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

Highlights

Very recent immigrants—a snapshot

  • Very recent immigrants, those who landed on or after January 1, 1996 and were living in Victoria on May 15, 2001, are rather small in number. They number 4,800 or 8% of all immigrants in Victoria, a small share compared to the 18% share of very recent immigrants in Canada as a whole. While one in ten came from the United States, the largest source country, the majority came from Asian countries. One-third have university degrees, nearly twice as large a share as among the Canadian-born, and almost all report knowledge of English or French. However, employment and average income were lower among the very recent immigrant cohort in the 2001 Census than among their counterparts in the 1996 Census.

Immigrants and recent immigrants (Part A)

  • In 2001, there were 14,200 recent immigrants in Victoria or 0.6% of all recent immigrants living in Canada, accounting for 25% of immigrants in Victoria and 4.6% of the total population of the 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 the country on May 15, 2001, when Canada’s Census of Population was held. Very recent immigrants are immigrants who landed after 1995.
  • Three-quarters of immigrants who landed between 1986 and 1995 had become Canadian citizens by May 2001.

Who are the recent immigrants (Part B)

  • Recent immigrants to Victoria come from all over the world. Asian origins are more prevalent among immigrants who landed after 1995. The share of recent immigrants from the United States, the largest source country, is 10%. Taiwan is second, also with 10% of recent immigrants. Taiwan, the Philippines, Japan and Iran have become more important sources of immigrants to Victoria since 1995.
  • Statistics published by Citizenship and Immigration Canada show that one-half of recent immigrants destined to Victoria entered through the family class. The number of economic immigrants increased from one-third in the second half of the 1980s to nearly one-half in the late 1990s. The refugee share is very small.
  • Recent immigrants are changing the religious landscape of Victoria. Sixteen percent of recent immigrants are Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus or Sikhs.
  • Some 45% of very recent immigrants are 25 to 44 years of age. This age group accounts for 30% of Victoria’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 nearly five in ten very recent immigrants, the language most often spoken at home is a language other than English or French.
  • The level of education of very recent immigrants in Victoria is quite high compared to that of the Canadian-born, with one-third of women and somewhat more than one-third 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 they are twice as likely to live in an extended family. Two in ten recent immigrants of 65 years of age and over live alone, compared to one in three 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 member of the family is 45 years of age or older. There are far 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 6% of households in Victoria. One in three of these recent immigrant households have at least one member who immigrated after 1995.
  • Households of recent immigrants are much more likely than Canadian-born households to consist of extended families or more than one family. They also tend to be larger, with 35% consisting of four or more persons, compared to only 16% of Canadian-born households with four or more persons.

Participation in the economy (Part D)

  • The more recent their arrival, the lower the labour force participation rate and the higher the unemployment rate of immigrants. Earlier immigrants participate in the labour force 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 and gender groups and levels of education. The disparities between recent immigrants and the Canadian-born are smaller for men than for women.
  • There was less employment among recent and very recent immigrants in 2001 than in 1996. While employment had also become less common among the Canadian-born, there was a much greater decline among recent immigrants.
  • In comparison with the Canadian-born, recent immigrants are more likely to be employed in sales and services occupations and less likely to be employed in administrative occupations.
  • Recent immigrants are more likely than the Canadian-born to be employed in hospitality and other services sectors. Construction and transportation industries and the public sector account for smaller shares of the jobs of recent immigrants than of the Canadian-born.
  • The jobs of recent immigrants, especially of women, require somewhat less skill than the jobs of the Canadian-born.

Income (Part E)

  • On average among persons reporting income for the year 2000, the income of very recent immigrants is about three-fifths of that of the Canadian-born, while those who immigrated during the 1986-1995 period have nine-tenths the income of the Canadian-born.
  • Average income of very recent immigrants in the year 2000 was 11% lower than that of very recent immigrants in 1995. Victoria is unique among Canadian cities in this regard. The average income of immigrant men and women who had been in the country between 5 and 15 years was 20% higher than in 1995, a somewhat larger increase than for the Canadian-born.
  • Transfer payments from government to households in the 25-64 age group were marginally larger for recent immigrants than for the Canadian-born, both in absolute amount and as a share of household income.
  • 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 Victoria, 10% of recent immigrant households live in crowded conditions—that is, have one person or more per room—compared to 3% of Canadian-born households. Among households consisting only of very recent immigrants, the incidence of crowding is 24%.
  • Three in ten 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 among recent immigrants is comparable to that among the Canadian-born.
  • One in three households consisting only of very recent immigrants owns its home. Among other recent immigrant households, home ownership is as common as among Canadian-born households.
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