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Does family matter for recent immigrants' life satisfaction?

TitleDoes family matter for recent immigrants' life satisfaction?
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsMasferrer, C.
JournalAdvances in Life Course Research
Pages53 - 71
Date PublishedDecember
Keywordscanada, family and households, immigrant adaptation, immigrant living arrangements, life satisfaction, subjective well-being

Using the Longitudinal Survey of Immigrants to Canada, a nationally representative survey of recent immigrants, this paper explores the influence of coresidents on satisfaction with life in Canada. Results of cross-sectional logistic regression models indicate that except for living with young children shortly after arrival, living arrangements have a null influence on life satisfaction, when taking into account explanatory factors of demographic characteristics and modes of incorporation. To study how living arrangements influence changes in life satisfaction over time, I estimate fixed- and random-effects logistic regression models. Results from longitudinal analyses show that coresidents and changes in coresidents have null effects on changes in life satisfaction. Putting together results from cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses, findings suggest that characteristics of family living arrangements may be significant for interpersonal comparisons of satisfaction, but not for intrapersonal comparisons. This indicates that time-constant characteristics including personality, a key factor influencing satisfaction, as well as immigrant entry status and ethnicity may be selecting individuals into types of living arrangements. Overall, findings show large and significant influences of indicators of economic integration on satisfaction in the destination country, while coresidents and living arrangements have a small influence.