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


Very recent immigrants—a snapshot

  • Very recent immigrants, those who landed after or on January 1, 1996 and were living in Halifax on May 15, 2001, are in many ways similar to those who came earlier, and they have similar economic outcomes. They number 4,400, a large number compared to preceding immigrant cohorts, and represent 18% of the immigrant population of Halifax. Four in ten have university degrees, somewhat more than among earlier immigrant groups, and twice as many as among the Canadian-born. Almost all can converse in English or French. Employment was at about the same level as was reported five years earlier by immigrants who landed in the first half of the 1990s, and incomes were higher by one-third than five years earlier, a larger change than for other immigrant cohorts and the Canadian-born.

Immigrants and recent immigrants (Part A)

  • In 2001, there were 9,700 recent immigrants in Halifax, 0.4% of all recent immigrants living in Canada. These recent immigrants, who landed after 1985, accounted for 40% of immigrants in Halifax proper and 2.7% of the population of the metropolitan area. In this document, the term “recent immigrants” refers to immigrants who became permanent residents or “landed” after 1985 and who were living in the country on May 15, 2001, when Canada’s Census of Population was held. Very recent immigrants are immigrants who landed after 1995.
  • By May 2001, more than three-quarters of immigrants who landed between 1986 and 1995 had become Canadian citizens.

Who are the recent immigrants (Part B)

  • The origins of immigrants living in Halifax are more diverse the more recent the cohort. The United Kingdom and the United States are the countries of birth of many of Halifax’s immigrants, but their share among recent immigrants has declined steadily over time. China has now surpassed the United Kingdom and the United States as a source country, accounting for 9% of immigrants who landed after 1995.
  • Statistics published by Citizenship and Immigration Canada show that among very recent immigrants, eight in ten immigrants who were destined for Halifax entered through the economic category.
  • Recent immigrants are changing the religious landscape of Halifax. One in three very recent immigrants is a Muslim.
  • More than four in ten recent immigrants are 25 to 44 years of age. In Halifax’s Canadian-born population, this group accounts for one-third.
  • Almost all very recent immigrants reported being able to conduct a conversation in English or French. For more than five in ten very recent immigrants the language most often spoken at home is a language other than English or French.
  • The level of education of very recent immigrants in Halifax is quite high compared to that of the Canadian-born, with four in ten holding a university degree. This continues a tradition of high educational attainment of immigrants who make their home in Halifax.

Families and households (Part C)

  • Recent immigrants are more likely than the Canadian-born to live with relatives, and they are also more likely to live in extended families. Among persons aged 65 years and over, 23% of very recent immigrants live alone, and 31% of the Canadian-born live alone.
  • Recent immigrant families are more likely than Canadian-born families to have children at home, in particular when the oldest member of the family is between the ages of 45 and 64. There are many fewer lone-parent families among recent immigrants than among Canadian-born families in Halifax.
  • Households in which at least one adult is a recent immigrant account for 3% of households in Halifax. Two out of five of these recent immigrant households have at least one person who immigrated after 1995.
  • Households of recent immigrants are a little more likely than Canadian-born households to consist of extended or more than one family. They also tend to be larger, with 44% having four or more persons in the household, compared to 21% of Canadian-born households with four or more persons.

Participation in the economy (Part D)

  • The more recent their arrival, the lower the labour force participation rate and the higher the unemployment rate of immigrants. Earlier immigrants participate in the labour force at more or less the same rates as the Canadian-born.
  • This pattern of increasing convergence to the Canadian-born with longer stay in Canada occurs across all age and gender groups and all levels of education. The disparities between recent immigrants and the Canadian-born are smaller for men than for women.
  • The share of recent immigrants who had a job did not change significantly between 1996 and 2001, while employment rates increased among the Canadian-born.
  • In comparison to the Canadian-born, recent immigrants were more likely to be employed in sales and services occupations, health and science occupations, and management and social occupations. Administrative occupations accounted for a smaller proportion of the jobs of recent immigrants than of the Canadian-born.
  • Recent immigrants were more likely than the Canadian-born to work in hospitality and other services industries, and less likely to work in construction and transportation industries and the public sector.
  • Recent immigrants in Halifax tended to be employed in jobs that require a high level of skill, but for university graduates the skill requirements of jobs are lower for recent immigrants than for the Canadian-born.

Income (Part E)

  • On average among persons reporting income for the year 2000, the income of very recent immigrants is about two-thirds of that of the Canadian-born, while those who immigrated during the 1986-1995 period have income more than four-fifths of that of the Canadian-born.
  • The average income of very recent immigrant men and women was higher in 2001 than in 1995 by one-third—a much larger change than other cohorts experienced.
  • Transfer payments from government for households in the 25-64 age group were somewhat larger for recent immigrant households than for Canadian-born households.
  • One in three very recent immigrants was in a low-income situation, twice as large a share as for the Canadian-born.

Housing (Part F)

  • In Halifax, 18% of recent immigrant households live in crowded conditions—that is, have one person or more per room—compared to 2% of Canadian-born households. Among households consisting only of very recent immigrants, the incidence of crowding is 39%.
  • Nearly one in three recent immigrant households spends more than 30% of its income on shelter, compared to one in four Canadian-born households.
  • The state of repair of dwellings is slightly better for recent immigrants than for the Canadian-born.
  • Home ownership is much less common among recent immigrant households than among Canadian-born households.
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