ARCHIVED – Social Capital and Employment Entry of Recent Immigrants to Canada

3. Data and Methodology

The Longitudinal Survey of Immigrants to Canada (LSIC) is a survey designed to study how newly arrived immigrants adjust to living in Canada during their first four years of settlement. The LSIC is a “longitudinal” survey, with the same respondents being interviewed at six months, two years and four years after arrival in Canada. By interviewing the same people over time, the LSIC information provides a dynamic picture of the experiences of these newly arrived immigrants, rather than a static “snapshot”.

To participate in the LSIC immigrants must: have arrived in Canada between October 2000 and September 2001; have been 15 years of age and over at the time of landing and landed from abroad. There was only one participant per family unit.1 Twelve thousand immigrants were interviewed in Wave 1 while 9,300 and 7,700 of them participated in Wave 2 and 3, respectively.

The survey covers a variety of modules including demographic characteristics of the Longitudinal Respondents,2 Citizenship, Social Interactions, Group Organizations, Language Skills, Housing, Education, Employment, Health, Values and Attitudes, Income, and Perceptions of Settlement. Information contained within LSIC expands upon datasets currently available to assess integration experiences, such as the Census, the Immigration Data Base (IMDB) and the Ethnic Diversity Survey (EDS), by providing longitudinal information, identifying immigration category, and capturing information that goes beyond the economic to include the social and cultural aspects of integration. This information is critical to understanding the determinants of immigrant integration outcomes.

The key concept in this research, social capital, is not straightforward to measure. Various indicators have been proposed, such as concentration of ethnicity in neighbourhood, indexing systems considering size and frequency of contacts, and the density of the language group in an area. However, a single measure, or just a few measures, cannot capture the multi-dimensional nature of social capital. One contribution of this study is the construction of social capital indicators based on the network-based concept, using information unique to the LSIC data, with a focus on the Social Interactions and Group Organizations modules. Indicators of social capital are constructed in different dimensions, size, density, and diversity, for various types of social capital for each wave.

Based on the indicators, the individual stock of social capital is used along with other socioeconomic variables to model the probability of getting a job conditional on labour force participation in the first six months, two years and four years in Canada in panel logistic regression models.

The current study restricts the sample to individuals who participated in all three interviews. The estimation of employment probability was restricted to the immigrants who were in the labour force in a specific wave (including currently employed and currently unemployed). Those immigrants who did not participate in the labour force (i.e. had not looked for jobs in a specific wave) were excluded, as they were expected to achieve different outcomes than those actively participating in the labour force in terms of employment likelihood. Furthermore, the immigrants who resided in territories are excluded from the analysis due to the extremely small size of this group.

There are differences in factors determining earnings and employment status between men and women in the labour market. Thus the LSIC immigrants are separated by gender to conduct analyses.

Taking advantage of the longitudinal characteristic of the LSIC, some of the relationships between social capital indicators and labour force status are examined with panel models, including fixed and random effects logit models and generalized estimating equations (GEE) population-averaged logit model, in order to capture the unobserved individual specific effects.


1. See “Statistics Canada (2007), Longitudinal Survey of Immigrants to Canada, Wave 3 – Microdata User Guide” for sample selection and survey design.

2. The Longitudinal Respondent (LR) entity includes LR characteristics such as age, sex, religion, ethnicity and countries where the LR resided for more than six months. In addition to data collected in the survey, this entity also contains some basic pre-landing information gathered from a Citizenship and Immigration Canada administrative database such as, class of immigrant and special program under which the immigrant came in Canada.

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