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Understanding the Socioeconomic Status of International Immigrants in Chile Through Hierarchical Cluster Analysis: a Population‐Based Study

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International Migration

Published online on


Immigration to Chile is not large (just under 2% of the total population) but has increased in recent years. This study aimed to analyse the socioeconomic status (SES) of immigrants in Chile and compare it with the Chilean‐born, by secondary data analysis of an anonymous nationally representative survey (CASEN, 2006). Immigrants are categorized into Low, Medium and High SES through hierarchical cluster analysis. Around 1 per cent of the total sample are international immigrants; an additional 0.7 per cent did not report their migration status. Self‐reported immigrants show great variability in their SES. Immigrants in the Low SES cluster appeared to be significantly younger than those in Medium and High SES, also more likely to be children, women and belong to an ethnic minority. Immigrants in the Low SES cluster appeared similar to the unemployed, poorest Chilean‐born but are more than eight years younger on average and more likely to be female. Immigrants to Chile are a unique group, with socio‐demographic characteristics that differ significantly from the Chilean‐born population, but there is great heterogeneity and complexity within this group. Cluster analysis provided a meaningful interpretation of the multidimensional concept of SES and allowed the identification of a vulnerable group of Low SES immigrants to Chile.