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

Part B: Who Are the Recent Immigrants?

Origin, immigration category and religion

Origins changing and differ from rest of Canada

Montreal’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 114,200 residents of Montreal who were very recent immigrants who had landed in Canada between 1996 and 2001. The most common country of birth for these immigrants was Algeria, accounting for 9% of these new immigrants to Montreal, followed by China (8%) and France (7%).

Table B-1: Immigrants by period of immigration—top ten countries of birth, Montreal Census Metropolitan Area, 2001 (number and percentage distribution)
All immigrants
Rank Country Number Share
1 Italy 67,040 11%
2 Haiti 45,070 7%
3 France 35,490 6%
4 Lebanon 26,470 4%
5 Greece 21,890 4%
6 China, People’s Republic of 21,700 3%
7 Viet Nam 21,250 3%
8 Portugal 19,640 3%
9 Morocco 18,810 3%
10 Former U.S.S.R. 15,270 2%
Top ten countries 292,630 47%
All other countries 329,260 53%
Total 621,890 100%
Immigrated before 1986
1 Italy 65,290 20%
2 Haiti 24,020 7%
3 Greece 20,650 6%
4 France 20,050 6%
5 Portugal 15,190 5%
6 Viet Nam 12,960 4%
7 United Kingdom 12,590 4%
8 Egypt 10,330 3%
9 United States 9,380 3%
10 Poland 8,980 3%
Top ten countries 199,440 61%
All other countries 128,630 39%
Total 328,070 100%
Immigrated 1986-1995
1 Lebanon 16,390 9%
2 Haiti 15,250 8%
3 France 7,530 4%
4 Viet Nam 6,940 4%
5 China, People’s Republic of 6,660 4%
6 Philippines 6,500 4%
7 El Salvador 5,420 3%
8 Romania 5,350 3%
9 Morocco 5,170 3%
10 Sri Lanka 5,160 3%
Top ten countries 80,370 45%
All other countries 99,280 55%
Total 179,650 100%
Immigrated 1996-2001
1 Algeria 10,120 9%
2 China, People’s Republic of 9,390 8%
3 France 7,930 7%
4 Haiti 5,810 5%
5 Morocco 5,810 5%
6 India 4,250 4%
7 Romania 4,240 4%
8 Sri Lanka 3,660 3%
9 Philippines 3,330 3%
10 Russian Federation 3,220 3%
Top ten countries 57,760 51%
All other countries 56,420 49%
Total 114,180 100%

The birth origins of Montreal’s immigrant population vary in relation to the period of immigration. European birth origins are predominant among immigrants who landed in the 1950s, the 1960s and to a lesser extent in the 1970s, while more recent immigrants come mainly from other continents. Haiti has been an important source of immigrants to Montreal for a long time, and there is a sizeable and still growing Haitian community in the city. Among the major countries of birth of Montreal’s immigrant population are many that are different from those of immigrants to Canada in general. France is a major source of immigrants to Montreal, and a number of other such countries—Haiti, Algeria, Morocco, Romania, Italy, Greece, Viet Nam, Egypt and Lebanon—have connections to France and its language. More recently, however, Montreal has also attracted significant numbers of immigrants from China, India and the Philippines—important source countries of immigrants residing in other major cities in Canada.

A favoured destination for some recent immigrants

Table B-2: Recent immigrants in Canada by country of birth and percentage residing in Montreal Census Metropolitan Area, 2001
Country of Birth Total recent immigrants to Canada Share residing in Montreal
Haiti 25,430 83%
Algeria 16,675 82%
Morocco 13,510 81%
France 27,500 56%
Syria 10,340 52%
Lebanon 43,930 44%
Peru 12,590 38%
Guatemala 10,580 28%
Bangladesh 19,920 24%
Egypt 16,970 23%
Romania 43,200 22%
El Salvador 29,680 20%
Colombia 10,190 17%
Russian Federation 35,950 14%
Portugal 34,120 13%
All recent immigrants 2,491,850 12%
Ghana 13,450 12%
Mexico 24,640 12%
Viet Nam 72,330 11%
All immigrants 5,448,490 11%
Total population 29,639,000 11%
All Canadian-born 23,991,910 11%
Afghanistan 20,670 11%
Sri Lanka 80,080 11%
Ukraine 25,530 10%
Iran 61,560 9%
Pakistan 64,020 8%
United States 73,860 8%
China, People’s Republic of 236,930 7%
Philippines 161,130 6%
Iraq 22,300 6%
Poland 91,140 6%
Germany 22,810 5%
Trinidad and Tobago 28,790 5%
India 197,680 4%
Jamaica 48,760 4%
Malaysia 12,280 4%
Yugoslavia, former 35,860 4%
Ethiopia 12,080 4%
Korea, South 50,970 4%
Taiwan 60,530 4%
Bosnia and Herzegovina 23,170 3%
Somalia 18,220 3%
Guyana 38,910 3%
United Kingdom 69,660 3%
Croatia 11,380 2%
Hong Kong 168,770 2%
South Africa, Republic of 19,890 1%

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 Montreal’s share being 1% or more.

For some immigrant groups, Montreal is the preferred area of residence. For example, of the 25,400 Haitian-born individuals who immigrated since 1986 and were living in Canada in 2001, 21,000 or 83% were living in Montreal, and Montreal’s share of recent immigrants from Algeria and also from Morocco is nearly as large. Montreal is also home to a large share of recent immigrants from France, Syria and Lebanon. On average, 12% of recent immigrants chose Montreal as their place of residence. The share of recent immigrants living in Montreal is slightly greater than the shares of Canada’s earlier immigrants and the Canadian-born population residing in Montreal.

High share of economic immigrants among very recent landings

Statistics published by Citizenship and Immigration Canada show that the number of immigrants who reported Montreal as their destination when they landed in Canada increased by 45,900 between the second half of the 1980s and the first half of the 1990s, and then slid back by 53,900 in the second half of the 1990s. All three major classes shared in the rise and fall of the inflow. Five in ten very recent immigrants destined for Montreal entered through the economic category, and family class immigrants and refugees each made up one-quarter of the total.

Table B-3: Recent immigrants by period of immigration—landings by immigration category, Montreal Census Metropolitan Area, 1986-2000 (number and percentage distribution)
  1986-1990 1991-1995 1996-2000
Family class 35,800 27% 56,000 32% 33,500 27%
Economic immigrants 77,500 59% 82,400 47% 58,500 48%
Refugees 16,200 12% 37,500 21% 29,100 24%
Other immigrants 1,500 1% 1,200 1% 2,000 2%
Total 131,100 100% 177,000 100% 123,100 100%

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-3 was obtained from records at Citizenship and Immigration Canada, and pertains to the time of landing. The immigration categories are described in the Glossary.

Within the family class, the number of sponsored spouses increased to more than 30,000 in the first half of the 1990s, before sliding back by 8,000 to 24,000 by the end of the century. The number of other relatives—parents and grandparents, sons and daughters, and fiancés—decreased from about 24,000 in the early 1990s to 9,000 in the most recent period.

As for refugees, government-assisted refugees declined in number from 8,000 in the second half of the 1980s to 2,000 a decade later. The number of privately-sponsored refugees dwindled to 700 after peaking in the first half of the 1990s at 17,000. During the 1990s, 45,000 refugees landed in Canada and refugee dependants intended to settle in Montreal.

Skilled workers and their dependants account for the lion’s share of economic immigrants and for all the growth in their number during the 15 years before 2001. The number of entrepreneurs with dependants in the most recent period is only one-quarter of the 20,000 who landed in the second half of the 1980s.

Three in ten very recent immigrants are Muslims

Recent immigrants are changing the religious landscape of Montreal. While Christians still outnumber other religious groups among very recent immigrants, the shares with affiliation to the Muslim faith and those reporting no religious affiliation are higher than among earlier immigrants and the Canadian-born. Buddhists, Hindus and Sikhs make up a small share of recent immigrants. Three in ten very recent immigrants are Muslims. Among the Canadian-born, the Muslim faith claims the affiliation of 1% of the population, and there are virtually no Buddhists, Hindus and Sikhs.

Table B-4: Immigrants by period of immigration and Canadian-born—religious affiliation, Montreal Census Metropolitan Area, 2001 (number and percentage distribution)
  Canadian-born Immigrants Immigrated before 1986 Immigrated 1986-1995 Immigrated 1996-2001
Roman Catholic 2,230,620 268,960 173,440 66,810 28,720
Protestant 142,020 66,530 37,830 18,840 9,820
Orthodox Christian 37,460 55,760 32,150 13,950 9,650
Other Christian 21,480 18,320 6,820 8,030 3,480
Muslim 22,380 69,840 8,550 28,640 32,650
Buddhist 9,440 27,610 15,870 9,390 2,340
Hindu 6,840 16,200 3,990 7,330 4,880
Sikh 1,710 5,140 1,220 1,680 2,270
Other 68,620 31,560 23,220 5,540 2,840
No religion 183,680 62,010 25,040 19,460 17,520
Total 2,724,200 621,890 328,060 179,650 114,180
 
Roman Catholic 82% 43% 53% 37% 25%
Protestant 5% 11% 12% 10% 9%
Orthodox Christian 1% 9% 10% 8% 8%
Other Christian 1% 3% 2% 4% 3%
Muslim 1% 11% 3% 16% 29%
Buddhist 0% 4% 5% 5% 2%
Hindu 0% 3% 1% 4% 4%
Sikh 0% 1% 0% 1% 2%
Other 3% 5% 7% 3% 2%
No religion 7% 10% 8% 11% 15%
Total 100% 100% 100% 100% 100%

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 account for four-fifths of the Canadian-born population residing in Montreal. While Roman Catholics were numerous among earlier immigrants, their share has fallen among very recent immigrants. More than one-half of immigrants who landed before 1986 reported Roman Catholicism as their faith. However, among very recent immigrants the share has fallen to one-quarter.

Age and gender

One-half of very recent immigrants are working-age adults 25 to 44 years old

The age distribution of the very recent immigrant population (those who landed between 1996 and 2001) is markedly different from that of the Canadian-born population, with a larger proportion aged 25 to 44, and proportionally fewer children under 15 years of age and seniors aged 65 years and over. In 2001, slightly more than one-half of very recent immigrants living in Montreal were between the ages of 25 and 44, compared to 31% of the Canadian-born. Seniors accounted for only 2% of Montreal’s very recent immigrants and 11% of the Canadian-born population. Children under 15 years of age accounted for 21% of the very recent immigrant population as well as of the Canadian-born population.

Table B-5: Immigrants by period of immigration and Canadian-born—age and gender, Montreal Census Metropolitan Area, 2001 (number and percentage distribution)
  Under 15
years
15 to 24
years
25 to 44 years 45 to 64 years 65 years and over Total
Women
Canadian-born 282,090 187,140 424,640 332,540 181,100 1,407,500
Immigrants 19,200 27,500 110,060 100,940 58,860 316,550
 Immigrated before 1986 0 3,880 35,940 76,330 51,260 167,390
 Immigrated 1986-1995 7,280 15,170 44,540 18,670 6,100 91,750
 Immigrated 1996-2001 11,920 8,460 29,580 5,950 1,510 57,410
Men
Canadian-born 295,620 191,240 411,990 298,880 118,990 1,316,710
Immigrants 18,190 28,450 107,100 100,690 50,930 305,350
 Immigrated before 1986 0 3,990 34,600 76,370 45,710 160,670
 Immigrated 1986-1995 6,560 16,510 42,160 18,430 4,260 87,910
 Immigrated 1996-2001 11,630 7,940 30,340 5,900 970 56,770
Total
Canadian-born 577,700 378,370 836,630 631,420 300,080 2,724,200
Immigrants 37,390 55,940 217,160 201,630 109,790 621,890
 Immigrated before 1986 0 7,870 70,540 152,700 96,960 328,070
 Immigrated 1986-1995 13,840 31,670 86,700 37,100 10,360 179,650
 Immigrated 1996-2001 23,560 16,400 59,920 11,840 2,480 114,180
 
Canadian-born 21% 14% 31% 23% 11% 100%
Immigrants 6% 9% 35% 32% 18% 100%
 Immigrated before 1986 0% 2% 22% 47% 30% 100%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 8% 18% 48% 21% 6% 100%
 Immigrated 1996-2001 21% 14% 52% 10% 2% 100%
Total population 18% 13% 31% 25% 12% 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.

An appreciation of differences in age structure will be useful to the reader of this profile, as 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, Montreal Census Metropolitan Area, 2001 (percentage distribution)
Figure B-1

Similar proportions of women and men

The proportion of women in the recent immigrant population in Montreal is similar to but, at 50% to 51%, slightly lower than that of the Canadian-born population.

Table B-6: Immigrants by period of immigration and Canadian-born—percentage of women, by age, Montreal Census Metropolitan Area, 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% 53% 60% 52%
Immigrants 51% 49% 51% 50% 54% 51%
 Immigrated before 1986 49% 51% 50% 53% 51%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 53% 48% 51% 50% 59% 51%
 Immigrated 1996-2001 51% 52% 49% 50% 61% 50%

There are 4,500 more women than men among the 293,900 recent immigrants in Montreal. The number of women is particularly high among recent immigrants from China (2,300 more women than men out of 16,000 recent immigrants) and Haiti (3,000 more women than men out of 21,000 recent immigrants).

As women on average live longer than men, they make up a large share of persons aged 65 years of age and over. But the higher proportion of women among recent immigrants is not related to age. For instance, two-thirds of recent immigrants aged 25 to 64 from the Philippines are women and they outnumber men in this age group by 2,500. 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 Pakistan, Iran and the United Kingdom. Fifty-five percent or more of recent immigrants from these countries are men. Men outnumber women by 600 among recent immigrants from Pakistan, and by 500 in the case of Iran.

The gender balance, by country of origin, has not changed greatly since 1996.

Language and education

More than nine in ten very recent immigrants speak French or English

A large majority of Montreal’s 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, more than nine in ten (96% of men and 91% of women) reported being able to speak an official language in May 2001. Less than one in ten of very recent immigrants could not speak either official language. Knowledge of official languages was similar among those who immigrated in earlier periods—94% indicated that they were able to speak an official language.

The proportion of Montreal’s immigrants able to carry on a conversation in English or French decreases with age. Among younger immigrants who landed in Canada between 1996 and 2001, all are able to speak an official language. The shares are almost as high in the next age group. Among those aged 45 to 64, however, the percentage that can speak English or French is lower, and more so for women than men. For both men and women, seniors aged 65 and over are least likely to have conversational ability in English or French.

Table B-7: Very recent immigrants (immigrated 1996-2001)—15 years of age and over — knowledge of official languages, by age and gender, Montreal Census Metropolitan Area, 2001 (number and percentage distribution)
  French only English only English and French Neither English nor French Total
Women
15 to 24 years 2,240 1,880 4,010 330 8,460
25 to 44 years 8,200 8,320 11,530 1,550 29,590
45 to 64 years 1,560 1,720 1,460 1,210 5,950
65 years and over 330 250 130 810 1,510
15 and over 12,330 12,170 17,120 3,900 45,500
Men
15 to 24 years 1,600 1,980 4,180 180 7,940
25 to 44 years 5,940 9,000 14,600 800 30,340
45 to 64 years 1,220 1,980 2,250 440 5,890
65 years and over 170 290 160 360 970
15 and over 8,930 13,260 21,190 1,770 45,150
Total
15 to 24 years 3,850 3,860 8,180 510 16,390
25 to 44 years 14,140 17,320 26,130 2,340 59,920
45 to 64 years 2,780 3,700 3,710 1,650 11,840
65 years and over 490 540 290 1,170 2,480
15 and over 21,250 25,420 38,300 5,660 90,630
 
Women
15 to 24 years 26% 22% 47% 4% 100%
25 to 44 years 28% 28% 39% 5% 100%
45 to 64 years 26% 29% 25% 20% 100%
65 years and over 22% 17% 9% 54% 100%
15 and over 27% 27% 38% 9% 100%
Men
15 to 24 years 20% 25% 53% 2% 100%
25 to 44 years 20% 30% 48% 3% 100%
45 to 64 years 21% 34% 38% 7% 100%
65 years and over 18% 30% 16% 37% 100%
15 and over 20% 29% 47% 4% 100%
Total
15 to 24 years 23% 24% 50% 3% 100%
25 to 44 years 24% 29% 44% 4% 100%
45 to 64 years 23% 31% 31% 14% 100%
65 years and over 20% 22% 12% 47% 100%
15 and over 23% 28% 42% 6% 100%

A large number of Montreal’s immigrants reported being able to carry on a conversation in both English and French. Among the youngest immigrant group, bilingualism is more prevalent than knowledge of just one language. In the next age group of 25 to 44 years, knowledge of both languages is less common. Knowledge of both languages is even lower among persons 45 years of age and over.

Among very recent immigrants knowledge of English is more common among men, while among women the shares speaking French and English are the same.

Ability to converse in either or both official languages has improved with the very recent immigrant cohort: 3% more men and 4% 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.

Table B-8: Immigrants by period of immigration and Canadian-born, 15 years of age and over—knowledge of official languages, by gender, Montreal Census Metropolitan Area, 2001 (number and percentage distribution)
  French only English only French and English Neither French nor English Total
Women
Canadian-born 440,750 38,920 645,460 1,125,410
Immigrants 75,020 65,840 133,390 23,110 297,340
 Immigrated before 1986 39,390 36,930 78,530 12,530 167,390
 Immigrated 1986-1995 23,310 16,750 37,740 6,680 84,470
 Immigrated 1996-2001 12,330 12,170 17,120 3,890 45,490
Men
Canadian-born 305,850 31,300 683,670 1,021,090
Immigrants 54,810 58,830 163,090 10,430 287,160
 Immigrated before 1986 29,310 28,510 97,350 5,530 160,670
 Immigrated 1986-1995 16,580 17,070 44,570 3,140 81,350
 Immigrated 1996-2001 8,930 13,260 21,190 1,770 45,140
Total
Canadian-born 746,600 70,220 1,329,130 2,146,500
Immigrants 129,830 124,660 296,480 33,540 584,500
 Immigrated before 1986 68,700 65,440 175,880 18,060 328,060
 Immigrated 1986-1995 39,890 33,820 82,310 9,820 165,810
 Immigrated 1996-2001 21,250 25,420 38,300 5,660 90,630
 
Women
Canadian-born 39% 3% 57% 100%
Immigrants 25% 22% 45% 8% 100%
 Immigrated before 1986 24% 22% 47% 7% 100%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 28% 20% 45% 8% 100%
 Immigrated 1996-2001 27% 27% 38% 9% 100%
Men
Canadian-born 30% 3% 67% 100%
Immigrants 19% 20% 57% 4% 100%
 Immigrated before 1986 18% 18% 61% 3% 100%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 20% 21% 55% 4% 100%
 Immigrated 1996-2001 20% 29% 47% 4% 100%
Total
Canadian-born 35% 3% 62% 100%
Immigrants 22% 21% 51% 6% 100%
 Immigrated before 1986 21% 20% 54% 6% 100%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 24% 20% 50% 6% 100%
 Immigrated 1996-2001 23% 28% 42% 6% 100%

Very recent immigrants are considerably more likely to speak English and less likely to speak French than the Canadian-born population of Montreal. The shares speaking English or French are somewhat lower for earlier immigrants, and the share speaking both languages higher. This may indicate acquisition of language skills after landing.

More than one-half of very recent immigrants speak a foreign language at home

For the majority of Montreal’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 at home.

The use of foreign languages is also high among other immigrant cohorts. Five in ten of those who immigrated between 1986 and 1995, and two in five of those who immigrated prior to 1986 most often speak a foreign language at home.

The use of foreign languages in the home among very recent immigrants was not as high in 2001 as in 1996 when 61% of the latest arrivals reported use of a foreign language in the home.

Table B-9: Immigrants by period of immigration and Canadian-born—15 years of age and over—language most often used at home, by gender, Montreal Census Metropolitan Area, 2001 (number and percentage distribution)
  French only English only French and English Neither French nor English Total
Women
Canadian-born 926,320 171,680 14,600 12,750 1,125,410
Immigrants 82,310 68,390 5,790 140,870 297,350
 Immigrated before 1986 44,330 49,580 3,430 70,050 167,390
 Immigrated 1986-1995 24,200 13,140 1,810 45,340 84,470
 Immigrated 1996-2001 13,780 5,680 550 25,490 45,490
Men
Canadian-born 837,010 157,110 12,240 14,740 1,021,090
Immigrants 87,870 64,850 6,250 128,180 287,170
 Immigrated before 1986 48,280 46,820 3,890 61,690 160,670
 Immigrated 1986-1995 24,100 12,540 1,750 42,980 81,350
 Immigrated 1996-2001 15,520 5,490 620 23,530 45,140
Total
Canadian-born 1,763,320 328,790 26,830 27,490 2,146,500
Immigrants 170,180 133,220 12,040 269,050 584,510
 Immigrated before 1986 92,600 96,390 7,320 131,730 328,070
 Immigrated 1986-1995 48,290 25,670 3,540 88,320 165,820
 Immigrated 1996-2001 29,290 11,170 1,170 49,000 90,630
 
Women
Canadian-born 82% 15% 1% 1% 100%
Immigrants 28% 23% 2% 47% 100%
 Immigrated before 1986 26% 30% 2% 42% 100%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 29% 16% 2% 54% 100%
 Immigrated 1996-2001 30% 12% 1% 56% 100%
Men
Canadian-born 82% 15% 1% 1% 100%
Immigrants 31% 23% 2% 45% 100%
 Immigrated before 1986 30% 29% 2% 38% 100%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 30% 15% 2% 53% 100%
 Immigrated 1996-2001 34% 12% 1% 52% 100%
Total
Canadian-born 82% 15% 1% 1% 100%
Immigrants 29% 23% 2% 46% 100%
 Immigrated before 1986 28% 29% 2% 40% 100%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 29% 15% 2% 53% 100%
 Immigrated 1996-2001 32% 12% 1% 54% 100%

As for those immigrants who mostly speak one of Canada’s official languages at home, this language more often is French than English. About three in ten immigrants speak French at home, irrespective of the time at which they landed in Canada. English is much less common as the language spoken at home among recent immigrants than among those who landed many years ago.

Very high level of education among very recent immigrants

There are large differences in educational attainment between the Canadian-born and various groups of immigrants. The share of very recent immigrants with a minimal education is smaller than the share of the Canadian-born, but the opposite is true for immigrants who landed before 1986. The Canadian-born are more likely than immigrants to have some high school, a high school diploma, or a college or trade diploma. Very recent immigrants, however, boast a remarkable number of university graduates. This high proportion of university graduates is most likely a result of immigrant selection, with much emphasis on education in the economic category.

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. Three in five Canadian-born under 45 years of age have a post-secondary diploma or degree (60% of men and 63% of women), compared to 27% of men over 65 and 17% of women. A similar large shift in educational qualifications is observed among immigrants.

Table B-10: Immigrants by period of immigration and Canadian-born—15 years of age and over—highest level of education, by gender, Montreal Census Metropolitan Area, 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 139,780 177,250 299,040 328,900 180,450 1,125,410
Immigrants 68,860 42,130 60,790 70,560 55,010 297,340
 Immigrated before 1986 50,640 21,580 32,320 37,460 25,400 167,390
 Immigrated 1986-1995 13,680 14,380 19,390 21,730 15,300 84,470
 Immigrated 1996-2001 4,540 6,170 9,090 11,390 14,320 45,490
Men
Canadian-born 108,970 181,150 256,450 301,230 173,300 1,021,090
Immigrants 50,130 39,300 55,010 72,140 70,600 287,170
 Immigrated before 1986 37,880 19,640 27,650 41,270 34,250 160,670
 Immigrated 1986-1995 9,280 14,170 19,020 20,410 18,470 81,350
 Immigrated 1996-2001 2,960 5,500 8,340 10,480 17,880 45,140
Total
Canadian-born 248,770 358,390 555,490 630,120 353,750 2,146,500
Immigrants 118,980 81,440 115,800 142,690 125,610 584,500
 Immigrated before 1986 88,530 41,210 59,970 78,710 59,650 328,060
 Immigrated 1986-1995 22,960 28,550 38,400 42,130 33,770 165,810
 Immigrated 1996-2001 7,490 11,680 17,420 21,860 32,190 90,630
 
Women
Canadian-born 12% 16% 27% 29% 16% 100%
Immigrants 23% 14% 20% 24% 19% 100%
 Immigrated before 1986 30% 13% 19% 22% 15% 100%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 16% 17% 23% 26% 18% 100%
 Immigrated 1996-2001 10% 14% 20% 25% 31% 100%
Men
Canadian-born 11% 18% 25% 30% 17% 100%
Immigrants 17% 14% 19% 25% 25% 100%
 Immigrated before 1986 24% 12% 17% 26% 21% 100%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 11% 17% 23% 25% 23% 100%
 Immigrated 1996-2001 7% 12% 18% 23% 40% 100%
Total
Canadian-born 12% 17% 26% 29% 16% 100%
Immigrants 20% 14% 20% 24% 21% 100%
 Immigrated before 1986 27% 13% 18% 24% 18% 100%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 14% 17% 23% 25% 20% 100%
 Immigrated 1996-2001 8% 13% 19% 24% 36% 100%
Table B-11: 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, Montreal Census Metropolitan Area, 2001 (number and percentage)
  No high school diploma With post-secondary diploma or degree
  25 to 44 years 45 to 65 years 65 years and over 25 to 44 years 45 to 65 years 65 years and over
Women
Canadian-born 59,440 91,710 111,600 267,480 139,090 30,080
Immigrants 22,200 39,520 39,390 65,320 41,500 10,130
 Immigrated before 1986 7,040 30,740 33,890 21,330 30,610 8,950
 Immigrated 1986-1995 10,900 6,860 4,550 23,800 7,910 770
 Immigrated 1996-2001 4,290 1,940 950 20,190 2,980 410
Men
Canadian-born 73,910 79,850 65,380 245,640 140,110 31,560
Immigrants 19,650 30,230 28,650 66,940 53,150 15,510
 Immigrated before 1986 6,830 23,950 25,850 20,800 39,100 13,990
 Immigrated 1986-1995 9,370 5,150 2,350 23,750 10,120 1,120
 Immigrated 1996-2001 3,460 1,140 450 22,400 3,920 420
Total
Canadian-born 133,340 171,550 176,970 513,120 279,200 61,640
Immigrants 41,860 69,740 68,040 132,260 94,640 25,630
 Immigrated before 1986 13,880 54,670 59,740 42,110 69,730 22,930
 Immigrated 1986-1995 20,260 12,000 6,900 47,550 18,030 1,890
 Immigrated 1996-2001 7,740 3,070 1,410 42,590 6,890 830
 
Women
Canadian-born 14% 28% 62% 63% 42% 17%
Immigrants 20% 39% 67% 59% 41% 17%
 Immigrated before 1986 20% 40% 66% 59% 40% 17%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 24% 37% 75% 53% 42% 13%
 Immigrated 1996-2001 15% 33% 63% 68% 50% 27%
Men
Canadian-born 18% 27% 55% 60% 47% 27%
Immigrants 18% 30% 56% 62% 53% 30%
 Immigrated before 1986 20% 31% 57% 60% 51% 31%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 22% 28% 55% 56% 55% 26%
 Immigrated 1996-2001 11% 19% 46% 74% 66% 43%
Total
Canadian-born 16% 27% 59% 61% 44% 21%
Immigrants 19% 35% 62% 61% 47% 23%
 Immigrated before 1986 20% 36% 62% 60% 46% 24%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 23% 32% 67% 55% 49% 18%
 Immigrated 1996-2001 13% 26% 57% 71% 58% 33%

Three in four men aged 25-44 who immigrated during the 1996-2001 period have a post-secondary diploma or degree, compared to three-fifths Canadian-born men. The women’s share is over two-thirds, showing that the very recent immigrant cohort has surpassed the Canadian-born. This is also the case in other age groups, with respect to the share having a post-secondary diploma or degree. This very high education level of very recent immigrants is something new. In 1996, immigrants who had landed in the five years previous were not as well educated. It is a result of immigrant selection.

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

Approximately three out of every five men who immigrated after 1986 and have a post-secondary diploma or degree majored in physical sciences, engineering or trades. This compares to one-half of Canadian-born men. Among women with a post-secondary diploma or degree, one in five recent immigrants have studied some physical science or technology, compared to one in ten Canadian-born women.

Table B-12: Immigrants by period of immigration and Canadian-born—15 years of age and over, with a post-secondary diploma or degree—major field of study, by gender, Montreal Census Metropolitan Area, 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 59,910 230,840 148,180 68,230 507,160
Immigrants 24,910 49,760 32,220 17,950 124,840
 Immigrated before 1986 8,000 14,360 9,520 4,880 36,760
 Immigrated 1986-1995 9,430 26,450 16,550 10,160 62,580
 Immigrated 1996-2001 7,480 8,980 6,160 2,910 25,520
Men
Canadian-born 226,090 131,240 95,650 19,300 472,270
Immigrants 78,420 30,530 25,920 7,120 141,970
 Immigrated before 1986 21,710 7,930 7,060 1,920 38,620
 Immigrated 1986-1995 39,700 17,210 14,160 4,100 75,160
 Immigrated 1996-2001 17,010 5,400 4,690 1,110 28,200
Total
Canadian-born 286,000 362,080 243,830 87,530 979,440
Immigrants 103,320 80,290 58,140 25,070 266,810
 Immigrated before 1986 29,710 22,280 16,590 6,800 75,370
 Immigrated 1986-1995 49,160 43,620 30,720 14,250 137,750
 Immigrated 1996-2001 24,480 14,370 10,850 4,020 53,710
 
Women
Canadian-born 12% 46% 29% 13% 100%
Immigrants 20% 40% 26% 14% 100%
 Immigrated before 1986 22% 39% 26% 13% 100%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 15% 42% 26% 16% 100%
 Immigrated 1996-2001 29% 35% 24% 11% 100%
Men
Canadian-born 48% 28% 20% 4% 100%
Immigrants 55% 22% 18% 5% 100%
 Immigrated before 1986 56% 21% 18% 5% 100%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 53% 23% 19% 5% 100%
 Immigrated 1996-2001 60% 19% 17% 4% 100%
Total
Canadian-born 29% 37% 25% 9% 100%
Immigrants 39% 30% 22% 9% 100%
 Immigrated before 1986 39% 30% 22% 9% 100%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 36% 32% 22% 10% 100%
 Immigrated 1996-2001 46% 27% 20% 7% 100%

By contrast, recent immigrants are represented in smaller proportions than the Canadian-born in the social sciences, education and arts and commerce, management and business administration. Nearly one-half of Canadian-born women have diplomas or degrees in social science, education and arts, compared to one-third of very recent immigrant women. For men, the share of diplomas and degrees in the social fields of studies is three-tenths for the Canadian-born and one-fifth for recent immigrants.

The several immigrant cohorts and the Canadian-born are quite alike with respect to the proportions who specialized in health professions and related technologies. The educational choices of very recent immigrants remain much the same as in 1996.

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 25-44 and 45-64 age groups.

Table B-13: Immigrants by period of immigration and Canadian-born—15 to 64 years of age, attending school—by age and gender, Montreal Census Metropolitan Area, 2001 (number and percentage)
  15 to 24 years 25 to 44 years 45 to 64 years 15 to 24 years 25 to 44 years 45 to 64 years
Women
Canadian-born 131,650 57,690 14,580 70% 14% 4%
Immigrants 19,650 21,260 5,250 71% 19% 5%
 Immigrated before 1986 2,550 4,980 3,320 66% 14% 4%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 11,550 7,540 1,190 76% 17% 6%
 Immigrated 1996-2001 5,540 8,760 740 66% 30% 12%
Men
Canadian-born 123,720 45,300 8,970 65% 11% 3%
Immigrants 20,090 19,740 4,000 71% 18% 4%
 Immigrated before 1986 2,530 4,220 2,110 63% 12% 3%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 12,110 6,630 1,090 73% 16% 6%
 Immigrated 1996-2001 5,450 8,890 810 69% 29% 14%
Total
Canadian-born 255,370 103,000 23,540 67% 12% 4%
Immigrants 39,720 41,000 9,240 71% 19% 5%
 Immigrated before 1986 5,090 9,190 5,420 65% 13% 4%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 23,650 14,170 2,280 75% 16% 6%
 Immigrated 1996-2001 10,990 17,650 1,540 67% 29% 13%

School attendance, of course, is much higher in the youngest age group. Here we find a higher rate for very recent immigrant men than among the Canadian-born. However, this is not true in the case of women. Very recent immigrant women have lower school attendance rates than their Canadian-born counterparts.

By and large, school attendance rates for all groups were similar in 1996.

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