Recent Immigrants in Metropolitan Areas: Halifax—A Comparative Profile Based on the 2001 Census
Part B: Who Are the Recent Immigrants?
Origin, immigration category and religion
Asian origins are increasingly common
Halifax’s immigrants 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 4,400 residents of Halifax who had landed in Canada between 1996 and 2001. The most common country of birth for these very recent immigrants was China, accounting for 9% of very recent immigrants, followed by the United States, supplying 7%. The ten most common countries of birth—China, United States, United Kingdom, South Korea, Yugoslavia, India, Philippines, Russian Federation, Iran and Syria—combined accounted for 40% of these very recent immigrants. Only three of these countries were in the top ten countries of birth for immigrants who landed in Canada before 1986.
|6||China, People’s Republic of||830||3%|
|Top ten countries||15,180||62%|
|All other countries||9,210||38%|
|Immigrated before 1986|
|Top ten countries||11,340||77%|
|All other countries||3,330||23%|
|6||China, People’s Republic of||230||4%|
|Top ten countries||3,070||58%|
|All other countries||2,220||42%|
|1||China, People’s Republic of||390||9%|
|Top ten countries||1,750||40%|
|All other countries||2,680||60%|
Among Halifax’s earlier immigrants—those arriving in Canada before 1986—the United Kingdom and the United States were the most common countries of birth, accounting as a whole for one-half of this group. These two countries accounted for 60% of Halifax’s immigrants who landed in Canada before 1961.
In general, the birth origins of Halifax’s immigrant population vary in relation to the period of immigration. European and United States birth origins are predominant among those who immigrated in the 1950s, the 1960s and, to a lesser extent, the 1970s, and Asian birth origins are increasingly common among those who immigrated in the 1980s and 1990s.
Halifax’s share of recent immigrants varies by country of birth
Halifax does not account for a sizeable proportion of any recent immigrant group. The largest group proportionately is Syrians, with 1.4% of the Syrian recent immigrant population in Canada living in Halifax. This is slightly higher than Halifax’s share of the total population of Canada, which stands at 1.2%, and one percentage point higher than Halifax’s share of Canada’s immigrants as a whole (0.4%). Other recent immigrant groups in Halifax that have the largest proportions (measured as a percentage of the total national population of each group) are immigrants from the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany and several countries in the Middle East. The share of the country’s recent immigrant population living in Halifax is lower than that of the Canadian-born population, except for recent immigrants born in Syria.
|Country of Birth||Total recent immigrants to Canada||Share residing in Halifax|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||23,170||0.5%|
|All recent immigrants||2,491,850||0.4%|
|China, People’s Republic of||236,930||0.3%|
Note: Table B-2 lists all countries that are the place of birth of at least 10,000 recent immigrants living in Canada in 2001, with Halifax’s share being 0.1% or more.
High share of economic immigrants
The number of immigrants who reported Halifax as their destination when they landed in Canada increased by 7,300 between the second half of the 1980s and the first half of the 1990s and decreased by 2,200 in the second half of the 1990s. The rise was concentrated in the economic immigrant class. Throughout the 1990s, four in five immigrants arriving in Canada and destined for Halifax entered through the economic category.
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-3 was obtained from records at Citizenship and Immigration Canada and pertains to the time of landing. Immigration categories are described in the Glossary.
In absolute numbers, immigrants entering through the family class increased slightly in the first half of the 1990s, as compared to the second half of the 1980s, but in relative numbers, as a share of total immigrants, immigrants entering through the family class fell by half. Immigrants in the family class are a small group, as immigrants in Halifax bring fewer family members compared to immigrants in other parts of Canada. Within the family class, the number of spouses remained steady during the three five-year periods. The number of other relatives—parents and grandparents, sons and daughters and fiancés—fell sharply from almost 700 during the 1991-1995 period to one-half of that number during the 1996-2000 period.
As for refugees, both government-assisted and privately sponsored refugees declined somewhat in number. Two thousand government-sponsored refugees were destined to Halifax when they landed during the 1986-1995 period, and only 900 during the next five years. Forty privately sponsored refugees entered in the second half of the 1990s, less than one-fifth of the number that entered in the second half of the 1980s.
As for economic immigrants, Halifax attracted a large number of entrepreneurs and their families: 6,100 in the first half of the 1990s and 3,700 in the second half of the 1990s, compared to 2,200 and 3,500 skilled workers and their families, respectively, during the same periods. This pattern contrasts with the pattern for Canada as a whole, where immigrants who entered as skilled workers far outnumbered entrepreneurs.
Religions changing with countries of origin
Recent immigrants have brought to Halifax several religions that were virtually absent before 1986. While four in ten very recent immigrants are Christians, more than one-third are Muslims. The large presence of non-Christian religions in Halifax is very recent.
|Canadian-born||Immigrants||Immigrated before 1986||Immigrated 1986-1995||Immigrated 1996-2001|
Note: Religions are listed in order of their share of the population of Canada, from highest to lowest, with Christian religions grouped together.
Roman Catholics and Protestants are relatively more numerous among the Canadian-born than among all immigrant cohorts in Halifax. Nearly one-half of the Canadian-born are Protestant, with the Anglican Church having the largest following among the major Protestant churches, accounting for 17%. Close to 10% of immigrants adhere to an orthodox Christian religion or a Christian denomination other than Protestant or Roman Catholic, something very rare among the Canadian-born.
Age and gender
More than four in ten recent immigrants are young adults
The age distribution of the very recent immigrant population (those landing between 1996 and 2001) is markedly different from that of the Canadian-born population, with a larger proportion of persons aged 25 to 44 and proportionally fewer seniors and persons aged 45 to 64. In 1996, more than four in ten of recent immigrants living in Halifax were between the ages of 25 and 44, compared to one-third of Canadian-born individuals in this age group. Children under 15 accounted for one quarter of the recent immigrant population compared with one-fifth of the Canadian-born population.
|Under 15 years||15 to 24 years||25 to 44 years||45 to 64 years||65 years and over||Total|
|Immigrated before 1986||0||160||1,570||3,400||2,220||7,350|
|Immigrated before 1986||0||190||1,680||3,620||1,840||7,330|
|Immigrated before 1986||0||360||3,250||7,020||4,050||14,670|
|Immigrated before 1986||0%||2%||22%||48%||28%||100%|
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.
The age structure of very recent immigrants closely resembles age at landing. Immigrants tend to arrive in Canada during their prime working-age years. This was the case among immigrants who landed more than 30 years ago, and it is still the case today. It is therefore not surprising that a large share of very recent immigrants were in the 25 to 44 age group.
Many of the characteristics and circumstances described in this profile vary with age. Differences between immigrants or groups of immigrants and the Canadian-born often are at least in part a reflection of differences in the age structure.
Figure B-1: Immigrants by period of immigration and Canadian-born, by age, Halifax Census Metropolitan Area, 2001 (percentage distribution)
More women than men
The proportion of women in the recent immigrant population in Halifax is the same as that in the Canadian-born population, but for some countries of birth it is much higher. More than 65% of recent immigrants from China, the United States and South Korea are women.
|15 to 24
|25 to 44
|45 to 64
|Immigrated before 1986||–||45%||48%||48%||55%||50%|
There are 400 more women than men among the 9,700 recent immigrants in Halifax. The number of women is particularly high among recent immigrants from the Philippines (170 more women than men out of 270 recent immigrants) and Germany (100 more women than men out of 290 recent immigrants).
As women on average live longer than men, they make up a large share of persons aged 65 years and over. But the higher proportion of women among recent immigrants is not related to age. For instance, over half 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, the Russian Federation and Yugoslavia. Sixty percent or more of recent immigrants from these countries are men. Men outnumber women by 40 among recent immigrants from Iraq and the Russian Federation.
The gender balance, by country of origin, has not changed greatly since 1996.
Language and education
Almost all very recent immigrants speak English or French
A large majority of Halifax’s immigrants 15 years or 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 from 1996 to 2001, almost all (99% of men and 96% of women) reported being able to speak an official language in May 2001. Less than one in ten of these very recent immigrants could not speak either official language. Knowledge of official languages was also almost universal among those who immigrated in earlier periods: 97% of those arriving between 1986 and 1995 and 99% of those arriving before 1986 indicated that they were able to speak an official language.
The proportion of Halifax’s immigrants able to carry on a conversation in English or French does not vary much among age groups. Almost all very recent immigrants reported that they were able to converse in an official language.
|English only||French only||Neither French nor English||Both French and English||Total|
|15 to 24 years||350||–||30||–||380|
|25 to 44 years||940||–||40||50||1,030|
|45 to 64 years||220||–||20||10||250|
|65 years and over||10||–||–||10||20|
|15 years and over||1,530||–||100||80||1,700|
|15 to 24 years||400||–||20||–||420|
|25 to 44 years||760||–||90||20||870|
|45 to 64 years||240||–||30||–||270|
|65 years and over||30||–||–||–||30|
|15 years and over||1,430||–||140||20||1,590|
|15 to 24 years||750||–||50||–||790|
|25 to 44 years||1,700||10||130||70||1,910|
|45 to 64 years||460||–||50||20||530|
|65 years and over||40||–||10||20||70|
|15 years and over||2,950||10||240||100||3,290|
|15 to 24 years||92%||0%||8%||0%||100%|
|25 to 44 years||91%||0%||4%||5%||100%|
|45 to 64 years||88%||0%||8%||4%||100%|
|65 years and over||50%||0%||0%||50%||100%|
|15 years and over||90%||0%||6%||5%||100%|
|15 to 24 years||95%||0%||5%||0%||100%|
|25 to 44 years||87%||0%||10%||2%||100%|
|45 to 64 years||89%||0%||11%||0%||100%|
|65 years and over||100%||0%||0%||0%||100%|
|15 years and over||90%||0%||9%||1%||100%|
|15 to 24 years||95%||0%||6%||0%||100%|
|25 to 44 years||89%||1%||7%||4%||100%|
|45 to 64 years||87%||0%||9%||4%||100%|
|65 years and over||57%||0%||14%||29%||100%|
|15 years and over||90%||0%||7%||3%||100%|
Ability to converse in either or both official languages has improved with the very recent immigrant cohort: 4% more men and 5% more women had this ability in 2001, compared to a similar cohort (those who landed within the five years prior to the census) in 1996. This may reflect the increase in the number of economic immigrants and perhaps also greater awareness among immigrants of the need to speak Canada’s languages before and after landing.
More than one-half of recent immigrants speak a foreign language at home
For the majority of Halifax’s recent immigrants, the language spoken most often at home is one other than English or French. More than one-half of immigrants who landed between 1996 and 2001 most often speak a foreign language in their homes.
The use of foreign languages is not as high among other immigrant cohorts. One-third of those who immigrated between 1986 and 1995 and one in ten of those who immigrated prior to 1986 most often spoke a foreign language at home.
Figure B-2: Immigrants by period of immigration—15 years of age and over —use of a foreign language at home, Halifax Census Metropolitan Area, 2001 (percentage)
Many university graduates among recent immigrants
Immigrants boast a high number of university graduates, especially recent immigrants. Canada is a world leader with respect to educational attainment of the population. In this context, the high educational attainment of immigrants and recent immigrants is particularly noteworthy. This high proportion of university graduates is most likely a result of immigrant selection policy, which places a large emphasis on education for immigrants in the economic category.
When education levels are compared by age group, the younger generation has a much higher level of education than older groups, whether born inside or outside Canada. One in seven Canadian-born persons under 45 years of age has not completed high school, compared to more than one half of seniors. Two-thirds of Canadian-born persons under 45 years of age have a post-secondary diploma or degree, compared to one-third of men and women 65 years of age and over. A similar difference in educational qualifications is observed among immigrants.
Both with respect to the share that has no high school diploma and the share that has some post-secondary diploma or degree, earlier and recent immigrants have a level of educational attainment that is higher than that of persons born in Canada.
|Less than grade 9||Some high school||High school diploma||College or trade diploma||University degree||Total|
|Immigrated before 1986||410||1,350||1,340||2,120||2,130||7,350|
|Immigrated before 1986||360||900||1,060||2,260||2,740||7,320|
|Immigrated before 1986||770||2,270||2,400||4,380||4,870||14,670|
|Immigrated before 1986||6%||18%||18%||29%||29%||100%|
|Immigrated before 1986||5%||12%||14%||31%||37%||100%|
|Immigrated before 1986||5%||15%||16%||30%||33%||100%|
|No high school diploma||With post-secondary diploma or degree|
|25 to 44
|45 to 65
|25 to 44
|45 to 65
|Immigrated before 1986||190||620||950||1,110||2,240||850|
|Immigrated before 1986||220||490||520||1,120||2,710||1,130|
|Immigrated before 1986||400||1,100||1,480||2,220||4,940||1,970|
|Immigrated before 1986||12%||18%||43%||70%||66%||38%|
|Immigrated before 1986||13%||13%||28%||67%||75%||61%|
|Immigrated before 1986||12%||16%||37%||68%||70%||49%|
Recent immigrants add to Halifax’s pool of science and health professionals
Approximately five in ten men who immigrated after 1985 and have a post-secondary diploma or degree majored in physical sciences, engineering or trades. This compares to six out of ten Canadian-born men. Among very recent immigrant women with a post-secondary diploma or degree, a quarter have studied some physical science or technology. This is more than twice the share of Canadian-born women in this field of study.
|Physical sciences, engineering and trades||Social sciences, education and arts||Commerce, manage-
ment and business administration
|Health professions and related technologies||Total|
|Immigrated before 1986||260||640||270||280||1,450|
|Immigrated before 1986||770||420||200||160||1,540|
|Immigrated before 1986||1,040||1,060||460||440||3,000|
|Immigrated before 1986||18%||44%||19%||19%||100%|
|Immigrated before 1986||50%||27%||13%||10%||100%|
|Immigrated before 1986||35%||35%||15%||15%||100%|
Recent immigrants are also strongly represented in the social sciences, education and the arts, with the proportion of recent immigrants with post-secondary degrees or diplomas in these fields only marginally smaller than that of the Canadian-born. Over one-third of Canadian-born women and nearly one-quarter of recent immigrant women have past-secondary degrees or diplomas in commerce, management and business administration. A much higher proportion of very recent immigrant men with post-secondary degrees or diplomas studied health professions and related technologies than the Canadian-born.
Recent immigrants more likely to attend school
Very recent immigrants are relatively likely to be in school. School attendance is at least twice as high for this group as for the Canadian-born, in both the 25-44 and 45-64 age groups.
|15 to 24 years||25 to 44 years||45 to 64 years||15 to 24 years||25 to 44 years||45 to 64 years|
|Immigrated before 1986||130||180||170||81%||11%||5%|
|Immigrated before 1986||160||220||130||84%||13%||3%|
|Immigrated before 1986||270||390||280||75%||12%||4%|
School attendance, of course, is much higher in the youngest age group, persons of 15 to 24 years of age, than in older age groups. Here we find a much higher rate of attendance for recent immigrants than for the Canadian-born, both men and women.
School attendance is also high among young earlier immigrants. For this group, language is not likely to be an issue, since they landed as young children.
School attendance rates for all recent immigrants groups are higher in 2001 than in 1996. In particular, for men and women aged 45 to 64, the attendance rates have more than doubled since 1996.
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