Immigration, ethnicity, and housing-Success hierarchies in Israel

Uzi Rebhun*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The study assesses housing hierarchies among immigrants in Israel by investigating three different but complementary paths: homeownership, crowding, and access to housing goods. Data from the most recent Israeli census in 1995 (the 20% version file) allows us to classify the immigrant population by 46 countries or areas of origin, each meeting the criterion of having a minimum of 100 sample cases. I controlled for several confounding factors: immigration characteristics, community of residence, demographic and human-capital variables, household composition, and housing characteristics. The results of multivariate analyses suggest that membership in approximately half of the immigrant groups has a statistically significant effect on homeownership. Representing very different origin groups from developing countries in Asia and Africa, as well as developed areas in Western Europe and America, most of the effects are negative relative to the reference group of Polish Jews. The pace of home acquisition is fastest among immigrants from several former Soviet republics and slowest among Syrian and Ethiopian Israelis. A better ethnic hierarchy was found for the other two characteristics, crowding and housing goods, with immigrants from Asia, Africa, and Eastern Europe being at a disadvantage. Many of these gaps close as immigrants purchase housing and gain tenure in Israel. The pace of advancement, however, is not uniform. I speculate that the differences in pace reflect structural characteristics, cultural background, and immigration processes, as well as absorption policy, which were not fully indexed by the census data. The discussion addresses broader implications of the findings for ethnic differences and social stratification in immigration countries.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)219-243
Number of pages25
JournalResearch in Social Stratification and Mobility
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2009


  • Crowding
  • Homeownership
  • Household goods
  • Immigration
  • Israel
  • Logistic regression
  • OLS regression


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