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


Very recent immigrants—a snapshot

  • Immigrants who landed in Canada after 1995 and were living in the Québec Census Metropolitan Area on May 15, 2001 are quite different in some respects from the groups that preceded them. One-quarter were born in France. Many have university degrees—a greater share than among other immigrant cohorts or those born in Canada. Almost all speak French or English. Thanks to these qualities and a strong labour market, they reported significantly more jobs and higher incomes in the 2001 Census than immigrants who landed in the first half of the 1990s reported in the 1996 Census.

Immigrants and recent immigrants (Part A)

  • In 2001, there were 11,200 recent immigrants in Québec, less than 0.5% of all recent immigrants living in Canada. These recent immigrants, who landed after 1985, accounted for 57% of immigrants in the Québec CMA and 1.7% of the population of the census 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 Canada on May 15, 2001 when the Census of Population was held. Very recent immigrants are immigrants who landed after 1995.
  • By May 2001, 83% of Québec’s immigrants who landed in Canada between 1986 and 1995 had become Canadian citizens.

Who are the recent immigrants (Part B)

  • Recent immigrants to Québec come from all over the world. While Asian origins are more prevalent among immigrants who landed after 1995, the share of very recent immigrants from France—the largest source country—is 23%. Bosnia and Herzegovina is the second highest source country, supplying 9% of very recent immigrants followed by China, Morocco and Colombia.
  • Statistics published by Citizenship and Immigration Canada show that almost 45% of very recent immigrants destined to Québec were economic immigrants, 20% entered through the family class, and 35% were refugees.
  • Seventy percent of immigrants who arrived before 1986 reported Roman Catholicism as their faith—among very recent immigrants the share has fallen to 43%. Twenty-two percent of very recent immigrants are Muslim and 20% report no religious affiliation.
  • One-half of recent immigrants are 25 to 44 years of age. This age group accounts for only 30% of Québec’s Canadian-born population.
  • Almost all persons who immigrated between 1996 and 2001 reported being able to conduct a conversation in English or French. For more than one in four recent immigrants, the language most often spoken at home is a language other than French or English.
  • The level of education of very recent immigrants in Québec is quite high compared to that of the Canadian-born, with 39% of women and 45% of men having a university degree.

Families and households (Part C)

  • Recent immigrants are more likely than the Canadian-born to live with relatives and the proportion living in extended families, while small, is twice as large. Twenty percent of recent immigrants 65 years of age and over live alone, compared to one-third of their Canadian-born counterparts.
  • Recent immigrant families are more likely than Canadian-born families to have children at home, in particular when the oldest family member is 45 years or older. There are fewer lone-parent families among recent immigrants than among Canadian-born families.
  • Households in which at least one adult is a recent immigrant account for 2% of households in Québec. Two out of five of these recent immigrant households have at least one member who immigrated after 1995.
  • Households of recent immigrants are more likely than Canadian-born households to consist of extended or multiple families. They also tend to be larger, with 33% having four or more persons in the household compared to only 18% of Canadian-born households.

Participation in the economy (Part D)

  • The more recent their landing, the lower the labour force participation rate and the higher the unemployment rate of immigrants. Earlier immigrants participate 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-gender groups and all levels of education. The disparities between recent immigrants and the Canadian-born are smaller for men than for women.
  • Labour force participation was generally higher in 2001 than in 1996 and there was less unemployment. The improvement was greatest for recent immigrants, particularly women.
  • Recent immigrants are more likely than the Canadian-born to work in health and science occupations, in management and social occupations and in the hospitality and other services sector. Many recent immigrants work in the public sector.

Income (Part E)

  • On average, among persons reporting income for the year 2000, the income of very recent immigrants was 71% of that of the Canadian-born. The average income of those who immigrated during the 1986-1995 period was about 86% of that of the Canadian-born.
  • In 2001, the average income of very recent immigrants, both men and women, was higher by two-fifths than the average income reported by the comparable cohort for the 1996 Census. Immigrants who had been in the country between 5 and 15 years also had substantially higher incomes than five years earlier. There was little change in the income of the Canadian-born and earlier immigrants.
  • Government transfer payments as a share of income of households in the 25 to 64 age group were higher for recent immigrant households than for Canadian-born households.
  • One in three very recent immigrants is in a low-income situation, twice as large a share as for the Canadian-born.

Housing (Part F)

  • In Québec, 9% 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 18%.
  • One in five recent immigrant households spend more than 30% of their income on shelter, the same share as for Canadian-born households.
  • The state of repair of the housing stock is almost as good for recent immigrants as for the Canadian-born.
  • Home ownership is much less common among recent immigrant households than among Canadian-born households.
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