ARCHIVED – Immigrant income and the family

I. Introduction

Previous research on immigrant income situations has been limited to an analysis of the immigrant as an individual. However, it is generally understood that an individual’s income situation is very much affected by the income situation of his family. Due to data limitations, however, it was not always feasible to analyze immigrant income by both the immigrant’s category and family type. Furthermore, when conducting research on immigrants it is useful to have a non-immigrant benchmark to compare immigrant outcomes to. However, a non-immigrant benchmark is not always readily available in data sources used for immigrant research. The Longitudinal Administrative Databank (LAD) provides information on both the immigrant’s category and family type, and provides a non-immigrant population for comparison. The LAD, therefore, helps extend the research on immigrant incomes in a very meaningful way.

The objectives of this analysis are threefold. First, this paper takes advantage of the non-immigrant population in LAD and develops a benchmark to which immigrants can be compared. Throughout the entire paper the immigrant and non-immigrant populations are compared with respect to socio-economic characteristics and family income situations. Second, this paper provides new information on the family income situations of immigrants. This includes information on the number of contributors to specific types of family income as well as the average family amounts reported for each income type. Third, the results of this analysis are used to highlight directions for future research on immigrants and their families. Additionally, although not discussed in detail in the paper, this analysis is verifies the consistency of the immigrant populations in the IMDB and in the LAD. A comparison of the two immigrant populations is performed with respect to key socio-economic characteristics.

Section II provides a brief description of the data source used in the analysis and offers definitions for some of the key income variables analyzed. Section III describes the LAD population used in the analysis, highlighting trends over time and differences between the immigrant and non-immigrant populations. Section IV investigates the composition of total income for immigrants and non-immigrants. As discussed in greater detail in Section IV, the vast majority of those less than 60 years of age rely solely on labour market income. In contrast, those aged 60 or older rely primarily on retirement income but still report some income from labour market sources. For this reason the analysis in Sections V and VI will focus on labour market income for the younger group and a mix of retirement income and labour market income for the older group. Section V investigates the proportion of immigrants and non-immigrants reporting income from various sources and, the proportion, of those, who have additional contributors of that income within the family. Section VI investigates the average income amounts for immigrants and non-immigrants and the proportion of family income that they account for. Section VII summarizes the main findings of the analysis and section VIII highlights areas for future research.

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