ARCHIVED – Socioeconomic Profiles of Immigrants in the Four Atlantic Provinces — Phase II: Focus on Vibrant Communities

Comparative summary and concluding remarks

Table 16 provides a comparative summary of the findings of this study. The following points are worth noting:

  1. Immigrant inflows in smaller centres in Atlantic Canada (outside of Halifax) are as diverse as in larger centres. Immigrants in smaller areas also come from countries where English is not the official language.
  2. Immigrants are generally young at the time of their arrival, and young immigrants also go to smaller centres in Atlantic Canada.
  3. Economic class dominates among all immigrant categories of admission, but refugees also constitute a large percentage in annual inflows outside of Halifax, where immigrant inflows are smaller.
  4. Despite a large percentage of arrivals outside of Halifax in refugee class, whose immigration is based solely on humanitarian grounds, educational attainment is higher among recent immigrants at the time of their arrival than that of the resident population. Immigrants arriving during 2001-2006 had higher educational attainments than those who arrived during the previous five-year period. Those with higher education may also settle in smaller areas.
  5. In Halifax, the labour force participation rate among recent immigrants is lower than that of the total population, but outside of Halifax, it is comparable to or higher than that of the total population.  The unemployment rate is higher among immigrants than among the total population in Halifax but more comparable to or lower than the total population outside of Halifax. This finding suggests that immigration in smaller centres is more job-oriented.  Compared to 2001, the unemployment rate in 2006 was generally lower among recent arrivals.
  6. Sales and service occupations are the most represented among all groups and in all places. Professional immigrants (managers and scientists) are also found to settle in smaller centres. Health care, social services and educational occupations also are more represented among immigrants than among the total population in all places. Outside of Halifax, immigrants also find work in agriculture and resource-based industries, as well as in government services.
  7. Average employment earnings are higher among overall immigrants when compared with resident population.  In case of recent immigrants, the average employment earnings are higher than resident population in some places, but lower in others.

It may be concluded on the basis of these findings that in the post-2000 years, immigration in smaller areas of Atlantic Canada (i.e., outside of Halifax) is more job-oriented, as the share of economic immigrants among total immigrants, and of skilled immigrants in those destined to labour force, is the highest among all other categories of arrivals. The percentage of younger immigrants (in the age group 25-54) is also higher than among those who arrived in years prior to 2000. Higher percentage of refugees who arrived in the region is probably due to the humanitarian efforts of community and religious organizations to bring refugees from politically and economically depressed regions of the world. Hence, factors that determine a refugee’s choice of a destination area are different from those which determine this choice by an immigrant who arrives in a non-refugee class.

Since 1990s, Chinese immigrants have formed the highest percentage of annual immigrant inflows in Atlantic Canada. These immigrants, as well as immigrants from some other non-English speaking countries declare not only Halifax but other smaller cities also as their intended destinations at the time of arrival. Chinese and other non-English speaking communities are either non-existent or are much smaller in Atlantic Canadian cities than in major cities of Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver and it is expected that many who come to Atlantic Canada may move to those cities. However, at the time of 2006 census there were 540 recent Chinese immigrants (those who arrived during 2001-2006) resident in Halifax, about 80 percent of all recent Chinese immigrants who had arrived in that city. One may thus conclude that the presence of the same ethnic or immigrant community is not always a major factor in the destination choice of new immigrants.

The findings that skilled, as well as younger immigrants, also settle in smaller areas suggest that immigration can be used as an effective tool to avert population aging and also to meet skill shortages in those areas.

Florenceville’s case suggests the importance of private sector involvement in a community’s attempt to attract immigrants to meet labour force shortages. It is also relatively easy for employers in smaller communities to help in the settlement of newcomers since all employees live close to each other. McCain Food’s active involvement in helping newcomers settle in Florenceville is a case in point.

The economic integration of immigrants who arrived during 2001-2006 appears to be happening faster than it did for those arriving during 1996-2001 in Halifax, Charlottetown, and Colchester. This is reflected in the narrower income gap between post-2000 immigrants and non-immigrants, and also in their lower unemployment rates than among those who arrived during 1996-2001.  Future research should investigate the role of community organizations, governments and immigrant settlement agencies in achieving this result. The impact of Provincial Nominee Program should also be assessed. It will also be interesting to compare the results of this study with other regions of Canada, such as the Prairie provinces, where immigration is also used to meet similar economic and demographic challenges as in Atlantic Canada.

Table 16: A comparative summary of socioeconomic and demographic profiles of immigrants living in vibrant communities of Atlantic Canada

Top five sources (2001-2006 entry cohort)

  • Halifax: China, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, UAE, UK
  • Saint John's: Colombia, Sudan, USA, UK
  • Charlottetown: China, Korea, Taiwan, Afghanistan, UK
  • Colchester: China, US, Europe
  • Carleton: US, Europe, Asia, Middle East
  • Florenceville: India, US, Caribbean, Bermuda

Age distribution (2001-2006 entry cohort)

  • Halifax: Younger than total population, greater percentage of 45-64 during 2001-06
  • Saint John's: Same as above
  • Charlottetown: Same as above
  • Colchester: Same as above
  • Carleton: Same as above, but greater percentage of 25-44 than in other places
  • Florenceville: Youngest immigrants and total residents.

Immigrant category (2001-2006 entry cohort)

  • Halifax: Economic class dominates, followed by family class.
  • Saint John's: Economic and refugee classes dominate equally.
  • Charlottetown: Economic class dominates followed, by refugees.
  • Colchester: NA
  • Carleton: NA
  • Florenceville: NA

Educational Attainment (2001-2006 entry cohort)

  • Halifax: More arrive with degree than with lower education and greater percentage of degree holders than in total population.
  • Saint John's: Same as above, but higher percentage arrive with lower education than in Halifax.
  • Charlottetown: Same as for Saint John’s.
  • Colchester: Same as above, percentage with lower education is less than half of total population.
  • Carleton: Same as above, percentage differences are much higher than in other places.
  • Florenceville: NA

Labor Force Participation Rate

  • Halifax: In 2006: total population 69%, all immigrants 67%, recent immigrants 68%. All higher than in 2001.
  • Saint John's: In 2006: total population 65.1%, all immigrants 64.9%, recent immigrants 64.8%. All higher than in 2001.
  • Charlottetown: In 2006: total population and recent immigrants 62%, all immigrants 49%. Lower for all immigrants, higher for recent immigrants than in 2001.
  • Colchester: In 2006: Total population and recent immigrants: 62%. All immigrants 48 percent. Higher rate for recent immigrants and lower for all immigrants in 2006 than in 2001.
  • Carleton: In 2006: Total population 65% (unchanged since 2001), all immigrants 60 % (59% in 2001), recent immigrants 80 percent (90 % in 2001).
  • Florenceville: Total population 70.7%, total immigrants 72.7%. No data for recent immigrants.

Unemployment Rate

  • Halifax: In 2006: total population 7% (lower than in 2001), all immigrants 6.4% (slightly higher than in 2001) recent immigrants 12.4% (lower than in 2001).
  • Saint John's: In 2006: total population 10%, all immigrants 7.9%, recent immigrants 15%. All lower than in 2001.
  • Charlottetown: In 2006: total population 8%, all immigrants 6 % and recent immigrants 5.9%. All lower than in 2001.
  • Colchester: In 2006: Total population 8 %, all immigrants 6 %. No data on recent immigrants. Sales and services most popular among all groups.
  • Carleton: In 2006: Total population 6.8%, immigrants 4.4%. No data for recent immigrants.
  • Florenceville: Total population 5.3%, total immigrants aged 25+, zero.

Occupational Distribution

  • Halifax: Most come as highly skilled and work as managers, scientists and sales and service professionals and have rising trend. Distribution for total population is more concentrated.
  • Saint John's: Most come as highly skilled, no clear trend in inflow since 2001. Large percentage in social sciences, education, government service and religion. Total population and recent immigrants are concentrated in sales and services.
  • Charlottetown: Steep rise of highly skilled immigrant inflows since 2002. Sales and services most popular among all. Recent immigrants in 2006 have larger % of managers & scientists than in total population.
  • Colchester: Sales & services most popular. 35 % of total population in trades, transport & equipment operating and in business finance & administration. Immigrants in business, finance & administrative; social sciences, education, govt. & religion; trades, transport & equipment operating. Recent immigrants more evenly distributed.
  • Carleton: Sales and service most popular. Total population also in business, finance and administrative and trades, transport and equipment operating. Also true for immigrants who are also more than 10% in management occupations. Recent immigrants also prominent in social sciences, education, government and religion; and in trades, transport and equipment operating.
  • Florenceville: Immigrants work as managers, scientists and as agriculture workers. No data on recent immigrants.

Industrial Distribution

  • Halifax: Greater concentration in health care and social services and in educational services. Total population is more evenly distributed.
  • Saint John's: All and recent immigrants concentrate in health, education and social services. Total population in health care and social services and in retail trade.
  • Charlottetown: Agriculture & resource based industries, health care & social service major employers of recent immigrants in 2006. Overall, more immigrants in health care, social services & education.
  • Colchester: Total residents: manufacturing, retail trade & other service industries. All immigrants: health care & ed. services. Recent immigrants: in 2006 were divided evenly between agriculture & other resource based; wholesale & retail trades; other services.
  • Carleton: Total residents are more prominent in agriculture and resource based industries and in manufacturing industries. Immigrants in manufacturing industries and in health care and social services. Recent immigrants are evenly distributed across most industries on whom data are available.
  • Florenceville: Immigrants in agriculture, forestry, fishing, hunting and manufacturing. Mostly hired by McCain Foods.

Employment Income

  • Halifax: Overall immigrants earn more, recent immigrants earn less than total population in both censuses
  • Saint John's: All and recent immigrants earned more in 2006 than total population. In 2001, recent immigrants earned less.
  • Charlottetown: All immigrants earned more than total population in both censuses; recent immigrants earned less in 2001, but the same as total population in 2006.
  • Colchester: All and recent immigrants earned more than total population in 2006. Recent immigrants earned lower than total population in 2001.
  • Carleton: All immigrants earn more and recent immigrants earn less than total population (both censuses)
  • Florenceville: Total population’s average income exceeds provincial average.
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