Sampling Aussiedler

Kurt Salentin


Aussiedler (resettlers of German descent) are the largest immigrant group in contemporary Germany. Though economic and social integration difficulties on their part are known, pertinent survey and official statistical data are still lacking due to the absence of clear-cut criteria discerning them from the autochthonous population. The article discusses advantages and disadvantages of Aussiedler-sampling techniques hitherto used (random route, address lists kept in transit camps, snowball sampling, name-based techniques). An alternative method based on (a) dual citizenship patterns and (b) specific birthplaces in the population register is then introduced and discussed. Estimates of target population exhaustion and the rate of false identification calculated from a pilot implementation in the city of Bielefeld. Currently, an exhaustion of 95% may be expected with a rate of false identification of below 10%, varying between former countries of residence. Though cumbersome in technical terms, the birthplace criterion is superior to citizenship-based identification, as about half the Aussiedler-population cannot be discerned via combinations of German and second citizenships. Further, sampling based on names typical to the group is tested. Though Aussiedler-names predominantly sound German, a range of names exists that distinguish Aussiedler-fairly well from autochthonous Germans. Apart from particularities concerning the period of immigration and network and social contact patterns, bearers of German names vs. names typical for countries of former residence do not display significantly different social characteristics

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Copyright (c) 2016 Kurt Salentin

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