Census data says you’ll make a lot more than your immigrant parents, but your kids won’t make as much as you | Toronto Star

The chart above breaks out the visible minority population by generation. While Black Canadians and Japanese Canadians have the highest percentage of third generation, the actual numbers are small for 25-54 years olds: about 24,000 and 12,000 respectively. The numbers of the other groups are all under 5,000 (many under 1,000), save for Chinese Canadians at just under 9,000.

Given the relatively small size, it may be premature to make this conclusion regarding the overall prospects for the third generation:

Children of immigrants make a lot more money than their parents but their kids won’t make as much as them, the latest census shows.

While visible-minority immigrants tend to earn less than their white immigrant counterparts, their kids more than make up the income gap between the two groups and also outperform their white peers in the second generation, according to a report by the Association of Canadian Studies based on 2016 census data.

Part of the study, to be presented at a national conference in March on immigration and settlement policies, examines the ethnic differences in after-tax incomes across first, second and third generations of immigrants by ethnicity in the prime working age between 35 and 44.

For immigrants — white or non-white — that upward socioeconomic mobility based on earnings fizzled by the third generation when all groups, except for the Korean and Japanese, made significantly less money than their second-generation parents.

According to Jack Jedwab, the report’s author, visible-minority immigrants made an average of $38,065 a year, compared to $47,978 earned by white immigrants.

Overall, children of visible-minority immigrants made a 47 per cent leap in their average earnings above their parents, making $55,994 annually, surpassing their white second-generation peers, who made $54,174 annually or 13 per cent more than their own parents. (The white group also includes those who self-identified as Aboriginal, who makes up 6.1 per cent of the group.)

While all children of immigrants of colour did better than their parents, some communities fared better than others.

Second-generation South Asians made the most progress, earning an average of $62,671, up from $38,978 from their immigrant parents. Their Chinese peers, who had the highest average annual income of all groups at $65,398, made 50 per cent more than first-generation Chinese immigrants who made $43,085.


“The entire second generation enjoyed a higher mobility though some communities were faring better than others,” noted Jedwab, who teaches sociology and public affairs at Concordia University.

The higher socioeconomic attainment, he said, can be partially attributed to immigrant parents’ expectations on their children to make up for the sacrifice they made for the move and seize on the better opportunities Canada has to offer.

“Education is certainly a key explanation and I would suggest that the value that children of immigrants attach to higher education is greater than is the case for the grandchildren of immigrants,” said Jedwab.

via Census data says you’ll make a lot more than your immigrant parents, but your kids won’t make as much as you | Toronto Star


2016 Census Environics Presentation: Release 6 – Education, Labour, Journey to work, Language of work, Mobility, migration

Really good detailed series of slides on the latest Census release. Not just for policy and data nerds:

via 2016 Census: Release 6 Education, Labour, Journey to work, Language of work, Mobility, migration

The Daily — Labour, Education in Canada: Key results from the 2016 Census [immigration excerpts]

Immigration excerpts (looking forward to exploring the various data tables):

Immigrants accounted for almost one-quarter of the labour force

From 2006 to 2016, about two-thirds of Canada’s population growth was the result of migratory increase (the difference between the number of immigrants and emigrants). Similarly, the labour force was growing in large part due to increased immigration, with immigrants accounting for 23.8% of the labour force in 2016, up from 21.2% in 2006.

In 2016, half of the workforce in the CMA of Toronto were immigrants. The CMA of Vancouver had the second-highest proportion of immigrants in its labour force at 43.2%, followed by the CMA of Calgary at 32.5%.

The contribution of immigrants to the Canadian labour market is an important component of strategies to offset the impact of population aging, which might otherwise lead to a shrinking pool of workers and labour shortages. Many immigrants are admitted into Canada based on their skills and education.

In May 2016, among recent immigrants aged 25 to 54, 68.5% were employed, compared with an employment rate of 79.5% for core-aged immigrants who landed more than five years before the census, and 82.0% for the Canadian-born population. Among recent immigrants in this age group, 79.6% of men were employed, compared with 58.6% of women.

Although the employment rate for core-aged recent immigrants was lower than that of other immigrants and the Canadian-born, it increased from 67.1% in 2006 to 68.5% in 2016. For core-aged recent immigrant women, the employment rate increased from 56.8% in 2006 to 58.6% in 2016, and for core-aged recent immigrant men, the rate increased from 78.7% to 79.6%. In contrast, employment rates for core-aged Canadian-born men, as well as for non-recent immigrant men and women, declined over this 10-year period.

via The Daily — Labour in Canada: Key results from the 2016 Census

Over half of recent immigrants have a bachelor’s degree or higher

Immigrants contribute to Canada’s economy by bringing their skills and high levels of educational attainment. Canada’s immigration system highly values education. In recent years, new programs have made it easier for international students who have completed their postsecondary education in Canada to immigrate into the country. As of the 2016 Census, 4 in 10 immigrants aged 25 to 64 had a bachelor’s degree or higher. In comparison, just under one-quarter of the Canadian-born population aged 25 to 64 had a bachelor’s degree or higher. Recent immigrants who landed in the five years prior to the 2016 Census were especially well-educated, with over half having a bachelor’s degree or higher. Recent immigrant women were more likely than recent immigrant men to have a bachelor’s degree or higher in 2016. The reverse was true in the 2006 Census.

The percentage of all immigrants with a master’s or doctorate degree is twice that of the Canadian-born population. Among immigrants aged 25 to 64, 11.3% had a master’s or doctorate degree compared with 5.0% among the Canadian-born population. Recent immigrants were even more likely to have a master’s or doctorate degree, with 16.7% of them holding these graduate degrees in 2016.

Chart 5  Chart 5: Percentage of the population aged 25 to 64 with selected degrees, by immigrant status and period of immigration, Canada, 2016
Percentage of the population aged 25 to 64 with selected degrees, by immigrant status and period of immigration, Canada, 2016

Chart 5: Percentage of the population aged 25 to 64 with selected degrees, by immigrant status and period of immigration, Canada, 2016

…Close to one-third of refugees have upgraded their educational credentials in Canada

For the first time, the census included information on the admission category under which immigrants to Canada have arrived. The Canadian immigration system has three broad goals: to attract educated and skilled immigrants, to reunify families, and to provide humanitarian and compassionate refuge. Immigrants admitted under the refugee category face particular challenges as they are not admitted based on education, language or other assets, and may not have all of the skills required to find employment in their new country.

Close to one-third of refugees (31.5%) who have received their permanent resident status, upgraded their educational credentials by completing their highest postsecondary qualification in Canada. When looking only at those who arrived as adults (aged 18 and older), about 22% upgraded their education with higher qualifications in Canada, slightly more than immigrants admitted under either the economic or family categories, both at about 20%. The majority (71.1%) of refugees who immigrated to Canada as adults and upgraded their educational qualifications in Canada completed a trades or college diploma. In comparison, among economic immigrants who upgraded their education in Canada, the majority (56.5%) completed a bachelor’s degree or higher.

Via: Education in Canada: Key results from the 2016 Census 

More than half of Canada’s Jews are missing: Robert Brym

My understanding of the Census methodology is that the examples chosen for ethnic origin reflect the top 20 single responses in the previous census with the exception of  specific groups being used instead of “North American Indian.” Moreover, new groups are added that represent representing recent immigrants (e.g., Iranian). So Jewish dropped off the examples, explaining the drop in responses (in general, people respond to a specific prompt more than an open-ended one).

Arguably, the religious affiliation question, rather than being asked ever 10 years at present, should become part of regular Census given the increased importance of religious diversity in Canada:

Many Canadians recall what happened when the former Harper government cancelled the compulsory 2011 census and replaced it with the voluntary 2011 National Household Survey (NHS). The head of Statistics Canada resigned in protest. Ethnic, business, health, social service, academic and other organizations protested. As feared, low-income and Indigenous Canadians were underrepresented in the NHS. Data from some census districts in Saskatchewan were never reported because the response rate was so low it rendered the data unreliable.

All was supposed to return to normal when the Trudeau government came to power. Just one day after taking office, it announced that the 2016 census would revert to its traditional, compulsory form, once again providing Canadians with reliable data about their economic, demographic, housing and ethnic status. But at least one category of the population – Canada’s Jews – may be miffed to learn that more than half their number went missing between 2011 and 2016. Statistics Canada reported this “fact” in a recent 2016 census release.

The 2011 NHS reported 309,650 Canadian Jews by ethnic ancestry, which is believable because it is in line with 2006 census data. In contrast, the 2016 census reports just 143,665 Jews by ethnic ancestry – a decline of nearly 54 per cent in five years. That number defies reason.

The problem is that Statistics Canada mucked around with the wording of its ethnic question in a way that renders at least one of its findings highly suspect. In 2011 and 2016, respondents were asked about the “ethnic or cultural origins” of their ancestors. On both occasions they were asked to “specify as many origins as applicable.” On both occasions they were presented with 28 examples of ethnic or cultural origins. But only in 2011 was one of the examples “Jewish.”

In the 2016 census, all of the suggested responses are national or Indigenous groups. But Jews are neither. They are a cultural group, members of which come from many nations. Accordingly, it seems that the responses suggested by Statistics Canada in 2016 led many Canadian Jews to indicate their ethnic or cultural origin as Canadian or Polish or Tunisian or French, not Jewish. And so more than half the Jewish population was not counted.

Of course, no survey is perfect. The purveyors of the Canadian census may be excused for reporting that in 1971 the language most often spoken at home by 25 members of the “Indian and Eskimo” group was Yiddish. (Another 25 reported Chinese and fully 125 reported Gaelic and Welsh.) But it is unacceptable when more than half of a sizable cultural group suddenly disappears because of poorly thought-through question-wording.

No one could reasonably suggest that more than half of Canada’s Jews were removed from the census intentionally. However, the Jewish community has every right to be upset that its educational and social-service planning will be imperilled by the vagaries of Statistics Canada’s work and that the community is less likely to be recognized for its contribution to Canadian society now that its numbers have dropped so precipitously in the official population count.

Source: More than half of Canada’s Jews are missing – The Globe and Mail

Erreur dans le recensement linguistique: Statistique Canada s’explique

Not an easy time before parliamentarians:

Statistique Canada avait «détecté certains changements» dans les données sur la langue à l’étape de la validation, mais «n’a pas, à ce moment-là, capté» qu’il aurait fallu procéder à une révision avant de diffuser les données linguistiques qui ont provoqué un tollé au Québec.

«Je sais ce qui s’est produit. Mais comment on a manqué cette erreur-là, c’est cette partie que je ne sais pas encore», a lâché devant les députés du comité permanent sur les langues officielles Marc Hamel, directeur général du programme du recensement.

L’agence fédérale avait déjà fait son mea culpa en août dernier, expliquant que l’erreur avait été causée par le logiciel de compilation de données. Celui-ci a inversé les réponses dans des formulaires en français d’environ 61 000 personnes, dont environ 57 000 au Québec.

La bourde avait eu pour conséquence de surestimer la croissance de l’anglais dans la province et dans certaines de ses régions, tant pour la langue maternelle que pour la langue parlée à la maison, ce qui avait inquiété politiciens et défenseurs de la langue française.

«Ce n’est pas le système qui n’a pas détecté (l’erreur). Ce sont les gens qui ont testé le système qui n’ont pas détecté que le système ne lisait pas le questionnaire de façon conforme», a spécifié Marc Hamel aux élus.

Le député conservateur Alupa Clarke lui a demandé si des têtes allaient rouler chez Statistique Canada, déplorant que «de plus en plus, aujourd’hui, on vit dans une société où on ne met jamais au banc des accusés les responsables».

«Dans un cas comme celui-là, on ne parle pas des individus, on parle des processus. Si à chaque fois que quelqu’un faisait une erreur, il était congédié, on en congédierait peut-être plusieurs. Les erreurs sont rares», lui a répondu M. Hamel.

«On a fait les correctifs appropriés pour éviter que ce genre de situation comme ça se reproduise encore. Est-ce que je peux vous dire aujourd’hui que dans les 100 prochaines années, ça n’arrivera pas encore? Absolument pas. L’erreur est humaine», a-t-il ajouté.

Au haut fonctionnaire, qui s’est défendu de «prêcher par nonchalance», Alupe Clarke a suggéré d’envoyer une «lettre diplomate» aux 5000 employés de l’agence pour leur dire de faire gaffe à l’avenir, établissant un parallèle avec son expérience dans les Forces armées.

«Moi, j’ai fait l’armée, puis nous, ça ne niaise pas, là. Il y a une discipline (…) puis quand on fait la guerre, ça marche», a-t-il lâché.

Un peu plus tôt, son collègue néo-démocrate François Choquette s’était étonné que l’agence ait diffusé les données linguistiques alors que certaines d’entre elles, en particulier dans certaines villes à forte majorité francophone, étaient clairement suspectes.

«Attendez que je comprenne comme il faut: 164 pour cent d’augmentation de la population anglophone à Rimouski, 115 à Saguenay, 110 à Drummondville. Vous avez eu ces chiffres-là, qui n’étaient pas normaux, et vous avez quand même décidé de les sortir?», a-t-il questionné.

Le directeur adjoint de la division de la statistique sociale, Jean-Pierre Corbeil, a répondu que ce n’était «pas aussi simple» et qu’il «fallait être prudent quand on faisait des comparaisons historiques», surtout compte tenu des changements survenus sous les conservateurs en 2011.

Ces données contenues dans la livraison initiale de données du 2 août dernier étaient passées sous le radar jusqu’à ce que le président de l’Association d’études canadiennes, Jack Jedwab, lève un drapeau rouge après avoir passé les chiffres au peigne fin.

Les données revues et corrigées publiées quelques jours après ont confirmé que le français avait effectivement perdu du terrain au Québec, mais moins qu’annoncé initialement, et que l’anglais n’avait pas progressé, mais plutôt reculé, dans la province.

En présentant les nouveaux chiffres, l’agence fédérale avait fait acte de contrition et reconnu que cette erreur était d’autant plus regrettable qu’elle concernait un enjeu fort délicat au Québec.

«Nous sommes très conscients de l’aspect très sensible de cette question, de ces enjeux, et Statistique Canada va corriger le tir, simplement», affirmait Jean-Pierre Corbeil, directeur adjoint de la division de la statistique sociale et autochtone, qui était aussi au comité, mardi.

Source: Erreur dans le recensement linguistique: Statistique Canada s’explique | Mélanie Marquis | National

Income gap persists for recent immigrants, visible minorities and Indigenous Canadians

The Stars’s highlighting of the recent Census release:

As the face of Canada grows more diverse, the income gap between residents who identify as visible minorities, Indigenous or recent immigrants and the rest of Canadians remains a yawning chasm, data from the 2016 Census shows.

The income gap for these groups barely budged between 2006 and 2016, narrowing by just two percentage points for Indigenous Canadians and recent immigrants and widening by one percentage point for visible minorities, according to census data released Wednesday.

Total income was 26 per cent lower for visible minorities than non-visible minorities and 25 per cent lower for Indigenous Canadians than non-Indigenous Canadians.

But recent immigrants — many of whom are also visible minorities — face the toughest economic challenge with total incomes that fall 37 per cent below total incomes for Canadians born here, the data shows.

It means for every dollar in the pocket of someone born in Canada, a recent immigrant has just 63 cents.

More than 22 per cent of Canadians — including 51.5 per cent of Torontonians — reported being from a visible minority community in 2016, up from 16.3 per cent nationally in 2006.

In Toronto, more than 55 per cent of visible minority residents were living on less than $30,000 in 2016 compared to fewer than 40 per cent of the rest of the city’s population, according to census data provided to the Star.

While almost 14 per cent of non-visible minorities in Toronto reported total incomes of $100,000 or more, just 4 per cent of people from visible minority communities had access to that amount of cash in 2016.

“The latest census data simply confirms the reality that racialized people, recent immigrants, and Indigenous people continue to face discrimination and that income inequality doesn’t just magically reverse itself,” said Sheila Block senior economist for the left-leaning Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

“That takes political leadership,” added Block who crunched the national income gap from the latest census data on immigration, ethnocultural diversity and aboriginal peoples.

“As these populations increase and continue to lag behind, it becomes a bigger issue for everybody,” she said.

“We know this kind of inequality doesn’t only have a negative impact on the population that’s affected, but it has a negative impact on us overall as a society.”

Increases to income support programs such as social assistance, employment insurance and pensions are part of the solution, she said. But labour reform, including more access to unionization and a higher minimum wage are also key.

Nadira Begum, who has a master’s degree in social work from her native Bangladesh, juggles three part-time jobs and numerous volunteer positions in the non-profit sector but still hasn’t been able to land full-time work.

“I have been looking for a full-time job in my field for more than 10 years,” said the Regent Park mother of three. “I have the skills, the experience and the knowledge, but if they don’t hire me, how can I show them? It is a common story in our community.”

Begum’s part-time jobs have often involved substantially similar work as full-time employees, and yet she has been paid a lower wage. Friends with part-time jobs as grocery store clerks who were hired the same time as full-time clerks are paid less and enjoy fewer benefits, Begum added.

“We are not equally paid, even though we do the same work,” she said. “And we can’t complain because we can’t afford to lose our jobs.”

Deena Ladd of the Workers’ Action Centre says Ontario’s planned $15 minimum wage by 2019 will be a huge boost for visible minorities, recent immigrants and Indigenous workers, who are more likely than the rest of Canadians to be toiling for minimum wage.

But changes to the province’s proposed Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act are needed to ensure these workers, who like Begum are often stuck in temporary, part-time and contract positions, are paid the same as permanent and full-time staff, Ladd said.

Wording in the proposed minimum-wage legislation currently mandates equal pay for equal work if the job is “substantially the same,” Ladd said. But that allows employers to change one aspect of the job and still be allowed to pay temp, contract and part-time workers less.

Instead, the proposed legislation should be reworded to say these workers are entitled to equal pay if the job is “substantially similar” to work performed by a full-time employee, she said.

Another problem with the proposed law is the definition of seniority. Unlike all other provisions of the Employment Standards Act which measure seniority by the date an employee was hired, the equal pay amendments include a definition of seniority as “hours worked.” If this is not changed, workers from economically disadvantaged groups who are more likely to work part-time, will never achieve equal pay for equal work, Ladd said.

“The new legislation has the potential to address the kinds of inequities highlighted by the census,” she said. “But if we don’t strengthen the language so workers can use the equal-pay protections in their workplaces in a strong way, then it will be just words on paper.”

The legislation, which just passed second reading, is expected to become law later this year.

Ryerson University professor Myer Siemiatycki, who teaches immigration and settlement studies, says the census findings are a wake-up call and a reminder of why the census is important.

“These are worrying statistics,” he said. “They reflect the adverse living conditions of huge numbers of Canadians who fall into these three categories of population . . . It’s an alarm bell and we need to respond.”

Source: Income gap persists for recent immigrants, visible minorities and Indigenous Canadians | Toronto Star

New figures show just how big Canada’s immigrant wage gap is

One of the first deeper looks at Census data, looking at immigrant status, language and income by Arvind Magesan of U of Calgary. The November release of language at work, education etc will further enrich this analysis:

The first thing that surprised me is the gap has not changed much over the past 10 years. Census data from 2006 showed, at a national level, first-generation immigrants earned wages 12.6 per cent less than the average wage of native Canadians. In 2011, the gap dropped slightly to 10 per cent, but the new census data shows it’s climbed significantly to 16 per cent.


Importantly, the gap is a countrywide phenomenon. Looking at the three of the most popular destinations for immigrants in the past decade — Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary — the gap in 2016 sits at 25, 17 and 23 per cent respectively.

Interestingly, the gap doesn’t only exist for first-generation immigrants, but also for the children of immigrants (second generation, i.e. Canadians born to immigrant parents). The new data shows at the national level, second-generation immigrants earn 5.4 per cent less than natives.

Understanding the wage gap

The obvious question that follows then is: What is the source of these gaps?

Canada is an especially interesting case given the “points” system used to screen potential immigrants, where language, education and job skills are key determinants. And for the first time, the census has reported that about six out 10 new immigrants came here under the so-called economic admission category, meaning they have the skills “to enhance and promote economic development.”

Given the way immigrants are screened before entry, one would expect relatively quick integration into the Canadian economy and a convergence in wages. But this is clearly not the case.

The reasons put forward to explain the wage gap range from employer difficulty in assessing immigrant education credentials to outright discrimination. Economists refer to two types of “discrimination” in the labour market context, “statistical discrimination” and “taste-based discrimination.”

In the former, employers use observable traits (such as race) to make inferences about something like productivity. For example, an employer sees a job applicant with brown skin. The employer isn’t prejudiced towards brown people, but is worried (stereotypically) the employee is going to want to take trips “home” to Sri Lanka and would need a lot of vacation time. So the employer hires someone else equally qualified. Taste-based discrimination is more what we think of as prejudice — not wanting to hire someone purely because of skin colour.

Identifying causal factors that explain the wage gap is a difficult task – individuals who immigrate to Canada do so by choice. These choices are a function of a host of factors that could potentially jointly explain the decision to immigrate and labour market outcomes, including personal characteristics, job experience and education, to name just a few. Identifying discrimination in the labour market, and separating between taste-based and statistical discrimination, is even harder.

However, a 2011 study by University of Toronto economist Phil Oreopolous takes an important step in this direction.

In the study, thousands of computer-generated resumes were mailed out to companies that had posted ads searching for employees. The resumes were randomly assigned either a foreign or a “white” sounding last name, and were otherwise identical. The result: The resumes where the applicant had a foreign-sounding last name were less likely to receive a call back than identical looking resumes with a “white” last name.

When the author followed up with some of the recruiters, the overwhelming reason given for overlooking resumes with a foreign-sounding name was that they anticipated difficulty with language. Specifically, recruiters expected a lack of fluency in English, problems with communicating at work and difficulty for customers and co-workers in understanding a foreign accent. In other words, recruiters were statistically discriminating between job candidates based on their names.

Can language proficiency close the gap?

The census presents an opportunity to study the importance of English proficiency for the gap in labour market earnings between immigrants and native Canadians in 2016. The census provides information on wages, immigrant (and generation) status, as well as the language most commonly spoken at home.

Specifically, guided by the findings in Oreopolous’s study, I looked at how the gap in average wages changes when English is spoken at home. (For the purpose of this study, I looked at communities outside of Quebec, where French is the dominant language.) In 2016, 63 per cent of new immigrants living outside of Quebec most often spoke a language other than English or French while at home.

The latest census data says the native-first generation immigrant wage gap is 16 per cent at the national level. Once we examine whether immigrants speak English at home, things change — the wage difference is just 5.8 per cent. But for first-generation immigrants who don’t speak English at home, the gap jumps to 27.3 per cent.

For second-generation immigrants, there is barely any gap for those who speak English at home (0.7 per cent) but it’s still a significant gap for those who don’t speak English at home (a whopping 45.7 per cent).

This pattern also holds in the major metropolitan centres in the English-speaking parts of the country, which attract the most immigrants.

Interestingly, at almost 25 per cent, Toronto has one of the largest city level wage gaps in the country, explained at least in part by the fact that new immigrants tend to land in Toronto first and are more likely to be unemployed for a period of time. The three largest cities in English-speaking Canada, which also attract the most immigrants, also have gaps larger than the national average.

In Ottawa, immigrants of either generation who speak English at home actually earn more than natives on average. While it may be tempting to attribute the major differences across the cities to differences in culture, they are more likely due to regional differences in industrial composition and attendant labour demand.

The wage gap for immigrants who don’t speak English at home is very large. In Toronto and Calgary, first-generation immigrants who don’t speak English at home can expect to earn 37 per cent less than natives. Perhaps even more interesting is the fact that the gap across all cities for is larger for second generation immigrants who don’t speak English at home.


Though these patterns are striking, they should not be interpreted as causal – immigrants can’t necessarily start speaking English at home and expect to see their future earnings increase. There are unobserved qualities of individuals that may correlate both with the tendency to speak English at home as well as with labour market earnings potential. Without holding these fixed in some way, we can’t say whether there is a causal relationship between English skills and the gap in labour market outcomes.

But supposing that the findings here are suggestive of a causal relationship, why does speaking English at home matter so much?

One obvious answer is that individuals who speak English at home speak better English in general — and this would mean better communication at work. This would be consistent with the worries that the recruiters in Oreopolous’s study had when deciding who to call back. Or perhaps individuals of foreign descent that speak English at home tend to have other important skills on average.

The ConversationBut another possibility is the labour market discriminates against individuals with weaker English skills even when English is not important for productivity. Sorting between these different explanations (and others) will require more data and a deeper look.

Source: New figures show just how big Canada’s immigrant wage gap is – Macleans.ca

The Daily — Immigration and ethnocultural diversity: Key results from the 2016 Census

On Census Day, 21.9% of the population reported they were or had ever been a landed immigrant or permanent resident in Canada. This proportion is close to the 22.3% recorded during the 1921 Census, the highest level since Confederation.

In 2016, Canada had 1,212,075 new immigrants who had permanently settled in Canada from 2011 to 2016. These recent immigrants represented 3.5% of Canada’s total population in 2016.

The majority (60.3%) of these new immigrants were admitted under the economic category, 26.8% were admitted under the family class to join family already in the country, and 11.6% were admitted to Canada as refugees.

For the first time, Africa ranks second, ahead of Europe, as a source continent of recent immigrants to Canada, with a share of 13.4% in 2016. Asia (including the Middle East) remains, however, the top source continent of recent immigrants. In 2016, the majority (61.8%) of newcomers were born in Asia.

Toronto, Vancouver and Montréal are still the place of residence of over half of all immigrants and recent immigrants to Canada. More immigrants are settling in the Prairies and in the Atlantic provinces.

In addition to contributing to the social and economic development of the country, immigrants and their descendants play a significant role in shaping and enriching the ethnic, cultural and linguistic composition of the Canadian population. The 2016 Census results released today show the various facets of diversity in Canada.

More than one in five Canadians are foreign-born

According to the 2016 Census, there were 7,540,830 foreign-born individuals who came to Canada through the immigration process, representing over one-fifth (21.9%) of Canada’s total population. This proportion is close to the 22.3% recorded during the 1921 Census, the highest level since Confederation.

The proportion of the foreign-born population was much lower from 1951 to 1991, when it ranged from 14.7% to 16.1%. Since then, this proportion has been continually rising, to 19.8% in the 2006 Census and 20.6% in the 2011 National Household Survey.

This increasing share is due to the large number of immigrants admitted into Canada each year, the gradual rise in the number of deaths and the relatively low fertility levels in Canada.

According to Statistics Canada’s population projections, the proportion of Canada’s foreign-born population could reach between 24.5% and 30.0% by 2036.

Figure 1: Number and proportion of foreign-born population in Canada, 1871 to 2036

About 6 in 10 recent immigrants were admitted under the economic category

With the 2016 Census, it is now possible to classify immigrants admitted to Canada since 1980 by various admission categories.

In Canada, immigrants are selected based on three main objectives: to enhance and promote economic development; to reunite families; and to fulfill the country’s international obligations and uphold its humanitarian tradition.

Among recent immigrants living in Canada in 2016, approximately 6 in 10 were admitted under the economic category, when principal applicants, spouses and dependants were taken into account. Almost half (48.0%) of recent economic immigrants were admitted through the skilled workers program and more than a quarter (27.3%) under the provincial and territorial nominees program.

Furthermore, nearly 3 in 10 recent immigrants were admitted under the family class to join family already in the country, and approximately 1 in 10 recent immigrants were admitted to Canada as refugees.

Refugees accounted for a higher proportion (24.1%) of immigrants admitted from January 1 to May 10, 2016, as a result of the many Syrian refugees who landed during this period.

The situation is different for immigrants who were admitted during the 1980s and were still living in Canada in 2016. A smaller proportion were economic immigrants: 4 in 10 immigrants were admitted under this category, while over 3 in 10 immigrants were sponsored by family, and approximately 2 in 10 immigrants were refugees.

Figure 2: Distribution (in percentage) of immigrants living in Canada, by admission category and year of immigration, 2016

Additional information is available in the infographic “Gateways to Immigration in Canada” as well as in data products and reference products.

More immigrants are settling in the Prairies

Over the past 15 years, the share of recent immigrants in the Prairie provinces has more than doubled. The percentage of new immigrants living in Alberta rose from 6.9% in 2001 to 17.1% in 2016, a higher share than in British Columbia (14.5%). In Manitoba, the percentage increased from 1.8% to 5.2% during the same period. Saskatchewan’s share also grew, from just under 1.0% in 2001 to 4.0% in 2016.

In 2016, the Atlantic provinces were home to 2.3% of all recent immigrants in Canada. Each of the Atlantic provinces received its largest number of new immigrants, which more than doubled the share of recent immigrants in this region in 15 years.

Ontario, Canada’s most populous province and the place of residence of most of the country’s immigrants, received 39.0% of recent immigrants in 2016. This share decreased from 55.9% in 2001.

British Columbia also saw its share of recent immigrants decrease over the past 15 years, from 19.9% in 2001 to 14.5% in 2016.

In 2016, 17.8% of recent immigrants lived in Quebec, a higher share than in 2006 (17.5%) and in 2001 (13.7%). Overall, Quebec had the second highest number of recent immigrants in 2016, after Ontario.

The territories had the fewest number of recent immigrants. In 2016, 2,100 newcomers, or 0.2% of all recent immigrants, settled in the territories.

Several factors can explain changes in the geographic distribution of new immigrants. For example, certain provinces received a large number of immigrants under the Provincial and Territorial Nominee Program: over 50% of recent immigrants living in Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Yukon were admitted under this program. At the national level, 16.4% of all recent immigrants were admitted under this program.

Moreover, many new immigrants chose to settle in areas with an established community from their home country.

The economic conditions in the various receiving regions undoubtedly played a major role in the geographic distribution of immigrants. According to the Labour Force Survey, Alberta had the largest employment growth from 2011 to 2016 (+7.8%) compared with the national average (+5.0%).

Figure 3: Distribution (in percentage) of recent immigrants in Canada, by provinces and territories, 1981 to 2016

Census metropolitan areas in the Prairies receiving a higher share of recent immigrants

In 2016, the Regina, Winnipeg, Calgary, Saskatoon and Edmonton census metropolitan areas (CMAs) were the place of residence of a share of recent immigrants that was almost twice that of each CMA‘s share of the total population in Canada. For example, 4.3% of new immigrants settled in Winnipeg, while 2.2% of Canada’s total population lived in this CMA.

Nevertheless, Toronto, Vancouver and Montréal, the three most populous CMAs in the country, together are still the place of residence of over half of all immigrants (61.4%) and recent immigrants (56.0%) in Canada. In comparison, just over one-third (35.7%) of Canada’s total population lived in these three CMAs.

In 2016, immigrants represented 46.1% of Toronto’s population, 40.8% of Vancouver’s and 23.4% of Montréal’s.

For the first time, Africa accounts for the second largest source continent of recent immigrants

In 2016, 13.4% of recent immigrants were born in Africa, a four-fold increase from the 1971 Census (3.2%). Africa thus ranked second, ahead of Europe, as a source continent of recent immigrants to Canada.

Nigeria, Algeria, Egypt, Morocco and Cameroon were the top five countries of birth of recent African-born immigrants in 2016.

As a result of shifts in Canada’s immigration policies and various international events relating to movements of migrants and refugees, the percentage of recent immigrants born in Europe has decreased from one census to the next, falling from 61.6% in 1971 to 16.1% in 2006 and to 11.6% in 2016.

Asia (including the Middle East) remained the top source continent of recent immigrants. The majority (61.8%) of newcomers to Canada from 2011 to 2016 were born in Asia. This is a slightly higher proportion than was observed in the 2006 Census (58.3%) and in the 2011 National Household Survey (56.9%).

Asian countries accounted for 7 of the top 10 countries of birth of recent immigrants in 2016: the Philippines, India, China, Iran, Pakistan, Syria and South Korea.

Newcomers from the Americas and Oceania represented 12.6% and 0.7%, respectively, of recent immigrants to Canada.

Almost half of the foreign-born population is from Asia

Changes in the main source countries of immigrants have transformed the overall portrait of Canada’s foreign-born population. In 2016, almost half (48.1%) of the foreign-born population was born in Asia (including the Middle East), while a lower proportion (27.7%) was born in Europe.

Furthermore, African-born immigrants represented a growing share of the foreign-born population, increasing from 1.4% in the 1971 Census to 8.5% in the 2016 Census.

In 1871, in the first census held after Confederation, the foreign-born population was mainly from the British Isles (83.6%).

One hundred years later, the 1971 Census showed that individuals born in the British Isles still accounted for the largest group of foreign-born population, but their share had decreased significantly to 29.5%. The majority of the foreign-born population were from other European countries and the United States, while 10.9% of foreign-born were from other parts of the world.

Current immigration trends—if they continue—and the aging of established cohorts of immigrants mean that from 55.7% to 57.9% of all immigrants would be born in Asia by 2036, and from 15.4% to 17.8% would be born in Europe. The proportion of immigrants born in Africa is projected to increase to between 11.0% and 11.9% in 2036.

Figure 4: Distribution of foreign-born population, by region of birth, Canada, 1871 to 2036

More information on recent and past trends with regard to immigration to Canada is available in the video “Welcome to Canada: 150 Years of Immigration” and in the infographic “Immigrant population in Canada“, as well as in various immigration data products.

Two in five Canadian children have an immigrant background

First- and second-generation children of immigrants contribute to the renewal of the population and to the diversity of Canada’s population.

According to the 2016 Census, almost 2.2 million children under the age of 15 were foreign-born (first generation) or had at least one foreign-born parent (second generation), representing 37.5% of all Canadian children. This is an increase from 2011, when this proportion was 34.6%. This population of children with an immigrant background could continue to grow and could represent from 39.3% to 49.1% of children under the age of 15 by 2036.

In 2016, the majority (74.0%) of these first- or second-generation children were from countries of ancestry in Asia, Africa, the Caribbean and Bermuda, Central and South America.

For more information, please see the document entitled “Children with an immigrant background: Bridging cultures” from the Census in Brief series.

The vast majority of immigrants report being able to conduct a conversation in English or French

The language composition of immigrants has changed over the past 100 years. The percentage of immigrants with English or French as a mother tongue decreased from 71.2% in 1921 to 27.5% in 2016, mirroring changes in the source countries of immigrants over the same period. Overall, statistics are presented on about 200 languages for the 2016 Census.

English and French remain the languages of convergence and integration into Canadian society. In 2016, the vast majority of the 7.5 million immigrants (93.2%) were able to conduct a conversation in English or in French. This means that only 6.8% of immigrants reported not being able to conduct a conversation either in English or in French.

More detailed analyses of immigrants and language are available in the document “Linguistic integration of immigrants and official language populations in Canada” in the Census in Brief series.

Over 250 ethnic origins

Past and recent sources of immigration have strongly influenced the current ethnic and cultural make-up of Canada’s population.

Many ethnic origins were reported in the 2016 Census. The list of origins includes different groups associated with Aboriginal peoples. It also includes European groups that first settled in Canada, as well as various groups that subsequently settled in this country. Overall, statistics are available for over 250 ethnic origins.

More detailed analyses are included in the document on “Ethnic and cultural origins of Canadians: Portrait of a rich heritage” from the Census in Brief series.

Growth of the visible minority population

The increase in the number of immigrants from non-European countries, as well as their children and grandchildren born in Canada, has contributed to the growth of the visible minority population in Canada.

In 2016, 7,674,580 individuals were identified as belonging to the visible minority population as defined by the Employment Equity Act. They represented more than one-fifth (22.3%) of Canada’s population. Of this number, 3 in 10 were born in Canada.

The visible minority population has grown steadily since the 1981 Census, when data for the four Employment Equity groups (women, Aboriginal peoples, visible minorities and persons with disabilities) were first derived. At that time, the 1.1 million people belonging to a visible minority represented 4.7% of the total Canadian population.

If current trends continue, the visible minority population would continue to grow and could represent between 31.2% and 35.9% of the Canadian population by 2036.

Figure 5: Number and proportion of visible minority population in Canada, 1981 to 2036

The visible minority population is made up of a number of groups, which themselves are diversified in many respects.

South Asians, Chinese and Blacks were the three largest visible minority groups, each with a population exceeding one million.

According to the 2016 Census, 1,924,635 people reported being South Asian, representing one-quarter (25.1%) of the visible minority population and 5.6% of the entire Canadian population.

Chinese was the second largest visible minority group, with 1,577,060 individuals, representing 20.5% of the visible minority population.

The Black population in Canada surpassed the one-million mark for the first time in 2016. This visible minority group, the third largest in terms of number, comprised 1,198,540 individuals (15.6% of the visible minority population) in 2016, compared with 945,670 in 2011.

The fourth and fifth largest visible minority groups, Filipinos and Arabs, almost doubled their numbers in 10 years and had the highest growth rates among visible minority groups from 2006 to 2016.

They were followed by Latin Americans, Southeast Asians, West Asians, Koreans and Japanese.

Source: The Daily — Immigration and ethnocultural diversity: Key results from the 2016 Census

Douglas Todd: Chinese languages gain ground in Metro Vancouver

Further to the StatsCan release (see An increasingly diverse linguistic profile: Corrected data from the 2016 Census Text), Todd delves more deeply into Vancouver data and issues (the Canadian approach has been based upon integration, rather than assimilation, enunciated as early as 1959 – maintaining mother tongues, while knowing one of the official languages, reflects that approach):

Chinese languages are becoming more predominant in Metro Vancouver and across Canada, according to newly released 2016 census figures.

The proportion of Metro Vancouver residents who speak Chinese dialects continues to rise and is now more than double those who speak Punjabi.

With almost one third of new arrivals to Metro Vancouver since 2011 speaking a Chinese language, the total number of residents who have Mandarin or Cantonese as their mother tongue has swelled to 373,000.

That dwarfs the 163,000 residents whose mother tongue is Punjabi, which Statistics Canada says is the second largest “immigrant language” in Metro Vancouver.

An analysis of data released last week from the 2016 Canadian census shows the country’s major cities are developing different characters based on languages spoken — Arabic is the leading immigrant language in Montreal, Tagalog (Filipino) leads in Calgary, and Chinese leads in Toronto and Metro Vancouver.

Of Canada’s major cities, Metro Vancouver has the biggest proportion of residents — 25 per cent — who speak neither English nor French in their homes, with the largest group of them speaking a Chinese “immigrant language,” a term that Statistics Canada uses to distinguishes them from English or French, the languages of the early settlers who established Canada’s public institutions.

Across Canada more than 1.2 million people have either Mandarin or Cantonese as their mother tongue (an increase of 18 per cent in five years), while 543,000 have Punjabi, 510,000 have Tagalog, 495,000 have Spanish and 486,000 have Arabic.

The 13 per cent overall increase in the use of immigrant languages across Canada — to the point where 7.7 million people (22 per cent) speak a language other than English or French in their homes — illustrates how public officials are moving away from expecting immigrants to “assimilate,” says Vancouver statistician Jens Von Bergmann.

“Parents are being encouraged to pass on their mother tongue to their children. Generally, it’s considered great to have a language other than English or French,” said Von Bergmann, who speaks to his young child in his native tongue of German, while his wife talks with their son in her native Mandarin.

Von Bergmann, who has created interactive online maps based on census language data, says that immigrants are more likely to hold onto their mother tongues if they live in places such as Vancouver or Toronto, where large numbers of people speak the same language.

The 2016 census data shows that 1.1 million out of Metro Vancouver’s population of 2.44 million (44 per cent) have a mother tongue other than English or French, though most are able to communicate in English.

However, Metro Vancouver also has the highest proportion of residents who acknowledge they cannot carry on a conversation in either English or French (5.6 per cent of the region’s population, or 138,000 people).

The proportion who can’t speak English or French rises to 11.2 per cent in the City of Richmond, which is the highest ratio of any municipality in the country.

Richmond has for years been the centre of controversy over the expansion of Chinese-language signs, as well as over Chinese-language condo meetings.

While University of B.C. linguist Bonny Norton says Canadians value multilingualism, she cautions that people who do not learn one of Canada’s two official languages are unable to take part in important public “conversations.”

In addition, studies by Canada’s immigration department found that newcomers who cannot speak English or French struggle, with one-third lower earnings than other Canadians.

A Statistics Canada study by Edward Ng also discovered that immigrants with poor skills in English or French are three times more likely to report poor health.

Source: Douglas Todd: Chinese languages gain ground in Metro Vancouver | Vancouver Sun

Census response rate is 98 per cent, early calculations show

Belies the points that the Conservatives made to justify replacing the Census with the National Household Survey:

Canadians really were, it seems, enthusiastic about the census.

Statistics Canada is still calculating exact response rates, but it says early indications are that the overall response rate is 98 per cent – and about 96 per cent for the long-form census. That is higher than long-form response rates in the previous two censuses, the agency says.

“Early indications are positive,” Marc Hamel, director-general of the census program, said in an interview.

These numbers could shift up or down as results from early enumeration of Northern communities, late filers and First Nations reserves are added in, he said. “The range of error is not very high … it’s likely to move, but we’re talking most likely, at most, one percentage point.”

The census, conducted every five years, is a massive undertaking. The budget for the current census is $715.2-million and involves the temporary hiring of more than 35,000 people.

The sample size for the long-form census was increased to one in four households this year from one in five in 2006. The combination of high response rates this year and a bigger sample size will yield “incredibly precise data,” chief statistician Wayne Smith said.

He called this “probably the most successful census since 1666,” the year of the first census in what became Canada – when 3,215 inhabitants (of European background) were enumerated.

Still, there have been wrinkles – among them, Fort McMurray, Alta. The census was suspended there in May after a wildfire caused a citywide evacuation. As a result, Statscan may use administrative data (such as tax and migration records) to calculate a population count, and is still determining whether there’s time to have residents complete the long-form census so that their responses will be included in the census’s main database.

The goal is to have a portrait of the city as it was on May 1 – just before the wildfire, Mr. Hamel said.

There have been other challenges. He said some people had privacy concerns about filling out the forms online. A help line fielded more than one million calls from the public on questions such as how information will be protected.

Statscan produces two sets of response rates for the census – the initial collection rate (which should be officially tallied by September) and the final response rate, which is slightly lower as forms with too few answers are discounted. In 2006, Statscan did not produce a long-form collection response rate. But it says the final 2006 response rate was 93.8 per cent, while in 2011, when the long form was changed to a voluntary household survey, the rate was 68.6 per cent.

“From experience, the difference between the collection and final rate has always been less than one percentage point,” Statscan said. “Given this, it is safe to conclude that the 2016 rate for the long form, although not final yet, will surpass the rate for 2006.”

Source: Census response rate is 98 per cent, early calculations show – The Globe and Mail