I have been a fellow at Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin (2004/05) and Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study (2013).

Department of Sociology
Lund University
Visiting address: Sandgatan 11, House G, Lund
Postal address: Box 114 , SE-221 00 LUND, SWEDEN
Telephone: Student Office +46 46-222 88 44, Lund University Switchboard +46 46-222 00 00

Faculty of Social Sciences