Preliminary research findings

The Pathways project is at the mid-point of its three-year duration. At this stage, we are in a position to share some preliminary findings relating to the dimension of descriptive representation: the number of MPs of immigrant origin that are elected to the national parliaments, their socio-demographic profiles, and their political background and experience.

Key Findings

• The Netherlands and the United Kingdom lead in the presence of citizens of immigrant origin in national parliaments
across the eight European countries studied
• South European countries fare worst in the inclusion of citizens of immigrant origin in the national legislature
• There are considerable cross-national variations in the gender, age and educational attainment profiles of IO MPs
across Europe. There is no single universal pattern to their socio-demographic profiles
• In the years studied, IO MPs are more likely to be women in Belgium and Spain but the gender pattern is balanced or
variable in the other countries
• IO MPs are noticeably younger in Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands, but not so in the other countries
• Over 70% of all MPs in all countries have a university degree, and IO MPs are somewhat more likely to have a
university degree, except in Belgium and Germany
• IO MPs tend to be elected as candidates of left-wing or centre-left parties more often than of centre-right or rightwing
parties, but this is not the case in South European countries
• IO MPs tend to have gained less political experience in their parties’ structure or in subnational elected office before
they win their seat in national parliament
• For the years studied so far, IO MPs tend to be underrepresented in key positions of party and committee leadership, although this may be a temporary effect resulting from their generally lower levels of parliamentary experience in
some countries

To access our report on preliminary research findings please click here

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Contact Details

Department of Politics and International Relations
University of Leicester
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Tel: +44 (0)116 252 2702