Recent Immigrants in Metropolitan Areas: Canada—A Comparative Profile Based on the 2001 Census

Part B: Who Are the Recent Immigrants?

The origins of Canada’s recent immigrants

One half of recent immigrants come from Asia

One-half of the persons who immigrated to Canada between 1986 and 2001 and who were living in Canada in 2001 were born in Asia. Every region of Asia has contributed significant numbers of immigrants. Immigrants from East Asia—Hong Kong, China, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan—were the most numerous, accounting for over one quarter of immigrants who landed during 1996-2001.

The origins of the pre-1986 immigrant population are representative of Canada’s pre-1967 immigration policy that favoured immigrants from Europe. One-third of these earlier immigrants were born in Western Europe, and another one-fifth came from the United Kingdom. Of the very recent immigrants who landed between 1996 and 2001, western and southern Europe and the United Kingdom together contributed only 7%.

Figure B-1: Immigrants by period of immigration—world regions of birth, Canada, 2001 (percentage distribution)
Figure B-1: Immigrants by period of immigration—world regions of birth, Canada, 2001 (percentage distribution)

Note: World regions are defined in the Glossary

Asian countries of birth are predominant

Immigrants to Canada come from all over the world and represent a diversity of cultural and linguistic backgrounds. Over the past several decades there has been a considerable change in the source countries of immigrants. In 2001, for example, there were 963,000 residents who had very recently landed in Canada, between 1996 and 2001. The most common country of birth for these immigrants was China, accounting for 13% of these new permanent residents to Canada, and 17% including persons born in Hong Kong. The ten most common countries of birth—China, India, the Philippines, Pakistan, Hong Kong, Iran, Taiwan, the United States, South Korea and Sri Lanka—accounted for 52% of these very recent immigrants. In comparison, only three of these countries—the United States, India and China—were in the top ten countries of birth of immigrants who landed in Canada before 1986.

Among earlier immigrants—those arriving in Canada before 1986—the United Kingdom and Italy were the most common countries of birth, accounting for 28% of this group.

In general, the birth origins of Canada’s immigrant population vary in relation to the period of immigration. European birth origins are predominant among those who immigrated in the 1950s, 1960s and to a lesser extent in the 1970s, and Asian birth origins are predominant among those who immigrated in the 1980s and 1990s. For very recent immigrants, nine of the top ten countries of birth are in Asia, as are six of the top ten countries of birth of immigrants who landed during the 1986-1995 period.

Table B-1: Immigrants by period of immigration—top ten countries of birth, Canada, 2001 (number and percentage distribution)
All immigrants
Rank Country Number Share
1 United Kingdom 606,000 11%
2 China, People’s Republic of 332,800 6%
3 Italy 315,500 6%
4 India 314,700 6%
5 United States 237,900 4%
6 Hong Kong 235,600 4%
7 Philippines 232,700 4%
8 Poland 180,400 3%
9 Germany 174,100 3%
10 Portugal 153,500 3%
Top ten countries 2,783,200 51%
All other countries 2,665,300 49%
Total 5,448,500 100%
Immigrated before 1986
1 United Kingdom 536,300 18%
2 Italy 305,500 10%
3 United States 164,100 6%
4 Germany 151,300 5%
5 Portugal 119,400 4%
6 India 117,000 4%
7 Netherlands 108,600 4%
8 China, People’s Republic of 95,900 3%
9 Poland 89,300 3%
10 Viet Nam 76,100 3%
Top ten countries 1,763,500 60%
All other countries 1,193,100 40%
Total 2,956,600 100%
Immigrated 1986-1995
1 Hong Kong 131,100 9%
2 China, People’s Republic of 112,000 7%
3 India 106,000 7%
4 Philippines 105,700 7%
5 Poland 82,800 5%
6 Viet Nam 61,300 4%
7 Sri Lanka 54,800 4%
8 United Kingdom 49,900 3%
9 United States 44,100 3%
10 Jamaica 36,600 2%
Top ten countries 784,300 51%
All other countries 744,200 49%
Total 1,528,500 100%
Immigrated 1996-2001
1 China, People’s Republic of 124,900 13%
2 India 91,600 10%
3 Philippines 55,500 6%
4 Pakistan 43,100 4%
5 Hong Kong 37,700 4%
6 Iran 31,100 3%
7 Taiwan 30,300 3%
8 United States 29,700 3%
9 South Korea 29,200 3%
10 Sri Lanka 25,300 3%
Top ten countries 498,400 52%
All other countries 464,900 48%
Total 963,300 100%

Where Canada’s recent immigrants live

Provincial settlement pattern stable

The distribution of the immigrant population over Canada’s major regions has been rather stable over time. Over one-half of each of the three successive groups of immigrants (earlier immigrants, immigrants who landed during the 1986-1995 period, and 1996-2001 very recent immigrants) lives in Ontario. The shares of British Columbia and Quebec have increased somewhat, while other regions have seen their shares decline.

Table B-2: Immigrants by period of immigration and Canadian-born—province or territory, Canada, 2001 (number and percentage distribution)
  Canadian-born Immigrants Immigrated before 1986 Immigrated 1986-1995 Immigrated 1996-2001
British Columbia 2,821,900 1,009,800 527,900 290,500 191,400
Alberta 2,485,500 438,300 259,100 112,700 66,600
Saskatchewan 912,200 47,800 32,500 8,700 6,600
Manitoba 965,500 133,700 85,900 30,200 17,500
Ontario 8,164,900 3,030,100 1,621,600 869,700 538,700
Quebec 6,378,400 707,000 373,700 201,700 131,700
New Brunswick 695,600 22,500 16,500 3,400 2,600
Prince Edward Island 128,900 4,100 3,000 600 500
Nova Scotia 853,700 41,300 27,500 8,000 5,700
Newfoundland and Labrador 499,100 8,000 5,400 1,500 1,100
Yukon/Northwest Territory/Nunavut 86,200 5,900 3,500 1,500 800
Canada 23,991,900 5,448,500 2,956,600 1,528,500 963,300
 
British Columbia 11.8% 18.5% 17.9% 19.0% 19.9%
Alberta 10.4% 8.0% 8.8% 7.4% 6.9%
Saskatchewan 3.8% 0.9% 1.1% 0.6% 0.7%
Manitoba 4.0% 2.5% 2.9% 2.0% 1.8%
Ontario 34.0% 55.6% 54.8% 56.9% 55.9%
Quebec 26.6% 13.0% 12.6% 13.2% 13.7%
New Brunswick 2.9% 0.4% 0.6% 0.2% 0.3%
Prince Edward Island 0.5% 0.1% 0.1% 0.0% 0.1%
Nova Scotia 3.6% 0.8% 0.9% 0.5% 0.6%
Newfoundland and Labrador 2.1% 0.1% 0.2% 0.1% 0.1%
Yukon/Northwest Territory/Nunavut 0.4% 0.1% 0.1% 0.1% 0.1%
Canada 100% 100% 100% 100% 100%

The settlement preferences of immigrants, while fairly stable over time, are very different from the choices made by persons born in Canada. More than one in two recent immigrants and one in three Canadian-born live in Ontario, and one in five recent immigrants and one in eight Canadian-born live in British Columbia. Only these two provinces have a larger share of the country’s 5.4 million immigrants than of the 24 million Canadian-born. At the opposite end of the spectrum are the Atlantic provinces with 10% of the Canadian-born and only 1% of recent immigrants.

Figure B-2: Immigrants by period of immigration and Canadian-born—province or region of residence, Canada, 2001 (percentage distribution)
Figure B-2

Concentration in major centres increasing

The destinations of recent immigrants in Canada are rather more concentrated than their places of origin. More than 70% of immigrants who landed after 1985 live in the three largest metropolitan centres, with Toronto accounting for 43% of the total. While Toronto and Montreal have attracted the same share of very recent immigrants as of their immediate predecessors (those who landed during the 1986-1995 period), Vancouver’s share increased from 16.2% of those who landed during the 1986-1995 period to 17.6% of those who landed during 1996-2001. Toronto and Vancouver are home to a larger share of recent immigrants than of immigrants who landed before 1986, while Montreal has a rather constant share of the several immigrant cohorts.

Toronto and Vancouver stand out in that both have a much larger share of Canada’s immigrant population and recent immigrant population than of the country’s Canadian-born population. Montreal and the five second-tier cities have approximately the same share of the immigrant population as of the Canadian-born population. With the exception of Victoria, the third-tier cities and the rest of the country are the place of residence for a much smaller share of immigrants than of the Canadian-born. Many of the recent immigrants in the rest of Canada live in urban centres in Ontario that are not included among the thirteen cities listed in Table B-3, such as in Kitchener-Waterloo, London, Windsor or St. Catharines. Few recent immigrants are found in rural and small-town Canada.

Clearly, the recent immigrant population is far more concentrated in large urban centres than the rest of the population of Canada. One-half of Canada’s population (residents of the thirteen cities and other urban centres in Ontario) lives in close proximity to recent immigrants with their diverse geographic origins and cultural backgrounds. For these Canadians, contact with recent immigrants is likely to be a regular, even a common occurrence. The other half of the population is much less likely to meet with recent immigrants in their place of residence.

Table B-3: Immigrants by period of immigration and Canadian-born—place of residence, Canada, 2001 (number and percentage distribution)
Place of residence Canadian-born Immigrants Immigrated before 1986 Immigrated 1986-1995 Immigrated 1996-2001 Total
Victoria 247,000 57,600 43,400 9,500 4,800 304,600
Vancouver 1,199,800 738,600 321,800 247,100 169,600 1,938,400
Edmonton 756,000 165,200 100,100 44,200 21,000 921,200
Calgary 738,300 197,400 105,500 55,600 36,400 935,700
Saskatoon 204,400 16,900 10,200 3,500 3,200 221,300
Regina 175,100 14,000 9,100 3,200 1,800 189,100
Winnipeg 549,000 109,400 69,700 26,300 13,400 658,400
Hamilton 494,800 154,700 103,500 32,400 18,700 649,500
Toronto 2,556,900 2,033,000 954,400 663,000 415,500 4,589,900
Ottawa 619,100 168,100 82,200 51,500 34,400 787,200
Montreal 2,724,200 621,900 328,100 179,700 114,200 3,346,100
Québec 651,400 19,700 8,500 5,900 5,300 671,100
Halifax 329,600 24,400 14,700 5,300 4,400 354,000
Big three cities 6,480,900 3,393,500 1,604,300 1,089,800 699,300 9,874,400
Five second-tier cities 3,157,200 794,800 461,000 210,000 123,900 3,952,000
Five third-tier cities 1,607,500 132,600 85,900 27,400 19,500 1,740,100
Rest of Canada 12,746,300 1,127,600 805,400 201,300 120,600 13,873,900
Canada 23,991,900 5,448,500 2,956,600 1,528,500 963,300 29,440,400
 
Victoria 1.0% 1.1% 1.5% 0.6% 0.5% 1.0%
Vancouver 5.0% 13.6% 10.9% 16.2% 17.6% 6.6%
Edmonton 3.2% 3.0% 3.4% 2.9% 2.2% 3.1%
Calgary 3.1% 3.6% 3.6% 3.6% 3.8% 3.2%
Saskatoon 0.9% 0.3% 0.3% 0.2% 0.3% 0.8%
Regina 0.7% 0.3% 0.3% 0.2% 0.2% 0.6%
Winnipeg 2.3% 2.0% 2.4% 1.7% 1.4% 2.2%
Hamilton 2.1% 2.8% 3.5% 2.1% 1.9% 2.2%
Toronto 10.7% 37.3% 32.3% 43.4% 43.1% 15.6%
Ottawa 2.6% 3.1% 2.8% 3.4% 3.6% 2.7%
Montreal 11.4% 11.4% 11.1% 11.8% 11.9% 11.4%
Québec 2.7% 0.4% 0.3% 0.4% 0.5% 2.3%
Halifax 1.4% 0.4% 0.5% 0.3% 0.5% 1.2%
Big three cities 27.0% 62.3% 54.3% 71.3% 72.6% 33.5%
Five second-tier cities 13.2% 14.6% 15.6% 13.7% 12.9% 13.4%
Five third-tier cities 6.7% 2.4% 2.9% 1.8% 2.0% 5.9%
Rest of Canada 53.1% 20.7% 27.2% 13.2% 12.5% 47.1%
Canada 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%

From eleven world regions to six areas in Canada

Different settlement patterns…

The settlement pattern of recent immigrants varies greatly by country of birth. The most striking contrast is between immigrants from Western Europe, the United Kingdom and the United States on the one hand, and immigrants from the rest of the world on the other. The former, smaller group does not have the strong preference for Canada’s largest urban centres demonstrated by the majority of recent immigrants. Recent immigrants from the United Kingdom and the United States more often have opted for the other ten urban centres and the rest of Canada.

Table B-4: Recent immigrants—world region of birth by place of residence, Canada, 2001 (number and percentage distribution)
  Toronto Vancouver Montreal Second-tier cities Third-tier cities Rest of Canada Canada
East Asia 220,100 198,000 24,100 50,700 7,100 26,400 526,400
South-east Asia & Pacific 109,600 58,300 22,200 55,600 4,300 25,500 275,600
South & Central Asia 265,100 64,400 36,800 45,400 3,600 33,900 449,200
Western Asia & Middle East 29,500 3,600 31,500 16,900 1,600 14,000 97,000
Africa 48,780 9,750 31,650 20,475 2,685 12,135 125,475
Eastern Europe 132,100 26,900 27,600 53,100 5,700 56,000 301,400
Western Europe 38,400 7,300 27,200 13,300 5,800 39,200 131,300
United Kingdom 17,900 9,500 1,900 13,400 3,000 24,100 69,700
Latin America 28,500 10,500 22,700 13,700 2,200 25,800 103,300
Caribbean 98,200 1,500 25,900 9,900 700 8,800 145,000
United States 15,100 8,500 5,800 10,900 3,500 30,000 73,900
Total 1,003,280 398,250 257,450 303,175 40,085 295,935 2,298,175
 
East Asia 41.8% 37.6% 4.6% 9.6% 1.3% 5.0% 100%
South-east Asia & Pacific 39.8% 21.2% 8.0% 20.2% 1.6% 9.3% 100%
South & Central Asia 59.0% 14.3% 8.2% 10.1% 0.8% 7.6% 100%
Western Asia & Middle East 30.3% 3.7% 32.4% 17.4% 1.7% 14.4% 100%
Africa 38.9% 7.8% 25.2% 16.3% 2.1% 9.7% 100%
Eastern Europe 43.8% 8.9% 9.2% 17.6% 1.9% 18.6% 100%
Western Europe 29.3% 5.6% 20.8% 10.1% 4.4% 29.9% 100%
United Kingdom 25.6% 13.6% 2.7% 19.2% 4.2% 34.6% 100%
Latin America 27.6% 10.1% 22.0% 13.2% 2.1% 24.9% 100%
Caribbean 67.7% 1.0% 17.9% 6.8% 0.5% 6.1% 100%
United States 20.5% 11.5% 7.8% 14.7% 4.8% 40.7% 100%
               
Total 43.7% 17.3% 11.2% 13.2% 1.7% 12.9% 100%

Note: In Table B-4 and Table B-5, recent immigrant totals and corresponding percentage distribution by world region are based on the ninety countries where 90% of the recent immigrant population was born. The totals provided in these two tables are slightly lower than recent immigrant totals presented elsewhere in this report or in other profiles in the series.

More than one in three recently immigrated East Asians are living in Vancouver. Toronto is the residence for an even larger share of East Asians. A very strong preference for Toronto is found among recent immigrants from South Asia and from the Caribbean.

Montreal is a preferred destination of recent immigrants from Western Asia and the Middle East, Africa, Western Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean. Toronto, however, draws a larger share than Montreal of immigrants from all these world regions except Western Asia and the Middle East.

To look at the settlement patterns of recent immigrants in more detail, consult Table B-6. This table provides the number of recent immigrants for each of the thirteen cities and the rest of Canada by country of birth, for the top 30 countries of birth.

…Make for different origins in different parts of Canada

The mix of geographic origins of recent immigrants varies considerably between the three major immigrant centres, the five second-tier and the five third-tier cities for which profiles of recent immigrants have been prepared, and the rest of Canada. Vancouver and Montreal have a mix of recent immigrants by world region of origin that is very different from the general pattern.

Table B-5: Recent immigrants—place of residence and world region of birth, Canada, 2001 (percentage distribution)
  Toronto Vancouver Montreal Second-tier cities Third-tier cities Rest of Canada Canada
East Asia 21.9% 49.7% 9.4% 16.7% 17.7% 8.9% 22.9%
South-east Asia & Pacific 10.9% 14.6% 8.6% 18.3% 10.7% 8.6% 12.0%
South & Central Asia 26.4% 16.2% 14.3% 15.0% 9.0% 11.5% 19.5%
Western Asia & Middle East 2.9% 0.9% 12.2% 5.6% 4.0% 4.7% 4.2%
Africa 4.9% 2.4% 12.3% 6.8% 6.7% 4.1% 5.5%
Eastern Europe 13.2% 6.8% 10.7% 17.5% 14.2% 18.9% 13.1%
Western Europe 3.8% 1.8% 10.6% 4.4% 14.5% 13.2% 5.7%
United Kingdom 1.8% 2.4% 0.7% 4.4% 7.5% 8.1% 3.0%
Latin America 2.8% 2.6% 8.8% 4.5% 5.5% 8.7% 4.5%
Caribbean 9.8% 0.4% 10.1% 3.3% 1.7% 3.0% 6.3%
United States 1.5% 2.1% 2.3% 3.6% 8.7% 10.1% 3.2%
Total 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%

Note: In Table B-4 and Table B-5, recent immigrant totals and corresponding percentage distribution by world region are based on the ninety countries where 90% of the recent immigrant population was born. The totals provided in these two tables are slightly lower than recent immigrant totals presented elsewhere in this report or in other profiles in the series.

Toronto’s recent immigrant population appears to have much the same composition as Canada’s. Perhaps this is not too surprising, as more than four out of ten recent immigrants live in Toronto. Toronto is home to a relatively large proportion of recent immigrants from South and Central Asia and from the Caribbean.

Eight in ten recent immigrants in Vancouver were born in Asia, and one-half in East Asia, mainly in Hong Kong and China. Montreal’s recent immigrant population is rather different from Canada’s. Only one in ten is from East Asia, and approximately one in five is from Western Asia and the Middle East or from Africa. Another one-fifth was born in Latin America and the Caribbean (notably in Haiti). A total of 11% of Montreal’s recent immigrants are from Western Europe, a higher proportion than in Toronto, Vancouver and the five second-tier cities. These origins reflect a preponderance of immigrants from French and Spanish speaking countries among recent immigrants in Montreal.

Table B-6: Recent immigrants—top countries of birth and place of residence, Canada, 2001 (in thousands) Countries 1 to 10
Place of residence in Canada All countries 1.
China, Peoples Republic of
2.


India
3.

Hong Kong
4.


Philippines
5.


Poland
Victoria 14.2 1.4 0.9 0.5 0.9 0.3
Vancouver 416.7 70.9 40.0 64.6 32.5 6.2
Edmonton 65.2 6.0 5.9 3.9 7.0 4.1
Calgary 91.9 8.9 8.5 6.5 8.8 3.7
Saskatoon 6.6 0.9 0.2 0.2 0.6 0.1
Regina 4.9 0.4 0.3 0.1 0.4 0.2
Winnipeg 39.7 2.0 2.6 0.7 11.1 2.5
Hamilton 51.1 2.1 3.0 0.7 2.4 4.8
Toronto 1078.5 102.5 102.7 82.7 73.9 43.0
Ottawa 85.9 10.3 3.5 1.7 2.9 2.5
Montreal 293.8 16.0 8.7 3.6 9.8 5.1
Québec 11.2 0.7 0.1 0.0 0.1 0.2
Halifax 9.7 0.6 0.4 0.3 0.3 0.3
Rest of Canada 322.2 14.2 21.0 3.4 10.5 18.1
Canada 2491.9 236.9 197.7 168.8 161.1 91.1
Place of residence in Canada 6.

Sri Lanka
7.
United States
8.

Viet Nam
9.
United Kingdom
10.

Pakistan
Countries
1 to 10
Victoria 0.1 1.4 0.2 1.8 0.1 7.6
Vancouver 2.0 8.5 11.9 9.5 3.8 249.9
Edmonton 0.4 2.2 4.0 2.5 1.0 36.9
Calgary 0.4 3.5 5.5 4.2 2.7 52.8
Saskatoon 0.1 0.4 0.1 0.3 0.1 3.0
Regina 0.0 0.4 0.4 0.2 0.1 2.6
Winnipeg 0.3 1.3 1.7 1.2 0.3 23.6
Hamilton 0.3 1.5 1.7 2.9 1.6 20.9
Toronto 64.4 15.1 25.9 17.9 42.8 570.8
Ottawa 1.8 2.4 2.5 2.6 1.4 31.5
Montreal 8.8 5.8 8.3 1.9 5.2 73.3
Québec 0.0 0.3 0.3 0.0 0.0 1.6
Halifax 0.2 1.0 0.2 0.7 0.1 3.9
Rest of Canada 1.5 30.0 9.5 24.1 4.8 137.1
Canada 80.1 73.9 72.3 69.7 64.0 1215.6
Table B-6: Recent immigrants—top countries of birth and place of residence, Canada, 2001 (in thousands) — Continued
Countries 11 to 20
Place of residence in Canada 11.
Iran
12.
Taiwan
13.
South Korea
14.
Jamaica
15.
Lebanon
16.
Romania
Victoria 0.2 0.6 0.2 0.1 0.0 0.1
Vancouver 15.3 41.7 16.7 0.6 0.9 3.7
Edmonton 0.7 0.4 0.7 0.5 1.7 0.8
Calgary 1.2 1.2 2.3 0.8 1.6 1.4
Saskatoon 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.0 0.0 0.1
Regina 0.1 0.0 0.0 0.1 0.0 0.1
Winnipeg 0.4 0.1 0.4 0.5 0.0 0.5
Hamilton 0.8 0.3 0.9 0.9 0.4 1.3
Toronto 30.8 11.9 20.9 39.5 6.9 16.0
Ottawa 2.7 0.4 0.6 1.1 5.7 1.4
Montreal 5.6 2.2 1.9 2.1 19.5 9.6
Québec 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.0 0.1 0.4
Halifax 0.1 0.1 0.2 0.0 0.5 0.1
Rest of Canada 3.5 1.5 5.9 2.5 6.6 7.9
Canada 61.6 60.5 51.0 48.8 43.9 43.2
Place of residence in Canada 17.

Guyana
18. Russian Federation 19.

Yugoslavia*
20.

Portugal
Countries
11 to 20
Victoria 0.0 0.1 0.2 0.1 1.7
Vancouver 0.2 2.7 4.0 0.5 86.4
Edmonton 0.4 0.6 0.9 0.4 7.0
Calgary 0.2 1.4 1.3 0.1 11.5
Saskatoon 0.0 0.1 0.3 0.0 0.8
Regina 0.0 0.0 0.1 0.0 0.5
Winnipeg 0.3 0.3 0.6 0.8 4.0
Hamilton 0.3 0.4 3.2 1.7 10.1
Toronto 34.0 20.0 12.3 20.6 212.8
Ottawa 0.4 1.4 1.5 0.5 15.7
Montreal 1.1 5.0 1.4 4.4 52.8
Québec 0.0 0.1 0.3 0.3 1.3
Halifax 0.0 0.2 0.2 0.0 1.4
Rest of Canada 2.0 3.5 9.7 4.7 47.7
Canada 38.9 35.9 35.9 34.1 453.8

*Includes persons who reported Yugoslavia, whether they referred to the former or the new republic of the same name.

Table B-6: Recent immigrants—top countries of birth and place of residence, Canada, 2001 (in thousands) — Continued
Countries 21 to 30
Place of residence in Canada 21.


El Salvador
22. Trinidad & Tobago 23.


France
24.


Ukraine
25.


Haiti
26.


Mexico
Victoria 0.1 0.0 0.1 0.1 0.0 0.1
Vancouver 3.2 0.5 1.0 2.4 0.1 3.0
Edmonton 1.4 0.2 0.1 1.0 0.0 0.3
Calgary 1.4 0.4 0.3 0.6 0.1 0.5
Saskatoon 0.2 0.0 0.1 0.2 0.0 0.1
Regina 0.2 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Winnipeg 1.3 0.4 0.1 0.8 0.0 0.3
Hamilton 0.9 0.5 0.1 0.2 0.0 0.4
Toronto 7.0 22.5 2.2 14.9 0.3 3.3
Ottawa 1.2 0.4 0.6 0.9 2.0 0.5
Montreal 5.9 1.4 15.5 2.6 21.1 2.8
Québec 0.3 0.0 2.1 0.0 0.3 0.2
Halifax 0.0 0.0 0.1 0.1 0.0 0.0
Rest of Canada 6.7 2.4 5.2 1.7 1.4 13.2
Canada 29.7 28.8 27.5 25.5 25.4 24.6
Place of residence in Canada 27.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
28.

Germany
29.

Iraq
30.

Afghanistan
Countries 21 to 30 Other countries
Victoria 0.1 0.3 0.0 0.0 0.8 4.1
Vancouver 2.6 0.5 1.4 2.1 16.8 63.7
Edmonton 1.0 1.1 0.4 0.3 6.0 15.2
Calgary 1.5 0.8 0.9 1.2 7.6 20.2
Saskatoon 0.2 3.6 0.3 0.0 4.5  
Regina 0.2 0.4 0.1 0.0 0.9 1.0
Winnipeg 0.9 0.4 0.3 0.2 4.6 7.5
Hamilton 1.7 0.1 2.1 0.5 6.4 13.7
Toronto 5.9 0.1 9.3 11.1 76.7 218.2
Ottawa 1.3 1.0 1.3 0.9 9.9 28.8
Montreal 0.7 0.8 1.4 2.3 54.3 113.4
Québec 0.7 2.1 0.0 0.1 5.9 2.3
Halifax 0.1 0.5 0.2 0.1 1.1 3.3
Rest of Canada 6.4 11.2 4.7 1.9 54.8 82.6
Canada 23.2 22.8 22.3 20.7 250.5 572.0

The five second-tier cities have relatively more recent immigrants from South-east Asia and the Pacific and from Eastern Europe, while the proportion of people from East Asia and from South and Central Asia is lower than the national average. The origins of recent immigrants in the five third-tier cities are rather like those in the rest of Canada, with as main differences a much larger share of East Asians, and a smaller share of East Europeans.

In the rest of Canada, one in two immigrants came from Western and Eastern Europe, the United Kingdom and the United States. Outside the thirteen profiled cities there are relatively few recent immigrants who were born in East Asia or in South and Central Asia.

Immigration Category and religion

High share of economic immigrants among most recent landings

Statistics published by Citizenship and Immigration Canada show that the number of immigrants landing in Canada was much higher in the first half of the 1990s than in the previous five years. Thereafter, the number declined to just over 1 million, or 200,000 per year. All categories of immigrants landed in larger numbers during the first half of the 1990s, but the ranks of the family class swelled more than those of other classes. The number of family class entrants then fell back almost to its earlier level, and the number of refugees fell further. The number of economic immigrants, including principal applicants and their families, kept on increasing.

Table B-7: Recent immigrants by period of immigration—landings by immigration category, Canada, 1986-2000
  1986-1990 1991-1995 1996-2000
Family class 283,300 35% 473,300 40% 295,000 29%
Economic immigrants 378,100 46% 496,900 42% 597,100 58%
Refugees 144,500 18% 185,600 16% 130,100 13%
Other immigrants 14,800 2% 25,800 2% 11,300 1%
Total 820,700 100% 1,181,500 100% 1,033,500 100%

Source: Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Facts and Figures 2002 (data set).

Note: The 2001 Census did not ask immigrants about the immigration categories through which they were admitted to Canada. The information in Table B-7 was obtained from records at Citizenship and Immigration Canada and pertains to the time of landing. Immigration categories are described in the Glossary.

Family class entrants are mainly sponsored spouses, and parents and grandparents with accompanying dependants. The number of spouses who entered increased from 112,000 to 194,000 before sliding back to 159,000 in the last five years of the century. The changes in the number of parents and grandparents were even greater: 110,000 during 1986-1990, 199,000 next, and finally 91,000. The decline in the numbers admitted in the latter half of the 1990s is in part due to changes in regulations in 1988 and 1992.

Skilled workers and their families make up the lion’s share of economic immigrants. Their number increased from about 300,000 in the second half of the 1980s to nearly one-half million a decade later. The number who landed as entrepreneurs and investors and their family members peaked at 111,000 in the middle period, before declining to 66,000 more recently.

Privately-sponsored refugees numbered about 75,000 in the first two periods, but less than one-fifth of that number in the last five years. Government-sponsored refugees numbered about 40,000 in the last two five-year periods after an earlier peak of 72,000. The refugee category also included 64,000 refugees landed in Canada in 1991-1995, after only several hundred in the five years before (prior to the establishment of the Immigration and Refugee Board in 1993), followed by 59,000 refugees landed in Canada during 1996-2000.

Among the economic immigrants during 1996-2000 were 2,000 provincial nominees. Manitoba was the first province to act on its new powers with respect to immigration and brought in a number of provincial nominees, in addition to economic and other immigrants admitted by the federal government and destined for Manitoba. Other provinces are also moving into the area. Quebec has had full selection powers for its skilled immigrant program for a number of years.

Nearly one in five very recent immigrants is a Muslim

Recent immigrants have given Canada several religions that were virtually absent before 1986. While all Christians combined remain the largest group among even very recent immigrants, Muslims account for 18% of this group, compared to only 3% of earlier immigrants and 1% of the Canadian-born. Buddhists, Hindus and Sikhs combined account for nearly as large a share of very recent immigrants as Muslims. These three religions have virtually no followers among the Canadian-born, and those Canadian-born who did report these religions as theirs may consist largely of children of immigrants born in Canada.

Among Christian immigrants, the share of Catholics and Protestants has declined and that of orthodox religions and various smaller sects has increased. Among the Orthodox Christian religions, the Greek and Ukrainian Churches are the largest. The proportion of immigrants reporting Orthodox Christian faith has increased with the arrival of more immigrants from Eastern Europe in recent years.

One-third of the Canadian-born are Protestant, with the United Church having the largest following among the major protestant churches, accounting for 11% of the Canadian-born. Only 1% of recent immigrants are affiliated with the United Church.

The share of persons reporting no religious affiliation is about the same for immigrants as for Canadians: one in six. It is higher among very recent immigrants. The religious affiliation of recent immigrants varies according to the countries where they were born.

Table B-8: Immigrants by period of immigration and Canadian-born—religious affiliation, Canada, 2001 (number and percentage distribution)
Religious Affiliation Canadian-born Immigrants Immigrated before 1986 Immigrated
1986-1995
Immigrated
1996-2001
Roman Catholic 10,983,400 1,757,700 1,110,600 458,400 188,700
Protestant 7,568,100 1,108,800 818,500 189,800 100,400
Orthodox Christian 210,000 263,300 127,400 67,700 68,200
Other Christian 626,800 230,400 93,200 83,800 53,400
Muslim 137,800 415,800 83,000 156,500 176,300
Buddhist 74,100 217,800 91,500 90,800 35,400
Hindu 76,200 213,700 59,300 93,800 60,600
Sikh 98,700 176,000 63,600 69,000 43,500
Other 390,300 140,400 87,600 33,100 19,800
No religion 3,826,500 924,600 421,900 285,700 217,100
Total 23,991,900 5,448,500 2,956,600 1,528,500 963,300
 
Roman Catholic 46% 32% 38% 30% 20%
Protestant 32% 20% 28% 12% 10%
Orthodox Christian 1% 5% 4% 4% 7%
Other Christian 3% 4% 3% 5% 6%
Muslim 1% 8% 3% 10% 18%
Buddhist 0% 4% 3% 6% 4%
Hindu 0% 4% 2% 6% 6%
Sikh 0% 3% 2% 5% 5%
Other 2% 3% 3% 2% 2%
No religion 16% 17% 14% 19% 23%
Total 100% 100% 100% 100% 100%

Note: Religions are listed in order of their share of the total population, from highest to lowest, with Christian religions grouped together.

Age and gender

Nearly one-half of very recent immigrants are working-age adults 25 to 44 years

Among very recent immigrants, those who have been in Canada for up to five years, there is a preponderance of working-age adults 25 to 44 years of age. In 2001, nearly one-half of very recent immigrants are 25 to 44 years old, compared to only 30% of persons born in Canada. Children and youth are also numerous among very recent immigrants, but there are few seniors and persons 45 to 64 years of age.

Figure B-3: Immigrants by period of immigration and Canadian-born, by age, Canada, 2001 (percentage distribution)
Figure B-3

These differences in age structure are to some degree a result of how we define immigrants and the Canadian-born. The immigrant population grows older like the Canadian population but does not renew itself in the same way, as children born in Canada to immigrants are not considered immigrants. Thus, there are no persons under 15 years of age among immigrants who landed before 1986, and the older age groups are over-represented among these earlier immigrants. By the same token, the share of children among the Canadian-born is large as it includes children born in Canada to immigrant parents. As many of the characteristics and circumstances described in this profile vary with age, differences between immigrants (or immigrant cohorts) and the Canadian-born often are at least in part a reflection of differences in the age structure.

Table B-9: Immigrants by period of immigration and Canadian-born—age and gender, Canada, 2001 (number and percentage distribution)
Gender Under 15 years 15 to 24 years 25 to 44 years 45 to 64 years 65 years and over Total
Women
Canadian-born 2,630,000 1,697,500 3,610,200 2,740,400 1,472,000 12,150,200
Immigrants 156,700 231,400 953,500 928,200 556,100 2,825,900
 Immigrated before 1986 0 28,200 338,400 688,800 474,600 1,529,900
 Immigrated 1986-1995 56,100 126,700 376,600 175,300 62,900 797,500
 Immigrated 1996-2001 100,600 76,500 238,500 64,200 18,700 498,500
Men
Canadian-born 2,763,200 1,769,300 3,534,700 2,657,300 1,117,200 11,841,700
Immigrants 160,200 239,000 858,500 892,800 472,200 2,622,600
 Immigrated before 1986 0 30,400 320,100 665,800 410,500 1,426,700
 Immigrated 1986-1995 56,600 137,500 328,000 160,900 48,100 731,100
 Immigrated 1996-2001 103,600 71,100 210,500 66,100 13,600 464,800
Total
Canadian-born 5,393,200 3,466,800 7,144,900 5,397,700 2,589,200 23,991,900
Immigrants 316,800 470,300 1,812,000 1,821,000 1,028,300 5,448,500
 Immigrated before 1986 0 58,600 658,400 1,354,600 885,100 2,956,600
 Immigrated 1986-1995 112,600 264,200 704,600 336,200 111,000 1,528,500
 Immigrated 1996-2001 204,200 147,600 449,000 130,300 32,200 963,300
Total 5,710,000 3,937,100 8,956,900 7,218,700 3,617,500 29,440,400
 
Canadian-born 22% 14% 30% 22% 11% 100%
Immigrants 6% 9% 33% 33% 19% 100%
 Immigrated before 1986 0% 2% 22% 46% 30% 100%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 7% 17% 46% 22% 7% 100%
 Immigrated 1996-2001 21% 15% 47% 14% 3% 100%
Total population 19% 13% 30% 25% 12% 100%

More women than men

The proportion of women in the recent-immigrant population is similar to but, at 52%, slightly higher than the 51% of the Canadian-born population. More than 60% of recent immigrants from Japan, Finland, Georgia, Lithuania, and the Philippines are women. For four of these five countries, the number of immigrants is relatively small, but there are 161,100 recent immigrants from the Philippines, with 32,400 more women than men.

Table B-10: Immigrants by period of immigration and Canadian-born—percentage of women by age, Canada, 2001
  Under 15 years 15 to 24 years 25 to 44 years 45 to 64 years 65 years and over Total
Canadian-born 49% 49% 51% 51% 57% 51%
Immigrants 49% 49% 53% 51% 54% 52%
  Immigrated before 1986 48% 51% 51% 54% 52%
  Immigrated 1986-1995 50% 48% 53% 52% 57% 52%
  Immigrated 1996-2001 49% 52% 53% 49% 58% 52%

Overall there are 100,000 more women than men among the 2.5 million recent immigrants. Other countries of birth that stand out are China (17,720 more women than men), the United States (7,900) and Jamaica (6,600).

As women on average live longer than men, they make up a large share of persons aged 65 years of age and over. However, the higher proportion of women among recent immigrants is not related to age, except in the case of the United States. Almost two-thirds of recent immigrants aged 25 to 44 from the Philippines are women. Some of them have obtained permanent resident status after a period of employment as live-in caregivers.

At the opposite end of the spectrum of the gender mix are Iraq, Egypt, Iran, Pakistan, and Lebanon. More than 53% of recent immigrants from these countries are men. Men outnumber women by 4,200 among recent immigrants from Iran, and by 3,800 in the case of Pakistan. The gender balance, by country of origin, has not changed greatly since 1996.

Language and education

Nine in ten very recent immigrants speak English or French

A large majority of recent immigrants 15 years of age and over reported being able to carry on a conversation in at least one of Canada’s two official languages. Even among very recent immigrants, who landed in Canada between 1996 and 2001, nine in ten reported being able to speak an official language. Knowledge of official languages was greater among those who immigrated in earlier periods—91% of those who immigrated between 1986 and 1995, and 96% of those who immigrated before 1986 indicated they were able to speak an official language.

Very recent immigrant women are somewhat less likely than men to have conversational knowledge of English or French. Among women who landed between 1996 and 2001, 13% could speak neither English nor French. The figure among men who landed during this period was 8%.

The proportion of immigrants who landed between 1996 and 2001, who are able to carry on a conversation in English, French or both English and French, decreases with age. Among younger very recent immigrants, almost all are able to speak an official language, and there is little difference between men and women. Among those between the ages of 25 and 44 years, this is almost equally the case. Among those aged 45 to 64 years, however, the percentage who can speak English, French or both is lower, and more so for women than men. Men and women 65 years of age and over are least likely to have conversational ability in English or French.

Three in four very recent immigrants speak only English, while one in ten is bilingual. A small share of 4% speaks only French. Knowledge of Canada’s languages among very recent immigrants has increased. At the time of the 1996 Census, 89% of men and 84% of women who had immigrated in the five years previous were able to converse in either English or French or both, compared to 92% of men and 87% of women in 2001.

Table B-11: Very recent immigrants (immigrated 1996-2001)—15 years of age and over—knowledge of official languages, by age and gender, Canada, 2001 (number and percentage distribution)
Gender English only French only Both French and English Neither French nor English Total
Women
15 to 24 years 61,400 80% 2,800 4% 8,800 12% 3,400 4% 76,500 100%
25 to 44 years 186,100 78% 10,600 4% 24,000 10% 17,800 7% 238,500 100%
45 to 64 years 40,400 63% 1,900 3% 3,400 5% 18,500 29% 64,200 100%
65 years and over 7,100 38% 600 3% 400 2% 10,600 57% 18,700 100%
15 and over 295,000 74% 15,900 4% 36,700 9% 50,300 13% 397,900 100%
Men
15 to 24 years 58,800 83% 2,000 3% 7,900 11% 2,400 3% 71,100 100%
25 to 44 years 166,900 79% 7,700 4% 26,800 13% 9,100 4% 210,500 100%
45 to 64 years 49,400 75% 1,700 3% 4,800 7% 10,200 15% 66,100 100%
65 years and over 6,700 49% 300 2% 600 4% 6,000 44% 13,600 100%
15 and over 281,800 78% 11,700 3% 40,100 11% 27,600 8% 361,200 100%
Total
15 to 24 years 120,200 81% 4,800 3% 16,800 11% 5,800 4% 147,600 100%
25 to 44 years 353,000 79% 18,300 4% 50,800 11% 26,800 6% 449,000 100%
45 to 64 years 89,800 69% 3,600 3% 8,200 6% 28,700 22% 130,300 100%
65 years and over 13,800 43% 900 3% 1,000 3% 16,600 52% 32,200 100%
15 and over 576,800 76% 27,600 4% 76,800 10% 77,900 10% 759,100 100%

Immigrants tend to be more unilingually English, and less unilingually French or bilingual than the Canadian-born. This is so regardless of the time at which immigrants landed, and the differences between recent and earlier immigrants are not very large. Over time, the share of recent and very recent immigrants speaking one or both languages will increase, as more immigrants learn languages and some of those who do not do so leave the country.

Table B-12: Immigrants by period of immigration and Canadian-born—15 years of age and over—knowledge of official languages, by gender, Canada, 2001 (number and percentage distribution)
Gender English only French only Both French and English Neither French nor English Total
Women
Canadian-born 5,976,900 1,522,900 2,014,100 9,520,200
Immigrants 2,067,200 92,500 295,000 214,600 2,669,200
  Immigrated before 1986 1,217,500 48,200 177,400 86,800 1,529,900
  Immigrated 1986-1995 554,700 28,400 80,900 77,500 741,400
  Immigrated 1996-2001 295,000 15,900 36,700 50,300 397,900
Men
Canadian-born 5,859,100 1,219,000 1,995,100 9,078,500
Immigrants 1,957,000 69,900 319,300 116,200 2,462,500
  Immigrated before 1986 1,148,500 37,400 197,300 43,500 1,426,700
  Immigrated 1986-1995 526,700 20,800 81,900 45,100 674,500
  Immigrated 1996-2001 281,800 11,700 40,100 27,600 361,200
Total
Canadian-born 11,836,000 2,741,900 4,009,200 18,598,700
Immigrants 4,024,100 162,400 614,300 330,800 5,131,700
  Immigrated before 1986 2,366,000 85,600 374,700 130,300 2,956,600
  Immigrated 1986-1995 1,081,400 49,200 162,800 122,600 1,415,900
  Immigrated 1996-2001 576,800 27,600 76,800 77,900 759,100
 
Women
Canadian-born 63% 16% 21% 100%
Immigrants 77% 3% 11% 8% 100%
  Immigrated before 1986 80% 3% 12% 6% 100%
  Immigrated 1986-1995 75% 4% 11% 10% 100%
  Immigrated 1996-2001 74% 4% 9% 13% 100%
Men
Canadian-born 65% 13% 22% 100%
Immigrants 79% 3% 13% 5% 100%
  Immigrated before 1986 81% 3% 14% 3% 100%
  Immigrated 1986-1995 78% 3% 12% 7% 100%
  Immigrated 1996-2001 78% 3% 11% 8% 100%
Total
Canadian-born 64% 15% 22% 100%
Immigrants 78% 3% 12% 6% 100%
  Immigrated before 1986 80% 3% 13% 4% 100%
  Immigrated 1986-1995 76% 3% 11% 9% 100%
  Immigrated 1996-2001 76% 4% 10% 10% 100%

Two out of three very recent immigrants speak a foreign language at home

For the majority of recent immigrants, the language spoken most often at home is one other than English or French. Two-thirds of immigrants who landed between 1996 and 2001 most often speak a foreign language in their homes.

The use of foreign languages is also high among other immigrant cohorts. Well over one-half of those who immigrated between 1986 and 1995, and one-quarter of those who immigrated prior to 1986 most often speak a foreign language at home. Immigrants who speak an official language at home are far more likely to speak English than French. This reflects both the background and the settlement pattern of immigrants.

The use of foreign languages in the home was slightly more common in 2001 than in 1996, for a given length of stay in Canada. Among those who had lived in Canada from 5 to 15 years, 56% commonly used a foreign language in 2001, compared to 52% in 1996.

Table B-13: Immigrants by period of immigration and Canadian-born—15 years of age and over—language most often used at home, by gender, Canada, 2001 (number and percentage distribution)
  English only French only Both French and English Neither French nor English Total
Women
Canadian-born 6,753,200 2,617,300 40,800 70,800 9,520,200
Immigrants 1,434,700 116,900 9,900 1,107,700 2,669,200
 Immigrated before 1986 1,033,200 64,400 5,800 426,400 1,529,900
 Immigrated 1986-1995 289,600 33,000 2,900 416,000 741,400
 Immigrated 1996-2001 112,000 19,500 1,100 265,300 397,900
Men
Canadian-born 6,479,000 2,449,200 34,200 76,700 9,078,500
Immigrants 1,327,200 123,700 10,300 1,001,100 2,462,500
 Immigrated before 1986 971,300 70,200 6,100 379,200 1,426,700
 Immigrated 1986-1995 255,100 32,500 2,900 384,000 674,500
 Immigrated 1996-2001 100,800 21,100 1,300 238,000 361,200
Total
Canadian-born 13,232,200 5,066,500 75,000 147,500 18,598,700
Immigrants 2,762,000 240,600 20,200 2,108,800 5,131,700
 Immigrated before 1986 2,004,500 134,600 11,900 805,600 2,956,600
 Immigrated 1986-1995 544,700 65,500 5,800 799,900 1,415,900
 Immigrated 1996-2001 212,800 40,600 2,500 503,300 759,100
 
Women
Canadian-born 71% 27% 0.4% 1% 100%
Immigrants 54% 4% 0.4% 41% 100%
 Immigrated before 1986 68% 4% 0.4% 28% 100%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 39% 4% 0.4% 56% 100%
 Immigrated 1996-2001 28% 5% 0.3% 67% 100%
Men
Canadian-born 71% 27% 0.4% 1% 100%
Immigrants 54% 5% 0.4% 41% 100%
 Immigrated before 1986 68% 5% 0.4% 27% 100%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 38% 5% 0.4% 57% 100%
 Immigrated 1996-2001 28% 6% 0.4% 66% 100%
Total
Canadian-born 71% 27% 0.4% 1% 100%
Immigrants 54% 5% 0.4% 41% 100%
 Immigrated before 1986 68% 5% 0.4% 27% 100%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 38% 5% 0.4% 56% 100%
 Immigrated 1996-2001 28% 5% 0.3% 66% 100%

Many university graduates among very recent immigrants

The most striking difference between immigrants and the Canadian-born with respect to educational attainment is in the share of university graduates. More than one-third of very recent immigrants have a university degree, compared to 14% of the Canadian-born. Immigrants who landed in Canada during the 1986-1995 period and earlier immigrants also are more likely to have a degree than the Canadian-born, but the difference is smaller. As well, those two groups of immigrants are more likely than persons born in Canada to have no more than elementary schooling. Immigrants are less likely to have an intermediate level of education—some high school, a high school diploma, or a college diploma or trade certificate.

Part of this difference in level of schooling is related to the different age structure of the several groups. Earlier immigrants tend to be concentrated in older age groups in which post-secondary diplomas and degrees are less common than they are for younger people in Canada and abroad. In contrast, very recent immigrants are concentrated in the 25 to 44 age group that has a higher educational attainment. The differences also reflect immigrant selection. Education has been an important admission criterion for economic immigrants, in particular skilled workers, who made up a larger share of new immigrants during 1996-2000 than before.

When education levels are compared by age group, it appears that the younger generation has a much higher level of education, whether born in or outside Canada. For instance, only two in ten persons 25 to 44 years of age born in Canada have not completed high school, compared to six in ten persons 65 years of age and over. Well over one-half of Canadian-born persons 25 to 44 years of age have a post-secondary diploma or degree, compared to one-quarter of persons 65 years and over. A similar large shift in educational qualifications is observed among immigrants.

Table B-14: Immigrants by period of immigration and Canadian-born—15 years of age and over—highest level of education, by gender, Canada, 2001 (number and percentage distribution)
  Less than grade 9 Some high school High school diploma College or trade diploma University degree Total
Women
Canadian-born 826,600 2,278,900 2,363,900 2,740,500 1,310,300 9,520,200
Immigrants 435,300 493,600 573,000 678,700 488,600 2,669,200
  Immigrated before 1986 307,400 284,900 305,700 409,400 222,600 1,529,900
  Immigrated 1986-1995 92,700 142,000 182,100 185,200 139,400 741,400
  Immigrated 1996-2001 35,100 66,700 85,300 84,200 126,600 397,900
Men
Canadian-born 821,600 2,306,500 2,066,800 2,626,200 1,257,300 9,078,500
Immigrants 298,500 431,800 453,500 699,100 579,700 2,462,500
  Immigrated before 1986 221,100 231,100 223,400 465,500 285,600 1,426,700
  Immigrated 1986-1995 57,700 140,000 162,900 164,300 149,500 674,500
  Immigrated 1996-2001 19,600 60,700 67,200 69,200 144,600 361,200
Total
Canadian-born 1,648,200 4,585,400 4,430,700 5,366,800 2,567,600 18,598,700
Immigrants 733,700 925,400 1,026,500 1,377,800 1,068,300 5,131,700
  Immigrated before 1986 528,500 516,000 529,100 874,900 508,200 2,956,600
  Immigrated 1986-1995 150,500 282,000 345,000 349,500 289,000 1,415,900
  Immigrated 1996-2001 54,800 127,400 152,400 153,400 271,200 759,100
 
Women
Canadian-born 9% 24% 25% 29% 14% 100%
Immigrants 16% 18% 21% 25% 18% 100%
  Immigrated before 1986 20% 19% 20% 27% 15% 100%
  Immigrated 1986-1995 13% 19% 25% 25% 19% 100%
  Immigrated 1996-2001 9% 17% 21% 21% 32% 100%
Men
Canadian-born 9% 25% 23% 29% 14% 100%
Immigrants 12% 18% 18% 28% 24% 100%
  Immigrated before 1986 15% 16% 16% 33% 20% 100%
  Immigrated 1986-1995 9% 21% 24% 24% 22% 100%
  Immigrated 1996-2001 5% 17% 19% 19% 40% 100%
Total
Canadian-born 9% 25% 24% 29% 14% 100%
Immigrants 14% 18% 20% 27% 21% 100%
  Immigrated before 1986 18% 17% 18% 30% 17% 100%
  Immigrated 1986-1995 11% 20% 24% 25% 20% 100%
  Immigrated 1996-2001 7% 17% 20% 20% 36% 100%

Table B-15: Immigrants by period of immigration and Canadian-born—25 years of age and over, with no high school diploma or with post-secondary diploma or degree—by age and gender, Canada, 2001 (number and percentage)
  No high school diploma With post-secondary diploma or degree
  25 to 44 years 45 to 64 years 65 years and over 25 to 44 years 45 to 64 years 65 years and over
Women
Canadian-born 637,800 848,100 908,900 2,112,100 1,219,200 311,600
Immigrants 178,600 308,100 353,800 568,700 428,500 118,000
  Immigrated before 1986 63,200 226,700 297,000 196,400 320,200 104,600
  Immigrated 1986-1995 82,400 58,200 44,900 209,000 79,600 9,200
  Immigrated 1996-2001 33,000 23,200 11,900 163,300 28,800 4,200
Men
Canadian-born 785,900 838,400 656,600 1,941,400 1,297,000 320,600
Immigrants 161,800 228,600 236,900 528,500 526,600 182,900
  Immigrated before 1986 65,500 174,900 204,400 185,700 392,500 163,900
  Immigrated 1986-1995 72,500 39,600 26,200 185,300 92,500 14,000
  Immigrated 1996-2001 23,800 14,200 6,400 157,500 41,600 5,100
Total
Canadian-born 1,423,700 1,686,500 1,565,500 4,053,400 2,516,200 632,200
Immigrants 340,400 536,700 590,700 1,097,200 955,100 300,900
 Immigrated before 1986 128,700 401,600 501,300 382,100 712,700 268,500
 Immigrated 1986-1995 154,900 97,800 71,100 394,200 172,100 23,200
 Immigrated 1996-2001 56,900 37,400 18,300 320,900 70,300 9,300
 
Women
Canadian-born 18% 31% 62% 59% 44% 21%
Immigrants 19% 33% 64% 60% 46% 21%
  Immigrated before 1986 19% 33% 63% 58% 46% 22%
  Immigrated 1986-1995 22% 33% 71% 55% 45% 15%
  Immigrated 1996-2001 14% 36% 63% 68% 45% 22%
Men
Canadian-born 22% 32% 59% 55% 49% 29%
Immigrants 19% 26% 50% 62% 59% 39%
  Immigrated before 1986 20% 26% 50% 58% 59% 40%
  Immigrated 1986-1995 22% 25% 54% 56% 57% 29%
  Immigrated 1996-2001 11% 21% 47% 75% 63% 37%
Total
Canadian-born 20% 31% 60% 57% 47% 24%
Immigrants 19% 29% 57% 61% 52% 29%
  Immigrated before 1986 20% 30% 57% 58% 53% 30%
  Immigrated 1986-1995 22% 29% 64% 56% 51% 21%
  Immigrated 1996-2001 13% 29% 57% 71% 54% 29%

Very recent immigrant men have a very high level of education compared to the Canadian-born across the entire age spectrum, while for women this is the case only in the youngest age group. Thus, the high educational attainment of very recent immigrants is not merely a matter of a favourable age distribution. Among immigrants who landed during the 1986-1995 period, younger and older women are on average somewhat less educated than the Canadian-born, while men in the 45-64 age group have more post-secondary qualifications. Among earlier immigrants, men 45 years of age and over have more education than the Canadian-born.

Recent immigrants add to Canada’s pool of scientists and engineers

Immigrants with a post-secondary diploma or degree are more likely than the Canadian-born to have majored in physical sciences, engineering or a trade, while the Canadian-born are more likely to have a qualification in social sciences, education or the arts. This is so for all generations of immigrants, the differences being most pronounced for very recent immigrants. Most remarkably, 28% of very recent immigrant women with a diploma or degree have studied science, engineering or learned a trade, compared to only 12% of Canadian-born women.

The immigrant cohorts and the Canadian-born are more alike with respect to the proportions who specialized in commerce and business, and health professions and technologies. The educational choices of immigrants, recent immigrants and the Canadian-born remain much the same as in 1996.

Table B-16: Immigrants by period of immigration and Canadian-born—15 years of age and over, with post-secondary diploma or degree—major field of study, by gender, Canada, 2001 (number and percentage distribution)
  Physical sciences, engineering and trades Social sciences, education and arts Commerce, management and business administration Health professions and related technologies Total
Women
Canadian-born 467,400 1,707,400 1,130,200 735,800 4,040,900
Immigrants 216,400 432,600 318,900 195,800 1,163,700
  Immigrated before 1986 66,500 114,400 93,100 49,400 323,300
  Immigrated 1986-1995 90,400 244,500 176,100 119,400 630,400
  Immigrated 1996-2001 59,500 73,600 49,700 27,100 210,000
Men
Canadian-born 2,141,600 952,400 623,800 156,800 3,874,600
Immigrants 758,800 252,900 198,200 65,800 1,275,700
  Immigrated before 1986 182,300 59,600 54,500 16,500 312,900
  Immigrated 1986-1995 442,300 157,900 110,800 38,700 749,700
  Immigrated 1996-2001 134,300 35,400 33,000 10,600 213,200
Total
Canadian-born 2,609,000 2,659,800 1,754,000 892,600 7,915,500
Immigrants 975,200 685,400 517,100 261,600 2,439,400
  Immigrated before 1986 248,800 174,000 147,500 65,900 636,200
  Immigrated 1986-1995 532,700 402,400 286,900 158,000 1,380,000
  Immigrated 1996-2001 193,800 109,000 82,700 37,700 423,100
 
Women
Canadian-born 12% 42% 28% 18% 100%
Immigrants 19% 37% 27% 17% 100%
  Immigrated before 1986 21% 35% 29% 15% 100%
  Immigrated 1986-1995 14% 39% 28% 19% 100%
  Immigrated 1996-2001 28% 35% 24% 13% 100%
Men
Canadian-born 55% 25% 16% 4% 100%
Immigrants 59% 20% 16% 5% 100%
  Immigrated before 1986 58% 19% 17% 5% 100%
  Immigrated 1986-1995 59% 21% 15% 5% 100%
  Immigrated 1996-2001 63% 17% 15% 5% 100%
Total
Canadian-born 33% 34% 22% 11% 100%
Immigrants 40% 28% 21% 11% 100%
  Immigrated before 1986 39% 27% 23% 10% 100%
  Immigrated 1986-1995 39% 29% 21% 11% 100%
  Immigrated 1996-2001 46% 26% 20% 9% 100%

Recent immigrants more likely to attend school

Very recent immigrants are relatively likely to be in school, to acquire language skills or Canadian credentials. School attendance is at least twice as high for this group as for the Canadian-born, in both the 25 to 44 and 45 to 64 age groups.

In the youngest age group, school attendance is also higher among very recent immigrants than among the Canadian-born, with a larger difference for men than for women. In all age groups, immigrants who landed during the 1986-1995 period are also more likely than the Canadian-born to attend school, but not to the same extent as very recent immigrants. School attendance rates for all immigrant cohorts were similar in the 1996 Census.

Table B-17: Immigrants by period of immigration and Canadian-born—15 to 64 years of age, attending school—by age and gender, Canada, 2001 (number and percentage)
  15 to 24 years 25 to 44 years 45 to 64 years
Women
Canadian-born 1,089,200 64% 439,600 12% 111,900 4%
Immigrants 161,600 70% 161,400 17% 47,000 5%
  Immigrated before 1986 17,700 63% 42,100 12% 28,100 4%
  Immigrated 1986-1995 92,400 73% 57,700 15% 11,100 6%
  Immigrated 1996-2001 51,500 67% 61,700 26% 7,800 12%
Men
Canadian-born 1,059,800 60% 339,000 10% 69,700 3%
Immigrants 167,000 70% 126,700 15% 35,100 4%
  Immigrated before 1986 17,900 59% 33,300 10% 18,900 3%
  Immigrated 1986-1995 97,800 71% 43,800 13% 8,700 5%
  Immigrated 1996-2001 51,300 72% 49,700 24% 7,400 11%
Total
Canadian-born 2,149,000 62% 778,600 11% 181,600 3%
Immigrants 328,500 70% 288,100 16% 82,000 5%
  Immigrated before 1986 35,600 61% 75,400 11% 47,000 3%
  Immigrated 1986-1995 190,100 72% 101,400 14% 19,800 6%
  Immigrated 1996-2001 102,800 70% 111,300 25% 15,300 12%
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