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

Part E: Income

Sources and level of income

Sources of income vary by time in Canada

Sixty four percent of Canadian-born women and 75% of Canadian-born men had earnings from employment in the year 2000. A larger share of the Canadian-born than of immigrants had income from employment. For immigrants who landed before 1986 the proportion with earnings is low because they tend to be older and many are in retirement. The relatively low share of recent immigrants with employment income reflects lower participation in the workforce.

Table E-1: Immigrants by period of immigration and Canadian-born—15 years of age and over—sources of income, by gender, Montreal Census Metropolitan Area, 2000 (number and percentage)
  No income Employment income Other private income Government transfers Total
Women
Canadian-born 64,720 719,400 360,540 760,910 1,125,410
Immigrants 19,070 147,230 80,830 211,170 283,690
 Immigrated before 1986 7,230 80,760 60,310 126,630 167,390
 Immigrated 1986-1995 8,030 49,580 14,880 61,670 84,470
 Immigrated 1996-1999 3,820 16,900 5,650 22,870 31,830
Men
Canadian-born 40,530 766,770 289,900 601,060 1,021,090
Immigrants 7,570 182,800 78,350 196,670 273,160
 Immigrated before 1986 710 100,860 61,050 116,030 160,680
 Immigrated 1986-1995 5,010 59,630 12,000 57,820 81,350
 Immigrated 1996-1999 1,860 22,310 5,300 22,830 31,130
Total
Canadian-born 105,250 1,486,170 650,430 1,361,960 2,146,500
Immigrants 26,660 330,030 159,190 407,830 556,840
 Immigrated before 1986 7,950 181,610 121,360 242,660 328,070
 Immigrated 1986-1995 13,040 109,210 26,880 119,480 165,810
 Immigrated 1996-1999 5,680 39,210 10,950 45,700 62,960
 
Women
Canadian-born 6% 64% 32% 68% 100%
Immigrants 7% 52% 28% 74% 100%
 Immigrated before 1986 4% 48% 36% 76% 100%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 10% 59% 18% 73% 100%
 Immigrated 1996-1999 12% 53% 18% 72% 100%
Men
Canadian-born 4% 75% 28% 59% 100%
Immigrants 3% 67% 29% 72% 100%
 Immigrated before 1986 0% 63% 38% 72% 100%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 6% 73% 15% 71% 100%
 Immigrated 1996-1999 6% 72% 17% 73% 100%
Total
Canadian-born 5% 69% 30% 63% 100%
Immigrants 5% 59% 29% 73% 100%
 Immigrated before 1986 2% 55% 37% 74% 100%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 8% 66% 16% 72% 100%
 Immigrated 1996-1999 9% 62% 17% 73% 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 than in 1995, except for earlier immigrants. It increased by four percentage points on average for the Canadian-born, and by about 10 percentage points for recent immigrants.

Very recent immigrants are much more likely than the Canadian-born and earlier immigrants to have no income. However, the proportion of immigrant men and women who do not have income decreases significantly with length of stay in Canada, and ultimately falls below that of the Canadian-born. As well, the incidence of zero income among very recent immigrants declined markedly from 1995 to 2000, by eight percentage points for women, and by about three percentage points for men.

Recent immigrants are much less likely to have other private income—income from investments, pension plans, etc.—in comparison to the Canadian-born and earlier immigrants. This probably reflects the relatively young age of very recent immigrants, and lower savings related to the cost of and income loss associated with moving to a different country. These shares are much the same as in 1995.

The incidence of transfer payment income is higher among immigrants than among the Canadian-born, and more so for men than for women. The high proportion of earlier immigrants receiving transfer payments from government reflects the high share of seniors in this group, who generally receive Old Age Security and Canada or Quebec Pension Plan benefits. For very recent immigrants, lack of steady employment may be a contributing factor.

The incidence of transfer payment income has shifted markedly since 1995. It declined sharply for men, by 14 percentage points, and increased for women by 10 percentage points. This is a result of administrative changes.

Average income higher for immigrants who have been in Canada longer

The average income of immigrants who reported income in the year 2000 varied by period of immigration, but was smaller than that of the Canadian-born. Those who immigrated before 1986 had income close to that of the Canadian-born. For very recent immigrants, average income was three-fifths of that of the Canadian-born. And those who immigrated during the 1986-1995 period reached an average income of about two-thirds of the level of the Canadian-born.

Compared to 1995, the average income of very recent immigrants increased more than that of other groups. For these immigrants, the gain was more than 40% for men and about 30% for women. For other groups, the change was in the order of 20%.

The average income of women is about two-thirds of that of men. Among the reasons for the difference in income between men and women are lower labour force participation and higher incidence of part-time work and of jobs requiring a lower level of skill among women than among men, as shown in Part D.

Earnings from employment account for the bulk of income of all groups, and make up a somewhat smaller proportion of income of recent immigrants than of persons born in Canada for women, and a higher proportion for men. The share of other private income is much lower for recent immigrants than for the Canadian-born, while government transfer payments make up a larger share of their income. The share of transfer payments is higher mostly because the total income of recent immigrants is relatively low.

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, Montreal 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 $24,020 73% 11% 15% 100%
Immigrants $19,950 63% 13% 24% 100%
 Immigrated before 1986 $22,500 60% 15% 25% 100%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 $16,700 71% 6% 23% 100%
 Immigrated 1996-1999 $14,250 70% 7% 23% 100%
Men
Canadian-born $37,280 81% 11% 8% 100%
Immigrants $31,330 75% 12% 13% 100%
 Immigrated before 1986 $36,510 71% 14% 14% 100%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 $23,980 84% 5% 11% 100%
 Immigrated 1996-1999 $22,170 84% 5% 11% 100%
Total
Canadian-born $30,390 78% 11% 11% 100%
Immigrants $25,650 71% 12% 17% 100%
 Immigrated before 1986 $29,500 67% 15% 18% 100%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 $20,340 79% 5% 16% 100%
 Immigrated 1996-1999 $18,300 79% 6% 16% 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.

Compared to 1995, the share of employment income and other income changed very little for the Canadian-born and earlier immigrants. But recent immigrants, and especially very recent immigrants, derived a much larger share of income from employment. The increase ranged from four percentage points for women who immigrated between six and fifteen years before the census to 11% for very recent immigrant men. The share of government transfer payments declined accordingly.

Earnings of recent immigrants working mostly full-time lower than average

The wages and salaries earned by recent immigrants who worked mostly full-time in 2000 are well below the Montreal average. As was shown in the previous section, recent immigrants generally have jobs that require lower skills than the jobs of the Canadian-born, and would therefore generally receive lower rates of pay. As well, annual earnings depend on whether a person was employed throughout the year or not. It is likely that recent immigrants more often do not have steady, year-round jobs than the Canadian-born. Earlier immigrants had average wages and salaries slightly higher than 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, by gender, Montreal Census Metropolitan Area, 2000
  Amount Percentage of overall average
Canadian-born $37,880 102%
Immigrants $33,000 89%
 Immigrated before 1986 $38,670 105%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 $26,190 71%
 Immigrated 1996-1999 $24,460 66%
All who worked mostly full-time $36,989 100%

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, at 66% of the Canadian average, was higher than in 1995 by 12 percentage points, while other groups experienced a very little change. The average wages of very recent immigrants were rather close to the wages of those who landed during the 1986-1995 period.

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

In the year 2000, a large majority of households received government transfer payments. Recent immigrant households were more likely to receive transfer payments than other households. On average, the payments received were higher, 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 higher amounts than their Canadian-born and earlier immigrant counterparts. As for households of persons aged 25 to 44 and 45 to 64, recent immigrant households were more likely to receive transfer payments, and the amounts were significantly larger.

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 and GST tax credits and provincial tax credits. The greater incidence and higher 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 65 and over received transfer payments from government—Old Age Security and the Guaranteed Income Supplement, and Canada or Quebec Pension Plan Benefits. Recent immigrant households of seniors on average received about the same amount, but households consisting only of very recent immigrants received much less. These immigrants are not entitled to Old Age Security and have not built up large credits under the Canada or Quebec Pension Plan.

Table E-4: Immigrant households (by period of immigration) and Canadian-born households—percentage of households receiving transfers, average amount of government transfer payments, and transfers as a share of income, by age of older parent in family or oldest person in non-family household, Montreal 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 89% 81% 79% 100% 84%
Earlier immigrant households 90% 83% 85% 100% 90%
Recent immigrant households 87% 91% 93% 100% 92%
 1986-1995 immigrants 86% 91% 93% 100% 92%
 1996-1999 immigrants with others 93% 90% 92% 100% 92%
 1996-1999 immigrants only 86% 92% 96% 97% 93%
Average amount of transfer per receiving household
Canadian-born households $2,370 $3,320 $3,800 $16,330 $6,070
Earlier immigrant households $2,960 $4,430 $4,790 $17,640 $9,210
Recent immigrant households $2,790 $5,580 $5,950 $16,530 $6,360
 1986-1995 immigrants $2,660 $5,830 $5,750 $16,810 $6,570
 1996-1999 immigrants with others $3,590 $5,630 $7,000 $18,130 $6,760
 1996-1999 immigrants only $2,700 $4,840 $6,300 $11,820 $5,300
Transfers as a share of income, all households
Canadian-born households 9% 5% 5% 43% 9%
Earlier immigrant households 11% 6% 6% 38% 14%
Recent immigrant households 14% 12% 11% 36% 14%
 1986-1995 immigrants 13% 12% 11% 37% 13%
 1996-1999 immigrants with others 13% 11% 11% 29% 12%
 1996-1999 immigrants only 17% 14% 15% 43% 15%

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 distribution of income

Personal income approaches parity and similar distribution with longer stay

Of very recent immigrants, more than one-half of women and one-third of men reported no income or income of less than $10,000 in the year 2000. The share reporting no income or income of less than $10,000 is much higher for recent immigrants than for the Canadian-born.

At the high end of the income scale, recent immigrants are underrepresented. The share of recent immigrants with incomes of $50,000 and over is one-third of that of the Canadian-born for women, and less than one-half for men.

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, Montreal 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 64,720 274,410 462,030 224,110 100,140 1,125,410
Immigrants 19,080 82,390 129,120 36,140 16,980 283,690
 Immigrated before 1986 7,230 39,430 81,680 25,820 13,240 167,390
 Immigrated 1986-1995 8,040 29,480 36,000 8,060 2,910 84,470
 Immigrated 1996-1999 3,820 13,490 11,440 2,260 830 31,830
Men
Canadian-born 40,530 175,470 309,670 259,470 235,960 1,021,090
Immigrants 7,590 54,110 113,900 53,650 43,930 273,160
 Immigrated before 1986 720 22,500 68,140 35,890 33,430 160,680
 Immigrated 1986-1995 5,010 21,970 33,280 13,390 7,720 81,350
 Immigrated 1996-1999 1,860 9,650 12,490 4,380 2,780 31,130
Total
Canadian-born 105,250 449,870 771,700 483,580 336,110 2,146,500
Immigrants 26,670 136,480 243,000 89,800 60,910 556,850
 Immigrated before 1986 7,950 61,930 149,810 61,720 46,680 328,080
 Immigrated 1986-1995 13,040 51,430 69,270 21,440 10,630 165,820
 Immigrated 1996-1999 5,680 23,130 23,920 6,640 3,610 62,960
  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 6% 24% 41% 20% 9% 100% $22,640
Immigrants 7% 29% 46% 13% 6% 100% $18,610
 Immigrated before 1986 4% 24% 49% 15% 8% 100% $21,530
 Immigrated 1986-1995 10% 35% 43% 10% 3% 100% $15,120
 Immigrated 1996-1999 12% 42% 36% 7% 3% 100% $12,540
Men
Canadian-born 4% 17% 30% 25% 23% 100% $35,800
Immigrants 3% 20% 42% 20% 16% 100% $30,460
 Immigrated before 1986 0% 14% 42% 22% 21% 100% $36,350
 Immigrated 1986-1995 6% 27% 41% 16% 9% 100% $22,500
 Immigrated 1996-1999 6% 31% 40% 14% 9% 100% $20,850
Total
Canadian-born 5% 21% 36% 23% 16% 100% $28,900
Immigrants 5% 25% 44% 16% 11% 100% $24,420
 Immigrated before 1986 2% 19% 46% 19% 14% 100% $28,790
 Immigrated 1986-1995 8% 31% 42% 13% 6% 100% $18,740
 Immigrated 1996-1999 9% 37% 38% 11% 6% 100% $16,650

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.

Distribution of household income very similar

In 2000, recent immigrant households had average income of $44,800, 82% of the income of Canadian-born households. By contrast, in Canada as a whole recent immigrant households and Canadian-born households have the same average income. In Montreal, the income of households consisting only of very recent immigrants is only 60% 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, Montreal 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 227,580 260,170 212,450 150,050 212,990 1,063,230 $54,360
21% 24% 20% 14% 20% 100%
Earlier immigrants 40,150 49,880 37,820 27,010 47,990 202,870 $59,690
20% 25% 19% 13% 24% 100%
Recent immigrants 32,080 35,670 23,930 13,170 15,640 120,480 $44,780
30% 29% 19% 10% 12% 100%
 1986-1995 immigrants 20,420 24,020 16,870 9,670 11,800 82,770 $46,880
25% 29% 20% 12% 14% 100%
 1996-1999 immigrants with others 2,580 4,920 3,750 2,020 2,460 15,710 $51,420
20% 31% 22% 12% 14% 100%
 1996-1999 immigrants only 9,090 6,740 3,310 1,490 1,390 22,000 $32,150
52% 26% 12% 5% 5% 100%
All households 317,450 352,180 277,240 191,810 278,700 1,417,360 $53,730
22% 25% 20% 14% 20% 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.

Twenty-seven percent of recent immigrant households have incomes of less than $20,000 compared to two in ten Canadian-born households, even though recent immigrant households tend to be larger and may have more potential income earners. As indicated in Table C-7, households of very recent immigrants with others are more likely than Canadian-born to consist of expanded and multiple families.

More than one in three recent immigrants have low income

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 length of stay in Canada.

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, Montreal 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 more than 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 seven out of ten finding themselves 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 find themselves below the median income (Figure E-1).

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 incidence of incomes that are below the median is found among seniors. But this is not so for very recent immigrants, where incomes below the median are more common among non-seniors. This is also the case for persons who immigrated during the 1986-1995 period, but the differences are not as pronounced for these immigrants.

Table E-7: Immigrants by period of immigration and Canadian-born — family or individual income below the median, by age and gender, Montreal 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 135,620 88,250 301,000 119,770 644,620
Immigrants 9,780 17,130 112,260 37,660 176,820
 Immigrated before 1986 2,260 52,600 33,380 88,230
 Immigrated 1986-1995 4,350 10,300 41,420 3,560 59,620
 Immigrated 1996-1999 5,430 4,570 18,240 730 28,970
Men
Canadian-born 141,590 79,420 247,480 75,030 543,520
Immigrants 10,080 17,450 98,590 30,990 157,110
 Immigrated before 1986 2,140 44,840 28,110 75,080
 Immigrated 1986-1995 4,510 11,010 37,070 2,370 54,950
 Immigrated 1996-1999 5,580 4,310 16,690 520 27,090
Total
Canadian-born 277,200 167,660 548,480 194,800 1,188,130
Immigrants 19,860 34,570 210,850 68,640 333,930
 Immigrated before 1986 4,400 97,440 61,480 163,310
 Immigrated 1986-1995 8,860 21,300 78,490 5,920 114,570
 Immigrated 1996-1999 11,010 8,880 34,930 1,240 56,060
 
Women
Canadian-born 48% 47% 40% 67% 46%
Immigrants 64% 69% 56% 65% 59%
 Immigrated before 1986 58% 47% 65% 53%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 60% 68% 66% 58% 65%
 Immigrated 1996-1999 68% 79% 73% 64% 73%
Men
Canadian-born 48% 42% 35% 64% 41%
Immigrants 72% 66% 50% 61% 55%
 Immigrated before 1986 54% 40% 62% 47%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 69% 67% 61% 56% 63%
 Immigrated 1996-1999 74% 74% 68% 68% 70%
Total
Canadian-born 48% 44% 37% 66% 44%
Immigrants 68% 68% 53% 63% 57%
 Immigrated before 1986 56% 44% 64% 50%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 64% 67% 63% 57% 64%
 Immigrated 1996-1999 71% 76% 71% 66% 72%

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.

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

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, Montreal 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 49,850 36,240 109,790 23,050 218,930
Immigrants 4,370 8,630 48,840 10,050 71,890
 Immigrated before 1986 1,120 20,560 8,640 30,340
 Immigrated 1986-1995 1,620 4,920 18,710 1,110 26,340
 Immigrated 1996-1999 2,750 2,590 9,570 300 15,210
Men
Canadian-born 52,420 29,230 83,030 21,870 186,550
Immigrants 4,890 8,600 39,070 11,310 63,880
 Immigrated before 1986 950 15,500 10,160 26,620
 Immigrated 1986-1995 1,830 5,350 15,070 920 23,160
 Immigrated 1996-1999 3,060 2,300 8,510 230 14,110
Total
Canadian-born 102,270 65,470 192,820 44,920 405,480
Immigrants 9,250 17,230 87,910 21,360 135,760
 Immigrated before 1986 2,070 36,060 18,800 56,960
 Immigrated 1986-1995 3,440 10,270 33,780 2,030 49,500
 Immigrated 1996-1999 5,810 4,890 18,080 530 29,310
 
Women
Canadian-born 18% 19% 15% 13% 16%
Immigrants 29% 35% 24% 17% 24%
 Immigrated before 1986 29% 18% 17% 18%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 22% 32% 30% 18% 29%
 Immigrated 1996-1999 34% 45% 39% 27% 38%
Men
Canadian-born 18% 15% 12% 19% 14%
Immigrants 35% 33% 20% 22% 22%
 Immigrated before 1986 24% 14% 22% 17%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 28% 32% 25% 22% 26%
 Immigrated 1996-1999 41% 40% 35% 30% 37%
Total
Canadian-born 18% 17% 13% 15% 15%
Immigrants 32% 34% 22% 20% 23%
 Immigrated before 1986 26% 16% 19% 17%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 25% 32% 27% 20% 28%
 Immigrated 1996-1999 37% 42% 37% 28% 37%

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.

More than one in three immigrants who landed between 1996 and 1999 have low incomes or live in low-income families, a proportion that is more than twice as large as that for the Canadian-born.

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