Multigenerational social mobility in migrant and non-migrant families

International migration has been considered as a critical event that could break the chain of reproduction of socio-economic disadvantages and drive migrants to achieve better life chances for themselves and their descendants. However, social mobility and migration literature little focuses on the effects of migration on intergenerational social mobility. Capitalizing on multigenerational data from the 2000 Families survey, this study examines whether migration hinders or amplifies occupational mobility across three generations by comparing migrant families of the Turkish guest workers in Western Europe with their ‘counterfactual’ non-migrant families left behind in Turkey and whether multigenerational mobility differs for grandsons and granddaughters. Three-level multilevel models show that migrant families experience higher levels of multigenerational social mobility than their comparators in Turkey. Granddaughters in migrant families in Europe gain greater mobility chances than non-migrant granddaughters in Turkey, whereas grandsons in migrant families are more trapped in social immobility than non-migrant grandsons. These findings suggest that migration reduces the reproduction of (low) occupational status, especially for female descendants in Europe.