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

Part E: Income

Sources and level of income

Sources of income vary by time in Canada

Seven in ten Canadian-born women and eight in ten Canadian-born men had earnings from employment in the year 2000. A larger share of the Canadian-born than of immigrants as a whole had income from employment, although the share of recent immigrants with employment income was very close to the share of the Canadian-born.

Table E-1: Immigrants by period of immigration and Canadian-born—15 years of age and over—sources of income, by gender, Edmonton Census Metropolitan Area, 2000 (number and percentage)
  No income Employment income Other private income Government transfers Total
Women
Canadian-born 6,510 211,060 91,780 274,440 291,950
Immigrants 750 49,380 24,920 76,570 79,280
 Immigrated before 1986 180 29,520 19,150 49,050 50,420
 Immigrated 1986-1995 410 15,500 4,610 21,340 22,400
 Immigrated 1996-1999 160 4,370 1,160 6,180 6,470
Men
Canadian-born 6,360 235,540 75,780 265,970 286,130
Immigrants 580 55,230 22,640 71,070 74,140
 Immigrated before 1986 30 35,650 18,410 47,860 49,640
 Immigrated 1986-1995 410 15,070 3,240 17,780 18,790
 Immigrated 1996-1999 140 4,520 990 5,440 5,720
Total
Canadian-born 12,870 446,600 167,570 540,400 578,070
Immigrants 1,320 104,590 47,560 147,620 153,440
 Immigrated before 1986 200 65,160 37,560 96,890 100,060
 Immigrated 1986-1995 820 30,560 7,860 39,120 41,190
 Immigrated 1996-1999 300 8,880 2,150 11,620 12,190
 
Women
Canadian-born 2% 72% 31% 94% 100%
Immigrants 1% 62% 31% 97% 100%
 Immigrated before 1986 0% 59% 38% 97% 100%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 2% 69% 21% 95% 100%
 Immigrated 1996-1999 2% 68% 18% 96% 100%
Men
Canadian-born 2% 82% 26% 93% 100%
Immigrants 1% 74% 31% 96% 100%
 Immigrated before 1986 0% 72% 37% 96% 100%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 2% 80% 17% 95% 100%
 Immigrated 1996-1999 2% 79% 17% 95% 100%
Total
Canadian-born 2% 77% 29% 93% 100%
Immigrants 1% 68% 31% 96% 100%
 Immigrated before 1986 0% 65% 38% 97% 100%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 2% 74% 19% 95% 100%
 Immigrated 1996-1999 2% 73% 18% 95% 100%

Note: Incomes are for the year 2000. In all tables in Part E, immigrants and very recent immigrants include only those who landed before the year 2000 and could have had income the entire year. A person may have income from one, two or all three sources. The three sources are defined in the Glossary.

The share of persons with employment income was higher in 2000 than in 1995, except for women who immigrated before 1986. It increased by about two percentage points for the Canadian-born, by three percentage points for immigrants who had been in the country between 5 and 15 years and by eight percentage points for very recent immigrants.

The incidence of zero income is extremely low for all immigrant cohorts and the Canadian-born. This is because almost everyone receives transfer payments from the government.

Recent immigrants are much less likely to have other private income—for example, income from investments or pension plans—in comparison to the Canadian-born and earlier immigrants.

About 95% of immigrants and the Canadian-born received transfer payments from government in the year 2000. The almost universal presence of transfer payments is specific to the province of Alberta. It may reflect the “Alberta advantage” initiatives implemented by the provincial government, including an increase in family tax benefits, energy cost rebates and special educational programs for Employment Insurance recipients, trades people and immigrant women.

Average income increases with length of stay

Considering only persons who reported income in the year 2000, the average income of immigrants was lower than that of the Canadian-born. Those who immigrated before 1986 had average incomes slightly higher than the Canadian-born. For very recent immigrants, average income was 62% of that of the Canadian-born. Those who immigrated during the 1986-1995 period had an average income of 71% the income of the Canadian-born.

Compared to 1995, average income of very recent immigrants increased more than that of other groups, by nearly one-third for women and nearly one-half for men. For other groups, the change was in the order of one-fifth for men and somewhat less for women.

In all groups, the average income of women is about three-fifths the income of men.

Earnings from employment account for the bulk of income of all groups and make up the same proportion of income of recent immigrants as of persons born in Canada for women and a higher proportion for men. Since 1995, the employment share of income has increased by nine percentage points for very recent immigrant men, while the increase for other groups was only two percentage points. However, women who immigrated between six and fifteen years before the census derived a smaller share of income from employment than in 1995.

The share of other private income is lower for recent immigrants than for the Canadian-born, while transfer payments from government make up a slightly larger share of the income of recent immigrants than the income of the Canadian-born. The share of other private income was approximately the same in 2000 as in 1995 for all groups, except for very recently immigrants who experienced a decrease of three percentage points. The share of government transfer payments in 2000 was six percentage points lower for very recent immigrant men. By contrast, recent immigrant women derived a somewhat larger share of their income from transfer payments in 2000 than in 1995.

Table E-2: Immigrants by period of immigration and Canadian-born—15 years of age and over, with income—average income and sources of average income, by gender, Edmonton Census Metropolitan Area, 2000
  Sources of average income
  Average income of persons with income Employment income Other private income Government transfers Total
Women
Canadian-born $22,970 76% 10% 14% 100%
Immigrants $20,890 68% 12% 20% 100%
 Immigrated before 1986 $23,450 65% 14% 21% 100%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 $16,900 75% 7% 18% 100%
 Immigrated 1996-1999 $14,320 75% 7% 18% 100%
Men
Canadian-born $39,690 85% 9% 6% 100%
Immigrants $36,350 80% 10% 10% 100%
 Immigrated before 1986 $40,820 77% 12% 11% 100%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 $27,790 88% 5% 8% 100%
 Immigrated 1996-1999 $24,790 88% 4% 8% 100%
Total
Canadian-born $31,250 82% 9% 9% 100%
Immigrants $28,360 75% 11% 14% 100%
 Immigrated before 1986 $32,080 73% 13% 15% 100%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 $21,860 82% 6% 12% 100%
 Immigrated 1996-1999 $19,230 83% 5% 12% 100%

Note: Incomes are for the year 2000. In all tables in Part E, immigrants and very recent immigrants include only those who landed before the year 2000 and could have had income the entire year.

Earnings of recent immigrants who worked mostly full-time lower than average

The wages and salaries earned by recent immigrants who worked mostly full-time in 2000 are below the Edmonton average. By contrast, earlier immigrants had higher average wages and salaries than both the Edmonton average and the Canadian-born.

Table E-3: Immigrants by period of immigration and Canadian-born—15 years of age and over, employed mostly full-time—average earnings from wages and salaries, and earnings as percentage of overall average, Edmonton Census Metropolitan Area, 2000
  Amount Percentage of overall average
Canadian-born $39,070 102%
Immigrants $36,060 94%
 Immigrated before 1986 $40,670 106%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 $28,500 74%
 Immigrated 1996-1999 $26,440 69%
All who worked mostly full-time $38,490 100%

Note: Incomes are for the year 2000. In all tables in Part E, immigrants and very recent immigrants include only those who landed before the year 2000 and could have had income the entire year.

The relative level of wages and salaries of very recent immigrants in Edmonton, at 69% of the average, was higher than in 1995 by 15 percentage points. Those who had been in the country from 5 to 15 years, however, had a lower relative earnings level than their counterparts of five years earlier.

Transfer payments a larger share of household income of non-seniors

In the year 2000, virtually all households in Calgary received transfer payments from government. The payments received by recent immigrant households were somewhat higher than those going to Canadian-born and earlier immigrant households, both in dollar terms and relative to income.

Transfer payments vary considerably with the age of the oldest person in the household, and so do differences between recent immigrant, earlier immigrant and Canadian-born households. Recent immigrant households of the very young receive somewhat less than their Canadian-born and earlier immigrant counterparts, while households of persons aged 25 to 44 and 45 to 64 receive substantially larger amounts.

Table E-4: Immigrant households (by period of immigration) and Canadian-born households—percentage of households receiving transfer payments, average amount of government transfer payments, and transfer payments as a share of income, by age of older parent in family or oldest person in non-family household, Edmonton Census Metropolitan Area, 2000
  15 to 24 years 25 to 44 years 45 to 65 years 65 years and over Total
Share of households receiving government transfer payments
Canadian-born households 99% 100% 99% 100% 100%
Earlier immigrant households 101% 100% 99% 100% 100%
Recent immigrant households 99% 100% 100% 100% 100%
 1986-1995 immigrants 98% 100% 100% 100% 100%
 1996-1999 immigrants with others 100% 99% 100% 98% 100%
 1996-1999 immigrants only 100% 100% 100% 100% 100%
Average amount of transfer per receiving household
Canadian-born households $2,300 $3,110 $3,520 $17,630 $5,540
Earlier immigrant households $2,100 $3,850 $4,080 $18,600 $8,490
Recent immigrant households $1,580 $4,580 $4,960 $18,420 $6,080
 1986-1995 immigrants $1,520 $4,510 $4,610 $18,530 $6,100
 1996-1999 immigrants with others $1,390 $4,850 $7,540 $19,700 $7,080
 1996-1999 immigrants only $2,020 $4,580 $4,730 $11,830 $4,780
Transfers as a share of income, all households
Canadian-born households 8% 5% 5% 39% 9%
Earlier immigrant households 7% 6% 5% 41% 13%
Recent immigrant households 6% 9% 8% 33% 11%
 1986-1995 immigrants 6% 8% 7% 34% 11%
 1996-1999 immigrants with others 3% 8% 11% 30% 11%
 1996-1999 immigrants only 13% 12% 10% 30% 12%

Note: Incomes are for the year 2000. In all tables in Part E, immigrants and very recent immigrants include only those who landed before the year 2000 and could have had income the entire year.

Transfer payments to households without seniors generally reflect benefits of Employment Insurance, Workers Compensation, social assistance, student assistance or other programs. Included in these transfer payments are tax credits such as the Canada Child Benefit, GST tax credits and tax credits from the Government of Alberta. The larger amounts of transfer payments for recent immigrant households of persons of 25 to 64 years old may have to do with the larger average number of children in families and with differences in labour market participation and unemployment reviewed in Part D. That transfer payments from government make up a larger part of income than for their Canadian-born and earlier immigrant counterparts also reflects their lower incomes.

Almost all households with persons of 65 years of age and over received transfer payments from government: Old Age Security, the Guaranteed Income Supplement, or Canada or Quebec Pension Plan benefits. Recent immigrant households of seniors on average received somewhat more than Canadian-born households, but households consisting only of very recent immigrants received much less. Very recent immigrants are not entitled to Old Age Security and have not built up large credits under the Canada or Quebec Pension Plan.

The distribution of income

Personal income well below parity

Of very recent immigrants, close to one-half of women and three in ten men reported no income or income below $10,000 in 2000.

At the high end of the income scale, recent immigrants are underrepresented. The share of recent immigrant men with incomes of $50,000 and over is two-fifths the share of Canadian-born men with the same income, while the share of recent immigrant women with incomes of $50,000 and over is about one-third the share of Canadian-born women in the same category. The proportion with incomes of $50,000 and over is the same among earlier immigrants and the Canadian-born.

Table E-5: Immigrants by period of immigration and Canadian-born—15 years of age and over—income levels, by gender (number and percentage distribution) and average income, by gender, Edmonton Census Metropolitan Area, 2000
  Without
income
$1 to
$9,999
$10,000 to $29,999 $30,000 to $49,999 $50,000 and over Total
Women
Canadian-born 6,510 84,940 116,150 57,640 26,710 291,950
Immigrants 740 22,430 38,450 12,360 5,290 79,280
 Immigrated before 1986 170 11,110 25,690 9,100 4,360 50,410
 Immigrated 1986-1995 410 8,380 10,180 2,640 780 22,410
 Immigrated 1996-1999 160 2,950 2,580 620 160 6,470
Men
Canadian-born 6,350 50,650 75,630 73,540 79,950 286,130
Immigrants 580 11,250 26,370 18,330 17,650 74,150
 Immigrated before 1986 30 5,150 17,060 13,050 14,380 49,640
 Immigrated 1986-1995 410 4,500 7,040 4,140 2,710 18,790
 Immigrated 1996-1999 140 1,610 2,270 1,150 560 5,730
Total
Canadian-born 12,870 135,590 191,780 131,180 106,660 578,070
Immigrants 1,320 33,690 64,800 30,690 22,940 153,440
 Immigrated before 1986 210 16,250 42,740 22,150 18,720 100,060
 Immigrated 1986-1995 820 12,890 17,220 6,780 3,500 41,190
 Immigrated 1996-1999 300 4,560 4,850 1,770 720 12,190
  Without
income
$1 to
$9,999
$10,000 to $29,999 $30,000 to $49,999 $50,000 and over Total Average income
Women
Canadian-born 2% 29% 40% 20% 9% 100% $22,460
Immigrants 1% 28% 48% 16% 7% 100% $20,690
 Immigrated before 1986 0% 22% 51% 18% 9% 100% $23,371
 Immigrated 1986-1995 2% 37% 45% 12% 3% 100% $16,596
 Immigrated 1996-1999 2% 46% 40% 10% 2% 100% $13,974
Men
Canadian-born 2% 18% 26% 26% 28% 100% $38,810
Immigrants 1% 15% 36% 25% 24% 100% $36,061
 Immigrated before 1986 0% 10% 34% 26% 29% 100% $40,791
 Immigrated 1986-1995 2% 24% 37% 22% 14% 100% $27,190
 Immigrated 1996-1999 2% 28% 40% 20% 10% 100% $24,161
Total
Canadian-born 2% 23% 33% 23% 18% 100% $30,553
Immigrants 1% 22% 42% 20% 15% 100% $28,121
 Immigrated before 1986 0% 16% 43% 22% 19% 100% $32,014
 Immigrated 1986-1995 2% 31% 42% 16% 8% 100% $21,429
 Immigrated 1996-1999 2% 37% 40% 14% 6% 100% $18,766

Note: Incomes are for the year 2000. In all tables in Part E, immigrants and very recent immigrants include only those who landed before the year 2000 and could have had income the entire year.

Household income close to parity except for very recent immigrants

In 2000, recent immigrant households had average income of $57,700, or 94% of the income of Canadian-born households. The income of households consisting only of very recent immigrants was 67% of the income of households of the Canadian-born.

Table E-6: Immigrant households (by period of immigration) and Canadian-born households—household income levels (number and percentage distribution) and average household income, Edmonton Census Metropolitan Area, 2000
Households $0 to $19,999 $20,000 to $39,999 $40,000 to $59,999 $60,000 to $79,999 $80,000 and over Total Average income
Canadian-born 42,210 56,470 53,010 42,510 67,520 261,690 $61,690
16% 22% 20% 16% 26% 100%
Earlier immigrants 8,850 13,280 11,790 10,180 19,160 63,250 $66,100
14% 21% 19% 16% 30% 100%
Recent immigrants 4,290 6,120 6,120 4,480 5,880 26,900 $57,740
18% 23% 22% 16% 21% 100%
 1986-1995 immigrants 2,970 4,250 4,530 3,330 4,650 19,710 $59,370
15% 22% 23% 17% 24% 100%
 1996-1999 immigrants with others 340 880 900 800 970 3,890 $63,320
12% 23% 22% 19% 23% 100%
 1996-1999 immigrants only 980 1,000 700 360 270 3,300 $41,440
38% 29% 17% 9% 6% 100%
All households 57,380 76,940 71,590 57,560 93,070 356,520 $61,820
16% 22% 20% 16% 26% 100%

Note: Incomes are for the year 2000. In all tables in Part E, immigrants and very recent immigrants include only those who landed before the year 2000 and could have had income the entire year. The total “All households” includes households of non-permanent residents not shown in the table. For definitions of household and related concepts, see the Glossary.

Thirty percent of households consisting of only very recent immigrants have income of less than $20,000, in spite of their large size. The relatively high income of households that combine very recent immigrants with other persons may be a result of their large size and the fact that the other members of the household have lived in Canada for more than five years and are more likely to be earners.

Low income twice as common among very recent immigrants

Recent immigrants are more likely than earlier immigrants and the Canadian-born to live in families with incomes that fall below the median family income or, if they do not live in families, to have income below the median for unattached individuals. They are also more likely to have or live in families with incomes that fall below one-half of the median income—that is, to have low income. The percentage of immigrants with income in the bottom half or quarter of the income distribution declines in relation to the length of stay in Canada of the cohort.

Figure E-1: Immigrants by period of immigration and Canadian-born—percentage with family or individual income below the median and below one-half of the median, Edmonton Census Metropolitan Area, 2000
Figure E-1

Note: Incomes are for the year 2000. In all figures in Part E, immigrants and very recent immigrants include only those who landed before the year 2000 and could have had income the entire year. For a definition of median income and details about the calculations, see the Glossary.

The share of very recent immigrants whose family or individual income is below one-half of the median income is nearly twice as large as that of the Canadian-born. The proportion of very recent immigrants with income below the median is also much higher, with two out of three very recent immigrants in this situation. Although earlier immigrant households have higher average income than Canadian-born households (Table E-6), a slightly larger proportion of earlier immigrants have income below the median.

Table E-7: Immigrants by period of immigration and Canadian-born — family or individual income below the median, by age and gender, Edmonton Census Metropolitan Area, 2000 (number and percentage)
  Under 15 years 15 to 24 years 25 to 64 years 65 years and over Total
Women
Canadian-born 43,700 30,570 82,660 22,960 179,880
Immigrants 1,760 3,850 27,100 10,880 43,600
 Immigrated before 1986 730 14,570 9,700 25,000
 Immigrated 1986-1995 860 2,270 9,300 1,030 13,460
 Immigrated 1996-1999 900 850 3,230 150 5,140
Men
Canadian-born 46,120 26,920 70,270 17,240 160,510
Immigrants 2,000 3,480 23,230 9,150 37,820
 Immigrated before 1986 630 13,230 8,180 22,010
 Immigrated 1986-1995 940 2,100 7,040 830 10,890
 Immigrated 1996-1999 1,070 760 2,960 140 4,930
Total
Canadian-born 89,820 57,480 152,920 40,190 340,390
Immigrants 3,760 7,330 50,320 20,020 81,410
 Immigrated before 1986 1,350 27,800 17,880 47,000
 Immigrated 1986-1995 1,800 4,370 16,340 1,860 24,350
 Immigrated 1996-1999 1,960 1,610 6,190 290 10,070
 
Women
Canadian-born 50% 50% 42% 67% 48%
Immigrants 63% 57% 48% 66% 53%
 Immigrated before 1986 49% 42% 68% 50%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 61% 58% 57% 49% 57%
 Immigrated 1996-1999 65% 65% 66% 51% 66%
Men
Canadian-born 51% 42% 36% 65% 43%
Immigrants 65% 54% 43% 66% 49%
 Immigrated before 1986 40% 37% 68% 44%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 60% 55% 53% 54% 54%
 Immigrated 1996-1999 71% 71% 67% 59% 68%
Total
Canadian-born 51% 46% 39% 66% 45%
Immigrants 64% 56% 46% 66% 51%
 Immigrated before 1986 44% 39% 68% 47%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 60% 56% 55% 51% 55%
 Immigrated 1996-1999 69% 68% 67% 54% 67%

Note: Incomes are for the year 2000. In all tables in Part E, immigrants and very recent immigrants include only those who landed before the year 2000 and could have had income the entire year. For a definition of median income and details about the calculations, see the Glossary.

The proportion of individuals with income below the median varies with age and to a lesser extent gender. For the Canadian-born and earlier immigrants, the highest proportion of incomes below the median is found among seniors. But this is not so for very recent immigrants, among whom incomes below the median are more common for younger age groups. Persons who immigrated during the 1986-1995 period occupy a middle ground.

In all age and gender groups except women and men of 65 years of age and over, the proportion of persons with income below the overall median is higher among recent immigrants than among the Canadian-born. This difference is most pronounced for people 25 to 64 years of age.

Table E-8: Immigrants by period of immigration and Canadian-born — family or individual income below one-half of the median, by age and gender, Edmonton Census Metropolitan Area, 2000 (number and percentage)
  Under
15 years
15 to 24 years 25 to 64 years 65 years and over Total
Women
Canadian-born 15,430 13,000 27,530 4,900 60,860
Immigrants 730 1,560 9,230 2,710 14,220
 Immigrated before 1986 260 4,760 2,370 7,380
 Immigrated 1986-1995 340 910 3,070 290 4,610
 Immigrated 1996-1999 390 390 1,400 60 2,230
Men
Canadian-born 15,200 10,090 19,970 5,260 50,520
Immigrants 790 1,500 7,430 3,240 12,960
 Immigrated before 1986 260 3,940 2,850 7,060
 Immigrated 1986-1995 350 850 2,300 350 3,840
 Immigrated 1996-1999 450 390 1,200 40 2,070
Total
Canadian-born 30,630 23,080 47,500 10,160 111,380
Immigrants 1,520 3,050 16,650 5,950 27,180
 Immigrated before 1986 520 8,700 5,220 14,440
 Immigrated 1986-1995 690 1,760 5,370 630 8,450
 Immigrated 1996-1999 830 780 2,590 100 4,300
 
Women
Canadian-born 18% 21% 14% 14% 16%
Immigrants 26% 23% 17% 16% 17%
 Immigrated before 1986 18% 14% 17% 15%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 24% 23% 19% 14% 19%
 Immigrated 1996-1999 28% 30% 29% 20% 28%
Men
Canadian-born 17% 16% 10% 20% 13%
Immigrants 26% 23% 14% 23% 17%
 Immigrated before 1986 16% 11% 24% 14%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 22% 22% 17% 22% 19%
 Immigrated 1996-1999 30% 36% 27% 17% 29%
Total
Canadian-born 17% 18% 12% 17% 15%
Immigrants 26% 23% 15% 20% 17%
 Immigrated before 1986 17% 12% 20% 14%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 23% 23% 18% 17% 19%
 Immigrated 1996-1999 29% 33% 28% 19% 29%

Note: Incomes are for the year 2000. In all tables in Part E, immigrants and very recent immigrants include only those who landed before the year 2000 and could have had income the entire year. For a definition of median income and details about the calculations, see the Glossary.

Nearly three out of ten immigrants who landed between 1996 and 1999 have low incomes or live in families with low income—that is, income below one-half of the median. This share is twice as large as for the Canadian-born. The gap between very recent immigrants and the Canadian-born is smaller for seniors than for any other age group.

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