Profile of Quebec’s Anglophone Immigrants with English Mother Tongue

Executive Summary

The objective of this report is to compile an up-to-date profile of the demographic, geographic and socio-economic characteristics of Anglophone immigrants in Quebec. There is no established definition of Anglophone. For historical reasons, Statistics Canada has generally used the criterion of mother tongue, that is, the first language learned at home in childhood and still understood at the time of the census. Statistics based on mother tongue also have the advantage of being roughly comparable going back more than half a century. However, a recent study by Statistics Canada used a broader definition of all persons with English as their first official language spoken.

For purposes of this report “Anglophone” is based on the concept of mother tongue as reported in the 2011 National Household Survey (NHS). This definition is also similar to the definition used in the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) Immigration Data Base (IMDB). As such it can be considered to compliment the recent Statistics Canada study, also based on the 2011 NHS. The advantage of the definition used in this report, in contrast to broader definitions, is that it provides greater certainty in terms of the persons’/groups’ capacity to retain English as their mother tongue and contribute to the vitality of English-speaking communities.

The main data source for this report is the 2011 NHS. Some comparisons are made to the 2006 and 2001 Census data. The last section of the report uses data on immigrants from the IMDB that links tax records to CIC landing records for landing cohorts 1996-2012.

According to the 2011 NHS, in 2011, there were 83,250 immigrants in Quebec that were classified as Anglophone. This represented 8.5% of all Quebec immigrants, about the same representation of Anglophones in the total Quebec population. Nearly 46% had been in Canada for 30 years or more, arriving before 1981, while 25% were more recent immigrants, arriving since 2001. The concentration of Anglophone immigrants among all immigrants declined from 14.2% for immigrants before 1981 to 5.5% of more recent immigrants. The source countries for Anglophone immigration to Quebec have also varied over time. Early immigration (pre-1981) was mainly from the United States, United Kingdom and the Caribbean (65%). Only 13% were from Asia or Africa. However, in the recent period, the proportion from Africa and Asia increased to 45% while the proportion from the U.K. and Caribbean dropped from 51% to 22%. The proportion from the U.S. has remained fairly constant over time and, in fact, somewhat increased in the most recent period.

The Anglophone immigrant population was older than the overall Quebec population. Just under 60% of Anglophone immigrants were aged 45 or older compared to 45% for the Quebec population as a whole. Anglophone immigrants are also more likely to live alone and less likely to live in a couple household with children, likely a result of their older age profile. Anglophone immigrants had higher levels of education than the population as a whole. Nearly 64% of Anglophone immigrants aged 15 and over had a post-secondary degree or diploma compared to 56% for the Quebec population as a whole.

Just over half (52.1%) of Anglophone immigrants indicated they had knowledge of both official languages. This was lower than the level of bilingualism for Anglophone non-immigrants (72.4%). Levels were highest for those under 25 and lowest for those aged 65 and over. Consistent with this, the use of French at work was somewhat less common among Anglophone immigrants compared to the total Anglophone population. Among Anglophone immigrants, 17% used French most often at work, 70% used English most often and 13% used English and French equally at work. In comparison for the total Anglophone working population of Quebec, 25% used French most often, 64% used English and 11% used both English and French equally.

The total labour force participation rate of Anglophone immigrants was slightly lower than the rate for the Quebec population. The participation rates for Anglophone immigrants were much lower at young ages (under 25) but higher at the older ages, 45 years and over. This pattern was observed for both males and females. The lower rates for young immigrants may be due to the fact that they were more likely to be in school and not combining school and work. At the older ages, immigrants may feel they need to work longer since their old age security and pension benefits may be reduced as a result of the number of years they have been in Canada. In May 2011, the unemployment rate for Anglophone immigrants was higher than for the province as a whole (9.5% vs. 7.2%) and the gap was greatest for the youth population aged 15-24. The occupational mix of Anglophone immigrants was fairly similar to the overall Quebec labour force. Although consistent with their higher education levels, immigrants were somewhat more concentrated in professional occupations, particularly those related to health and education.

The median employment income of Anglophone immigrants was slightly lower than for the total Quebec population but the average employment income was higher. When looked at by age, immigrant incomes were lower at ages under 65 but higher at the older ages 65 and over. Patterns were similar for both males and females. The NHS reported low income in terms of the Low Income Measure After Tax (LIM-AT). In 2010, 22% of Anglophone immigrants were considered to be living in a low income household. This was higher than the rate for the province as a whole (17%). The rate was particularly high for children and young adult immigrants – nearly double the rate for the total population. The rate was particularly high for Anglophone immigrants who were in Canada less than five years. Rates were also higher for Anglophone immigrants who were members of one of the visible minority groups (26%).

Between 2006 and 2011, 4,700 Anglophone immigrants moved out of Quebec, most to Ontario and Alberta. This represented 6.1% of the 2006 Anglophone immigrant population. This out-migration rate was much higher than the rate for the province as a whole (1.2%) and was also higher than the rate for the total Anglophone population (5.3%). During the same period, 2,300 Anglophone immigrants moved to Quebec from other provinces.

The majority of Anglophone immigrants (87%) in Quebec live in the Montreal Census Metropolitan Area (CMA). The Anglophone immigrant population was older than the general population in all regions. There were no major regional differences on labour force and income characteristics.

A comparison to Francophone and Allophone immigrants showed that Anglophone immigrants are older than both Francophone and Allophone immigrants. Nearly 60% are over the age of 45 compared to 50% for Allophones and 40% for Francophones. In terms of official bilingualism and levels of post-secondary education, Anglophone immigrants were situated between Francophone immigrants, who had higher levels, and Allophone immigrants. In terms of labour force participation, levels were lower for Anglophone immigrants compared to Francophone immigrants and similar to the rates for Allophone immigrants. Unemployment rates were similar to those for Francophones but lower than the rates for Allophones.

Median employment income was similar for all three immigrant language groups but average employment income was highest for Anglophone immigrants, with the difference being the greatest for males. The same percent of Anglophone and Francophone immigrants (22%) lived in a low income household, lower than the level for Allophone immigrants (26%).

The Anglophone immigrants were considerably older than the Anglophone non-immigrants. Just over 20% of the non-immigrants were under age 15 compared to only 6.6% of the immigrants. At the other extreme, 12.7% of the non-immigrants were aged 65 or older representing about half the level of immigrants (23.2%). A lower percent of immigrants, 52%, were bilingual (English/French) compared to 72% of the non-immigrants. The Anglophone immigrants had higher levels of education but there were no major differences in terms of labour force participation and employment income. The low income rate after tax (LIM-AT) for Anglophone immigrants was 22.2%, compared to 17.7% for the non-immigrants.

A brief analysis using 2001 and 2006 Census data was done to look at trends in unemployment and income over time. The analysis was done in comparison to overall Quebec levels to control for changes to the total population. The only trend that was detected was an increase in the low income levels of recent Anglophone immigrants in Canada for less than five years. The ratio of low income for this group compared to the total Quebec population went from 2.0 in 2001 to 2.4 in 2006 to 2.9 in 2011.

One other indicator that was tracked over time was the out-migration of Anglophone immigrants from Quebec to other provinces over a five year period. For each of the three periods considered, 4,000-5,000 Anglophone immigrants moved out of the province. The out-migration rates were 6.6% for the period 2006-2011 and 5.8% for the period 2001-2006, lower than the rate of 9.5% for the period 1996-2001. In each of the three periods, a small number of Anglophone immigrants (1,800-2,400) moved to Quebec from other provinces.

A final section of the report used IMDB data that links landing records to tax data to look at trends in employment income for the landing cohorts 1996-2012. It was possible to look at differences in employment income by landing category. The results showed no clear trend in average employment income across time, although it is noteworthy that males in the recent landing cohorts for years 2010 and 2011 had lower average income after one year in Canada. This is consistent with the finding from the census analysis that recent immigrants may be struggling more than their predecessors.

Not surprisingly, the average employment income for economic category-principal applicants was considerably higher than for any other category. The large gap was observed even after 10 years. The economic category-spouses and dependents and the family classes have similar average employment incomes after years one and three but the average for the family class was higher after years five and ten. The average for the refugee category was the lowest at all-time points however the difference compared to the economic–spouse and dependent category was much smaller after 10 years.

Differences in employment income among the three language groups were also explored using the IMBD data but overall the results were similar to the analysis based on NHS data. The only difference that stood out was the lower income levels for Allophone immigrants compared to Anglophone and Francophone immigrants.

Finally, and of significant importance, this report demonstrates that although a different definition was used in this report than the definition used by Statistics Canada in its reports, with the former focusing on a smaller population, the characteristics for both population groups are reasonably similar. The main difference is that the “English-speaking” population has a slightly higher proportion of visible minorities born in Asia, lower median employment income and is more likely to live in the Montreal CMA.

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