Integrating in Homeownerland: The Norwegian housing regime and why it matters for immigrants’ social inclusion
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Original versionNordic Journal of Migration Research 2015, 5(3):117-125 10.1515/njmr-2015-0019
The Norwegian housing model stands out internationally with its emphasis on home ownership. Immigrants, however, disproportionally live in rented housing. The rental market is poorly regulated, and renters often encounter poor housing standards, deprived neighbourhoods, and discrimination. Focusing on families with children, we use quantitative data to establish that housing and neighbourhood problems accumulate. We then draw on qualitative interviews to illuminate how such problems impact on family life. Our data indicate that the Norwegian housing model works well for a majority of immigrants, while a minority faces severe obstacles. We argue that poor and/or unstable housing represents challenges for family life, and also for immigrants’ capacities to build social networks beyond the family. We further suggest that the arbitrary and potentially discriminatory selection processes in the rental market undermines the development of generalised trust.