ARCHIVED – Immigrant income and the family

V. Primary source(s) of income – Contributions to family income

For the younger population, employment earnings are the income source most heavily relied on by immigrants and non-immigrants alike. For this reason the subsequent analysis of the younger population will focus on employment earnings. For the older population, there is a clear transition toward retirement income; however, there is no single source of income that stands out for all immigrant categories. For non-immigrants contributory retirement sources account for the majority of total income but OAS and employment earnings also contribute in a nontrivial way. For economic immigrants aged 60 or older, employment earnings continue to be the primary source of total income but private pension income and non-contributory retirement sources begin to contribute as well. For family class immigrants and refugees, employment earnings become less dominant, while provincial supplements and income from non-contributory retirement sources turn out to be the major sources of income. Due to the differences in the composition of retirement income for the older population the subsequent analysis of the older population cannot focus on one single source of income. Instead the analysis of the older population will investigate six of the nine income sources – employment earnings, provincial supplements, C/QPP, private pensions, OAS, and GIS/Allowance.

If the individual captured in LAD is in receipt of income from a specific source, it is also known if that individual is the only contributor of that type of income or if there are additional contributors within the family. [note 31] The following analysis investigates the number of contributors a family has to the primary sources of income given the individuals age, family type, and, where applicable, immigrant category.

Individuals Less Than 60 Years of Age

Table 3 provides information on families where the individual is less than 60 years of age. For each immigrant category and for the non-immigrant population, table 3 displays the share of individuals reporting employment earnings and, of those, the share who are sole-contributors and the share who have additional contributors in the family. The majority (78 percent) of non-immigrants less than 60 years of age report income from employment earnings. Of those, 32 percent were the sole-contributors of employment earnings in their family while 68 percent had additional contributors within the family. The share of immigrants reporting employment earnings were lower than those observed for non-immigrants. Overall, 68 percent of immigrants less than 60 years of age report income from employment earnings. Similar to non-immigrants, the majority (65 percent) of immigrants reporting employment earnings had additional contributors within the family. These shares were similar across the different immigrant categories with only one exception; refugees had a higher share of individuals reporting employment earnings (74 percent) and higher share, of those, (53 percent) are sole-contributors.

Table 3: Share of Individuals Less than 60 Years of Age with Employment Earnings by Immigrant Category, Tax Year 2003 [ note 32]
  SHARE OF POPULATION SHARE OF INDIVIDUAL CONTRIBUTORS
  Individual is a Contributor (%) Individual Sole-Contributor (%) Additional Contributors (%) Total
Non-Immigrants 78 32 68 100
Immigrants  68 35 65 100
Economic PA 69 41 59 100
Economic SD 71 35 65 100
Family Class 67 40 60 100
Refugee 75 42 58 100

Source: LAD, Statistics Canada

A smaller share of immigrants in all family types [note 33] report employment earnings relative to non-immigrants in 2003. Of those reporting employment earnings, a smaller share benefit from additional contributors in the family. For immigrants, 73 percent of married males report employment earnings and, of those, near three quarters have additional contributors within the family. The majority (74 percent) of unattached immigrants also report employment earnings. Over three quarters of immigrant children report employment earnings; however, 86 percent of children reporting have additional contributors in the family. Relative to married male immigrants, a smaller share (63 percent) of married females immigrants report employment earnings and, of those, a larger percent (83 percent) have additional contributors in the family. Immigrant lone-parents have a share similar to married immigrant females, with 64 percent reporting employment earnings; however, less than one fifth of lone-parents reporting employment earnings have additional contributors in the family.

For non-immigrants the pattern of reporting employment earnings across family types is similar to that seen for immigrants. A large share (83 percent) of married male non-immigrants report employment earnings – 10 percent higher than seen for married male immigrants. Of the married male non-immigrants who report employment earnings a larger share (83 percent) have additional contributors in the family, relative to their immigrant counterparts. A slightly higher share (77 percent) of unattached non-immigrants report employment earnings relative to unattached immigrants and a larger share of non-immigrant children (85 percent) report employment earnings compared to immigrant children as well. Like immigrant children, the majority of non-immigrant children reporting employment earnings have additional contributors in the family. The share of married female non-immigrants reporting employment earnings is ten percent higher than that of their immigrant counterparts. Similar to married female immigrants, a smaller share of married female non-immigrants (66 percent) report employment earnings relative to married male non-immigrants and, of those reporting, a higher share (87 percent) have additional contributors in the family. Compared to immigrant lone-parents, non-immigrant lone-parents have a higher share reporting employment earnings (71 percent), and a higher share, of those reporting, have additional contributors in the family.

Individuals 60 Years of Age or Older

Table 4 provides information on families where the individual is aged 60 or older. For each immigrant category and for the non-immigrant population, table 4 displays the share of individuals with employment earnings in 2003 and, of those, the share who are sole-contributors and the share who have additional contributors in the family. The shares are nearly identical for immigrants and non-immigrants, with the majority (85 percent) of each group not reporting employment earnings. Of the 15 percent in each group who do report employment earnings, the split is almost even with half being sole-contributors and half having additional contributors in the family. Although they are not a large group, the economic principal applicants are the one category that strays from the average with a higher share (30 percent) reporting employment earnings after reaching 60 years of age and with the majority of those having additional contributors within the family.

For those aged 60 or older, non-immigrants and immigrants in all family types have an almost equal share reporting employment earnings. The relative shares across family types within the immigrant and non-immigrant populations are also very similar. For both populations married males have the largest share reporting employment earnings; 24 percent for immigrants and 22 percent for non-immigrants. Married females have the second largest share reporting employment earnings; 14 percent for immigrants and 16 percent for non-immigrants. Lone-parents and unattached individuals were the least likely to report employment earnings after reaching 60 years of age.

Table 4: Share of Individuals Aged 60 or Older with Employment Earnings by Immigrant Category, Tax Year 2003 [ note 34]
  SHARE OF POPULATION SHARE OF INDIVIDUAL CONTRIBUTORS
  Individual is a Contributor (%) Individual Sole-Contributor (%) Additional Contributors (%) Total
Non-Immigrants 15 54 46 100
Immigrants  15 48 52 100
Economic PA 30 41 59 100
Economic SD 12 53 47 100
Family Class 17 44 56 100
Refugee 15 59 41 100

Source: LAD, Statistics Canada

For each immigrant category and for the non-immigrant population, table 5 displays the share of individuals reporting employment earnings and, of those, the share who are sole-contributors. [note 35] There is a substantial difference in the shares of immigrants and non-immigrants reporting provincial supplements in 2003. Only 5 percent of non-immigrants report income from provincial supplements while the average for immigrants is 22 percent. A much lower share of economic principal applicants (10 percent) and refugees (13 percent) report provincial supplements; however, family class immigrants, who make up the majority of immigrants aged 60 or older, have a much higher share (46 percent).

Table 5: Share of Individuals Aged 60 or Older with Provincial Supplements by Immigrant Category, Tax Year 2003 [ note 36]
  SHARE OF POPULATION SHARE OF INDIVIDUAL CONTRIBUTORS
  Individual is a Contributor (%) Individual Sole-Contributor (%) Additional Contributors (%) Total
Non-Immigrants 5 86 14 100
Immigrants  22 77 23 100
Economic PA 10 92 8 100
Economic SD 23 75 25 100
Family Class 46 80 20 100
Refugee 13 83 17 100

Source: LAD, Statistics Canada

Differences in the shares of immigrants and non-immigrants reporting provincial supplements also occur across family types. There is a larger share of married immigrants reporting provincial supplements (17 percent for males and 13 percent for females) relative to married non-immigrants (3 percent for males and 2 percent for females). However, it is the unattached immigrants and immigrant lone-parents who differ the most from their non-immigrant counterparts. One-third or more unattached immigrants and immigrant lone-parents report income from provincial supplements compared to approximately 10 percent for the corresponding non-immigrant groups.

As mentioned previously, a large proportion of income for immigrants and non-immigrants aged 60 or older comes from retirement sources. Tables 6-9 illustrate, for the various immigrant categories, the proportion of individuals who report income from the four most common sources of retirement income. Table 6 shows the share of individuals reporting C/QPP in 2003 and, of those, the share who are sole-contributors. There are significant differences in the shares of immigrants and non-immigrants reporting C/QPP. Over 80 percent of non-immigrants report income from C/QPP and of this nearly half benefit from additional contributors of C/QPP within the family. In contrast, only 27 percent of immigrants report C/QPP of which less than 40 percent have additional contributors in the family. By category, the results do not change much except for economic principal applicants who have a higher share (36 percent) reporting C/QPP. Given that C/QPP is a contributory retirement plan that is related to an individual’s lifetime earnings these are not surprising results. Although there are no special provisions for immigrants, their benefits will be directly related to the length of time they have worked in Canada. Generally speaking, non-immigrants aged 60 or older have had more years to contribute to C/QPP than immigrants and therefore, will receive more benefits. Furthermore, as seen earlier, a larger share of immigrants (especially economic principal applicants) relative to non-immigrants are working beyond age 60 and deferring receipt of C/QPP payments.

Table 6: Share of Individuals Aged 60 or Older with C/QPP by Immigrant Category, Tax Year 2003 [ note 37]
  SHARE OF POPULATION SHARE OF INDIVIDUAL CONTRIBUTORS
  Individual is a Contributor (%) Individual Sole-Contributor (%) Additional Contributors (%) Total
Non-Immigrants 82 53 47 100
Immigrants  28 62 38 100
Economic PA 37 69 31 100
Economic SD 26 60 40 100
Family Class 27 67 33 100
Refugee 26 77 23 100

Source: LAD, Statistics Canada

The share of non-immigrants reporting C/QPP more than doubles that of immigrants for all family types. For non-immigrants, married males, unattached individuals and lone-parents are most likely to report C/QPP, with respective shares of 87, 87, and 84 percent reporting C/QPP. Additionally, 64 percent of married male non-immigrants and 10 percent of lone-parents have additional contributors in the family. Married female non-immigrants have the lowest share (78 percent) reporting C/QPP but are most likely to have additional contributors in the family.

For immigrants, married males are also most likely to report C/QPP but not by much; with 31 percent reporting. Less than half of married male immigrants who report have additional contributors making them much less likely than married male non-immigrants to have additional contributors in the family. Married female immigrants, unattached immigrants, and immigrant lone-parents follow married males closely, with roughly 27 percent reporting C/QPP. Married female immigrants, like their non-immigrant counterparts, are the most likely to have additional contributors in the family. While, unlike non-immigrant lone-parents, all of the immigrant lone-parents reporting C/QPP are sole-contributors in the family.

Table 7 illustrates, for each immigrant category, the share of individuals reporting income from private pensions in 2003 and, of those, the share who are sole-contributors. A much larger share of non-immigrants (51 percent) report income from private pensions compared to immigrants (12 percent) and the majority of those reporting are sole-contributors to the family. Refugees and economic principal applicants have the largest shares reporting (23 and 19 percent, respectively), while family class immigrants have the lowest share (5 percent).

Table 7: Share of Individuals Aged 60 or Older with Private Pension by Immigrant Category, Tax Year 2003 [ note 38]
  SHARE OF POPULATION SHARE OF INDIVIDUAL CONTRIBUTORS
  Individual is a Contributor (%) Individual Sole-Contributor (%) Additional Contributors (%) Total
Non-Immigrants 51 63 37 100
Immigrants  12 66 34 100
Economic PA 19 75 25 100
Economic SD 10 63 37 100
Family Class 5 79 21 100
Refugee 23 66 34 100

Source: LAD, Statistics Canada

Non-immigrants in all family types are much more likely to report private pension than their immigrant counterparts. Married males in both populations have the largest shares reporting private pension; however, for non-immigrants the share is 63 percent and for immigrants it is only 14 percent. A little over half of married males reporting are sole-contributors, for immigrants and non-immigrants. Unattached immigrants have the second largest share (12 percent) reporting C/QPP but again, non-immigrants have a much higher share (51 percent). Married females and lone-parents in both populations are the least likely to report private pension; less than half of married female non-immigrants and non-immigrant lone-parents and less than 10 percent for their immigrant counterparts. For non-immigrants and immigrants alike, married females are least likely to be sole-contributors, with 80 percent or more of those reporting private pension having additional contributors in the family.

Table 8.1 displays, for each immigrant category, the share of individuals reporting OAS in 2003 and, of those, the share who are sole-contributors. Over three-quarters of non-immigrants report income from OAS compared to just over half of immigrants. Given the residency requirements for OAS it is not surprising that fewer immigrants are reporting income from this source. In 2003, only 60 percent of the immigrants captured in LAD had met the residency requirement for OAS. [note 39] As table 8.2 illustrates, when only those who meet the residency requirement are considered the results are much more similar to that of the non-immigrant population. Table 8.2 shows that 70 percent of immigrants aged 60 and older who meet the residency requirement are reporting OAS and of those 43 percent have additional contributors within the family. There are some differences observed across immigrant categories however. Economic spouses and dependents have the largest share of all categories, with 86 percent reporting OAS income and of that 44 percent have additional contributors within the family. In contrast, the share reporting OAS is lower for economic principal applicants (45 percent) and family class immigrants (56 percent). Also, fewer economic principal applicants have additional contributors to OAS within the family. 

Although immigrants have slightly lower shares reporting OAS, the relative shares across family types for the immigrant and non-immigrant populations are almost identical. For both populations, unattached individuals are the most likely to report OAS, with over 80 percent reporting. Lone-parents are a close second; 80 percent of non-immigrant lone-parents and 75 of immigrant lone-parents report OAS. Married immigrants and non-immigrants were the least likely to report OAS but still had large shares reporting; approximately 65 percent of married immigrants and 70 percent of married non-immigrants report OAS. Also, for both populations married females were more likely than married males to have additional contributors in the family. Over 90 percent of married females report OAS compared to roughly two-thirds of married males.

Table 8.1: Share of Individuals Aged 60 or Older with OAS by Immigrant Category, Tax Year 2003
  SHARE OF POPULATION SHARE OF INDIVIDUAL CONTRIBUTORS
  Individual is a Contributor (%) Individual Sole-Contributor (%) Additional Contributors (%) Total
Non-Immigrants 73 53 47 100
Immigrants 47 57 43 100
Economic PA 38 69 31 100
Economic SD 50 56 44 100
Family Class 44 67 33 100
Refugee 57 56 44 100

Source: LAD, Statistics Canada

Table 8.2: Share of Individuals Aged 60 or Older (who meet the residency requirement) with OAS by Immigrant Category, Tax Year 2003 [ note 40]
  SHARE OF POPULATION SHARE OF INDIVIDUAL CONTRIBUTORS
  Individual is a Contributor (%) Individual Sole-Contributor (%) Additional Contributors (%) Total
Non-Immigrants 73 52 48 100
Immigrants  70 57 43 100
Economic PA 45 67 33 100
Economic SD 84 55 45 100
Family Class 56 66 34 100
Refugee 67 55 45 100

Source: LAD, Statistics Canada

GIS has the same residency requirement as OAS and for that reason it is makes more sense to consider those immigrants who are eligible when comparing the share of immigrants and non-immigrants reporting GIS/Allowance. Table 9 shows, for each immigrant category, the share of individuals (who meet the residency requirement) reporting GIS/Allowance in 2003 and, of those, the share who are sole-contributors. There is a much larger share (63 percent) of immigrants reporting GIS/Allowance than non-immigrants (29 percent). As previously discussed this may be related to the fact that, on average, immigrants receive a lower amount of OAS (due to their limited residency in Canada) than non-immigrants and therefore, may be in greater need of GIS. Economic principal applicants have the smallest share reporting GIS/Allowance (32 percent), while economic spouses and dependents have the highest (80 percent). More importantly, the majority of family class immigrants, the dominant group in this population, are reporting GIS/Allowance and of those reporting nearly 60 percent have additional contributors in the family.

Table 9: Share of Individuals Aged 60 or Older (who meet the residency requirement) with GIS/Allowance by Immigrant Category, Tax Year 2003 [ note 41]
  SHARE OF POPULATION SHARE OF INDIVIDUAL CONTRIBUTORS
  Individual is a Contributor (%) Individual Sole-Contributor (%) Additional Contributors (%) Total
Non-Immigrants 29 64 36 100
Immigrants  63 52 48 100
Economic PA 33 55 45 100
Economic SD 80 54 46 100
Family Class 55 58 42 100
Refugee 46 54 46 100

Source: LAD, Statistics Canada

Immigrants in all family types are more likely to report GIS/Allowance than their non-immigrant counterparts but the relative shares across family types within the two populations are again similar. For immigrants and non-immigrants, lone-parents and unattached individuals have the largest share reporting GIS/Allowance. For immigrants 76 percent of unattached individuals and 72 percent of lone-parents report GIS/Allowance, while the respective shares for non-immigrants are 45 and 50 percent. Married immigrants and non-immigrants are both less likely to report GIS/Allowance than those in the other two family types but for immigrants the difference is not as large. For immigrants, 53 percent of married males and 65 percent of married females report GIS/Allowance compared to 22 percent and 19 percent for their respective non-immigrant counterparts. For both populations married females who report GIS/Allowance are also more likely than married males to have additional contributors in the family.

____________

31  Unfortunately, if the individual captured in LAD is not in receipt of a specific type of income it is not known whether or not someone in the family is in receipt of income from that source.

32  Table A4 in the appendix displays similar information for individuals less than 60 years of age reporting employment earnings by family status. In 2003, for non-immigrants less than 60 years of age; 60 percent are married, 16 percent are children, 7 percent are lone-parents, and 17 percent are unattached. For immigrants less than 60 years of age 70 percent are married, 11 percent are children, 6 percent are lone-parents, and 13 percent are unattached.

33  Refer back to Figure 4 for the classification of family types.

34  Table A5 in the appendix displays similar information for individuals reporting employment earnings by family type. In 2003, the distribution by family type for immigrants and non-immigrants aged 60 or older is the same; 63 percent are married, 0 percent are children, 4 percent are lone-parents, and 33 percent are unattached.

35  Families receiving social assistance are expected to account for the largest share of this population. Social assistance is report on a family basis and, therefore, there should not be more than one contributor per family. However, there are other provincial supplements reported in addition to social assistance on the same line of the tax form. For this reason, it is possible to have more than one contributor of provincial supplements per family.

36  Table A6 in the appendix displays similar information for individuals reporting provincial supplements by family type.

37  Table A7 in the appendix displays similar information for individuals reporting C/QPP by family type.

38  Table A8 in the appendix displays similar information for individuals reporting private pension income by family type.

39  For this analysis an individual aged 60 or older with 10 or more years since landing is considered to have met the OAS residency requirement. This may be a slight underestimate of those eligible for OAS because it does not take into account temporary residency that may be included in the total length of residency when applying for OAS.

40  Table A9 in the appendix displays similar information for individuals reporting OAS by family type.

41  Table A10 in the appendix displays similar information for individuals reporting GIS/Allowance by family type.

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