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

Part E: Income

Sources and level of income

Sources of income vary by time in Canada

Seventy-three percent of Canadian-born women and 82% 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. 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, Toronto Census Metropolitan Area, 2000 (number and percentage)
  No income Employment income Other private income Government transfers Total
Women
Canadian-born 48,420 666,380 283,780 515,140 906,670
Immigrants 57,700 582,690 261,040 643,720 951,350
 Immigrated before 1986 18,690 286,240 175,260 336,580 500,150
 Immigrated 1986-1995 24,820 219,080 63,200 223,700 325,650
 Immigrated 1996-1999 14,190 77,380 22,580 83,450 125,550
Men
Canadian-born 39,120 706,850 234,420 398,050 865,720
Immigrants 24,690 639,050 230,460 511,460 863,910
 Immigrated before 1986 1,670 316,240 158,950 267,800 454,270
 Immigrated 1986-1995 15,400 233,080 50,400 172,070 294,940
 Immigrated 1996-1999 7,620 89,740 21,120 71,590 114,710
Total
Canadian-born 87,530 1,373,230 518,200 913,190 1,772,380
Immigrants 82,390 1,221,740 491,510 1,155,170 1,815,260
 Immigrated before 1986 20,360 602,470 334,210 604,380 954,410
 Immigrated 1986-1995 40,210 452,160 113,600 395,760 620,590
 Immigrated 1996-1999 21,820 167,120 43,710 155,040 240,260
 
Women
Canadian-born 5% 73% 31% 57% 100%
Immigrants 6% 61% 27% 68% 100%
 Immigrated before 1986 4% 57% 35% 67% 100%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 8% 67% 19% 69% 100%
 Immigrated 1996-1999 11% 62% 18% 66% 100%
Men
Canadian-born 5% 82% 27% 46% 100%
Immigrants 3% 74% 27% 59% 100%
 Immigrated before 1986 0% 70% 35% 59% 100%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 5% 79% 17% 58% 100%
 Immigrated 1996-1999 7% 78% 18% 62% 100%
Total
Canadian-born 5% 77% 29% 52% 100%
Immigrants 5% 67% 27% 64% 100%
 Immigrated before 1986 2% 63% 35% 63% 100%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 6% 73% 18% 64% 100%
 Immigrated 1996-1999 9% 70% 18% 65% 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 in 2000 than in 1995, except in the case of the earlier immigrant cohorts. It increased by four percentage points for the Canadian-born and by eleven percentage points for very recent immigrants.

Recent immigrants are more likely than the Canadian-born and earlier immigrants to have no income. However, the proportion of immigrants who do not have income decreases significantly according to the length of stay in Canada of the cohort, and ultimately falls below that of the Canadian-born for the earliest immigrant cohort. The incidence of no income among very recent immigrants decreased markedly from 1995 to 2000—a decline from 21% to 11% for women and from 9% to 7% for men.

Recent immigrants are much less likely to have other private income—for example, income from investments or pension plans—in comparison to the Canadian-born and earlier immigrants. These shares are much the same as in 1995.

The incidence of transfer payment income is significantly higher among immigrants than among the Canadian-born. 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. The incidence of transfer payment income has shifted markedly from men to women since 1995, as in 2000 child benefit payments were made to the mother of the child.

Average income higher for immigrants who have been in Canada longer

Considering only persons who reported income in the year 2000, the average income of immigrants was three-quarters of that of the Canadian-born. Those who immigrated before 1986 had 90% of the average income of the Canadian-born. For very recent immigrants, average income was a little more than one-half of that of the Canadian-born, and for those who immigrated during the 1986-1995 period, average income was 60% (men) or 66% (women) of that of the Canadian-born. The average income of women was about two-thirds of that of men.

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, Toronto 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 $31,550 80% 12% 8% 100%
Immigrants $24,360 74% 11% 15% 100%
 Immigrated before 1986 $28,400 70% 14% 16% 100%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 $20,800 81% 6% 13% 100%
 Immigrated 1996-1999 $16,490 80% 6% 14% 100%
Men
Canadian-born $51,090 86% 10% 4% 100%
Immigrants $38,550 83% 9% 8% 100%
 Immigrated before 1986 $46,030 79% 11% 9% 100%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 $30,560 90% 4% 6% 100%
 Immigrated 1996-1999 $27,790 90% 4% 6% 100%
Total
Canadian-born $41,130 84% 11% 5% 100%
Immigrants $31,230 80% 10% 11% 100%
 Immigrated before 1986 $36,940 76% 12% 12% 100%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 $25,500 86% 5% 9% 100%
 Immigrated 1996-1999 $22,030 86% 5% 9% 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.

Earnings from employment account for the bulk of income of all groups, and make up the same proportion of income of recent immigrants as 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, while transfer payments from government make up a larger share of their income.

The employment share of income has increased since 1995 for all cohorts, but more so for very recent immigrants (by 5% for women and 9% for men) than for the Canadian-born (by 2% for women and 3% for men).

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 Toronto average. The relative level of wages and salaries of very recent immigrants in Toronto, at 65% of the average, was higher than in 1995. Those who had been in the country from 5 to 15 years, however, had a lower relative earnings level than their counterparts of five years earlier.

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, Toronto Census Metropolitan Area, 2000
  Amount Percentage of overall average
Canadian-born $50,460 112%
Immigrants $39,670 88%
 Immigrated before 1986 $47,250 105%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 $32,680 72%
 Immigrated 1996-1999 $29,450 65%
All who worked mostly full-time $45,210 100%

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.

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

In the year 2000, a large majority of households in Toronto received government transfer payments. Recent immigrant households were more likely to receive transfer payments than other households and received larger amounts.

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 are as likely as Canadian-born households to receive transfer payments, and the amounts are somewhat greater. As for households of persons 25 to 64 years of age, recent immigrant households are considerably more likely to receive transfer payments and to receive larger amounts than earlier immigrants and the Canadian-born.

Transfer payments to households without seniors generally reflect benefits of Employment Insurance, Workers Compensation, social assistance, student assistance or other programs. Also included are tax credits such as the Canada Child Benefit, GST tax credits and provincial tax credits. The greater incidence and higher amounts of transfer payments for recent immigrant households of persons 25 to 64 years old in relation to earlier immigrants and the Canadian-born 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 years of age and over received transfer payments from government: Old Age Security, the Guaranteed Income Supplement, or Canada or Quebec Pension Plan benefits. Households of immigrants and Canadian-born persons 65 years and over received approximately the same amount, except for households consisting only of very recent immigrants, who received much less. Very recent 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, Toronto 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 88% 63% 66% 99% 71%
Earlier immigrant households 93% 70% 78% 100% 83%
Recent immigrant households 87% 84% 91% 100% 88%
 1986-1995 immigrants 87% 83% 89% 100% 87%
 1996-1999 immigrants with others 89% 84% 94% 100% 89%
 1996-1999 immigrants only 86% 86% 95% 99% 89%
Average amount of transfer per receiving household
Canadian-born households $2,080 $2,040 $2,670 $16,040 $4,880
Earlier immigrant households $3,340 $3,130 $3,810 $17,670 $8,080
Recent immigrant households $2,720 $3,960 $4,350 $16,000 $5,310
 1986-1995 immigrants $2,880 $3,910 $4,050 $16,330 $5,350
 1996-1999 immigrants with others $3,360 $4,580 $6,070 $16,180 $6,540
 1996-1999 immigrants only $1,940 $3,690 $4,240 $11,730 $4,150
Transfers as a share of income, all households
Canadian-born households 6% 2% 2% 28% 4%
Earlier immigrant households 10% 3% 3% 31% 8%
Recent immigrant households 11% 6% 6% 24% 8%
 1986-1995 immigrants 11% 6% 5% 26% 7%
 1996-1999 immigrants with others 9% 6% 7% 19% 8%
 1996-1999 immigrants only 10% 7% 8% 31% 8%

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, 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 is lower for persons who immigrated during the 1986-1995 period. The share of persons without income is even lower for earlier immigrants, who also report income below $10,000 in much smaller proportions than recent immigrants.

At the high end of the income scale, recent immigrants (and especially very recent immigrants) are underrepresented. The proportion with incomes over $50,000 is less than half as large among immigrants who landed during the 1986-1995 period as among the Canadian-born.

The income distribution of very recent immigrants was more favourable in 2000 than in 1995, relative to that of other groups.

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, Toronto 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 48,410 205,930 278,420 216,400 157,510 906,660
Immigrants 57,690 240,570 381,590 181,770 89,750 951,350
 Immigrated before 1986 18,700 93,680 208,180 114,160 65,440 500,150
 Immigrated 1986-1995 24,810 97,010 130,110 54,420 19,320 325,660
 Immigrated 1996-1999 14,190 49,880 43,310 13,190 4,990 125,550
Men
Canadian-born 39,120 150,510 192,090 202,030 281,990 865,720
Immigrants 24,690 137,260 282,220 216,170 203,590 863,910
 Immigrated before 1986 1,670 45,160 147,870 119,540 140,050 454,280
 Immigrated 1986-1995 15,400 63,080 95,160 73,720 47,580 294,940
 Immigrated 1996-1999 7,620 29,030 39,190 22,910 15,960 114,700
Total
Canadian-born 87,530 356,430 470,510 418,430 439,500 1,772,380
Immigrants 82,380 377,810 663,820 397,920 293,330 1,815,260
 Immigrated before 1986 20,370 138,830 356,060 233,680 205,490 954,410
 Immigrated 1986-1995 40,210 160,070 225,280 128,140 66,900 620,590
 Immigrated 1996-1999 21,810 78,910 82,490 36,100 20,950 240,260
  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 5% 23% 31% 24% 17% 100% $29,870
Immigrants 6% 25% 40% 19% 9% 100% $22,880
 Immigrated before  1986 4% 19% 42% 23% 13% 100% $27,340
 Immigrated 1986-1995 8% 30% 40% 17% 6% 100% $19,210
 Immigrated 1996-1999 11% 40% 34% 11% 4% 100% $14,630
Men
Canadian-born 5% 17% 22% 23% 33% 100% $48,780
Immigrants 3% 16% 33% 25% 24% 100% $37,450
 Immigrated before  1986 0% 10% 33% 26% 31% 100% $45,860
 Immigrated 1986-1995 5% 21% 32% 25% 16% 100% $28,960
 Immigrated 1996-1999 7% 25% 34% 20% 14% 100% $25,940
Total
Canadian-born 5% 20% 27% 24% 25% 100% $39,100
Immigrants 5% 21% 37% 22% 16% 100% $29,810
 Immigrated before  1986 2% 15% 37% 24% 22% 100% $36,150
 Immigrated 1986-1995 6% 26% 36% 21% 11% 100% $23,850
 Immigrated 1996-1999 9% 33% 34% 15% 9% 100% $20,030

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 becomes very similar

In 2000, recent immigrant households had average income of $64,200 or 77% of the income of households of the Canadian-born. Unlike the situation in Canada as a whole, incomes of recent immigrant households in Toronto are substantially lower than those of Canadian-born households. The income of households consisting only of very recent immigrants is particularly low, just 56% 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, Toronto 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 82,750 111,450 116,130 104,460 246,050 660,830 $83,200
13% 17% 18% 16% 37% 100%
Earlier immigrants 66,890 97,140 85,440 78,490 203,770 531,710 $80,600
13% 18% 16% 15% 38% 100%
Recent immigrants 57,040 78,990 76,910 60,710 101,530 375,180 $64,200
15% 21% 20% 16% 27% 100%
 1986-1995 immigrants 37,900 50,850 51,050 42,420 74,650 256,890 $66,200
15% 20% 20% 17% 29% 100%
 1996-1999 immigrants
 with others
4,100 9,230 12,370 9,400 18,080 53,140 $75,800
8% 17% 23% 18% 34% 100%
 1996-1999 immigrants
  only
15,050 18,920 13,500 8,900 8,800 65,150 $46,800
23% 29% 21% 14% 14% 100%
All households 232,450 301,810 288,240 250,190 562,070 1,634,760 $76,500
14% 18% 18% 15% 34% 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.

Nearly one-quarter of households consisting of only very recent immigrants have income of less than $20,000, in spite of their large size. In households that combine very recent immigrants with other persons, their relatively high income may be a result of their large size and the fact that the other members of the household have lived in Canada for more than five years and are more likely to be earners.

One-third of very 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 their length of stay in Canada of the cohort.

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, Toronto Census Metropolitan Area, 2000

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 nearly one-third, more than twice as large a share as among the Canadian-born. The proportion of very recent immigrants with income below the median is also much higher, with seven in ten in this situation.

The proportion of individuals with income below the median varies with age, and to a lesser extent with gender. For the Canadian-born and earlier immigrants, the highest proportion of incomes that are below the median is found among seniors. But this is not so for very recent immigrants, among whom incomes below the median are more common for younger age groups. Persons who immigrated during the 1986-1995 period occupy a middle ground.

In all age and gender groups except women and men 65 years 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, from 15 to 64 years.

More than three in ten immigrants who landed between 1996 and 1999 have low incomes or live in low-income families, with income below one-half of the median. This is more than twice as large a share as for the Canadian-born. For all age groups, the incidence of very low incomes is much higher among recent immigrants than among the Canadian-born. The difference is particularly pronounced for non-seniors.

Table E-7: Immigrants by period of immigration and Canadian-born—family or individual income below the median, by age and gender, Toronto 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 181,390 74,430 203,270 67,810 526,900
Immigrants 33,200 53,250 351,980 107,960 546,340
 Immigrated before 1986 - 4,210 145,950 88,500 238,620
 Immigrated 1986-1995 13,490 31,540 140,370 15,650 201,020
 Immigrated 1996-1999 19,710 17,510 65,670 3,820 106,700
Men
Canadian-born 189,040 72,400 176,140 43,930 481,510
Immigrants 36,150 53,520 291,040 87,340 468,050
 Immigrated before 1986 - 4,070 117,670 72,580 194,330
 Immigrated 1986-1995 14,130 32,510 115,340 11,850 173,830
 Immigrated 1996-1999 22,030 16,940 58,030 2,910 99,900
Total
Canadian-born 370,430 146,830 379,400 111,740 1,008,410
Immigrants 69,350 106,770 643,020 195,300 1,014,390
 Immigrated before 1986 - 8,280 263,620 161,080 432,950
 Immigrated 1986-1995 27,620 64,050 255,700 27,490 374,850
 Immigrated 1996-1999 41,740 34,450 123,700 6,730 206,600
 
Women
Canadian-born 48% 38% 34% 62% 41%
Immigrants 71% 61% 51% 64% 55%
 Immigrated before 1986 - 48% 41% 66% 48%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 64% 59% 58% 56% 58%
 Immigrated 1996-1999 76% 72% 70% 56% 70%
Men
Canadian-born 47% 35% 30% 56% 38%
Immigrants 72% 59% 46% 62% 51%
Immigrated before 1986 - 44% 36% 64% 43%
Immigrated 1986-1995 66% 57% 53% 57% 55%
Immigrated 1996-1999 77% 72% 67% 60% 70%
Total
Canadian-born 47% 37% 32% 59% 40%
Immigrants 71% 60% 48% 63% 53%
 Immigrated before 1986 - 46% 38% 65% 45%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 65% 58% 56% 56% 57%
 Immigrated 1996-1999 76% 72% 69% 58% 70%

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.

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, Toronto 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 63,690 27,180 65,210 21,580 177,670
Immigrants 14,800 23,830 137,630 48,580 224,830
 Immigrated before 1986 - 1,740 51,390 39,190 92,290
 Immigrated 1986-1995 5,680 13,470 56,110 7,620 82,890
 Immigrated 1996-1999 9,120 8,630 30,130 1,770 49,650
Men
Canadian-born 66,700 25,030 50,190 14,410 156,320
Immigrants 16,550 23,630 100,620 39,740 180,560
 Immigrated before 1986 - 1,650 35,800 32,580 70,020
 Immigrated 1986-1995 5,880 13,680 39,580 5,910 65,060
 Immigrated 1996-1999 10,670 8,310 25,250 1,260 45,490
Total
Canadian-born 130,380 52,210 115,400 35,990 333,990
Immigrants 31,340 47,460 238,250 88,320 405,390
 Immigrated before 1986 - 3,380 87,180 71,770 162,310
 Immigrated 1986-1995 11,560 27,140 95,690 13,530 147,940
 Immigrated 1996-1999 19,790 16,940 55,380 3,030 95,140
 
Women
Canadian-born 17% 14% 11% 20% 14%
Immigrants 31% 28% 20% 29% 23%
 Immigrated before 1986 - 20% 14% 29% 18%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 27% 25% 23% 27% 24%
 Immigrated 1996-1999 35% 36% 32% 26% 33%
Men
Canadian-born 17% 12% 9% 18% 12%
Immigrants 33% 26% 16% 28% 20%
 Immigrated before 1986 - 18% 11% 29% 15%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 27% 24% 18% 28% 21%
 Immigrated 1996-1999 37% 35% 29% 26% 32%
Total
Canadian-born 17% 13% 10% 19% 13%
Immigrants 32% 27% 18% 29% 21%
 Immigrated before 1986 - 19% 13% 29% 17%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 27% 24% 21% 28% 22%
 Immigrated 1996-1999 36% 35% 31% 26% 32%

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.

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