World Values Survey (Canada) Immigrant and native born respondent comparisons

2. Socio-economic profile

The tables and figures in this section summarize the socioeconomic profiles of each of the three groups (Canadian born, recent immigrants and earlier immigrants). The data are organized around four themes: language and ethnicity, family and religious life, economic status, and overall life satisfaction.

2.1. Language and ethnicity

As Table 2-1 illustrates, over 90 percent of Canadian born respondents and 64.1 percent of earlier immigrants are Caucasian compared to only 27.0 percent of recent immigrant respondents. Recent immigrants are predominantly East Asian; 37.0 percent of recent immigrants identify as East Asian, Chinese, and Japanese. South Asian Indians and Pakistanis make up 14.4 percent of recent immigrants.

Question: What is the ethnic group of the respondent (self identification)?

Table 2-1: Ethnicity
  Canadian Born Earlier Immigrants Recent Immigrants
Caucasian 96.6% 64.1% 27.0%
Black 1.3% 8.1% 6.9%
South Asian Indian, Pakistani 0.4% 7.4% 14.4%
East Asian, Chinese, Japanese 0.7% 13.1% 37.0%
Arabic, Central Asian 0.0% 3.7% 11.7%
Latin American/Hispanic 0.1% 2.0% 1.4%
Native / Native Indian 0.7% 1.0% 0.2%
Other 0.2% 0.7% 1.2%
Total 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%
  (n=1,763) (n=298) (n=562)

N = 2,623
Source: 2006 World Values Survey

After English and French, Chinese is the main language spoken at home. Of recent immigrants, 33.2 percent speak Chinese at home (Table 2-2). 2001 Census data are consistent with these responses. 2.1 percent of all Canadians speak Chinese at home, and 19.1 percent of recent immigrants speak Chinese at home.

Question: What language do you normally speak at home?

Table 2-2: Language spoken at home
  Canadian Born Earlier Immigrants Recent Immigrants
English 69.4% 63.9% 13.6%
French 29.0% 8.8% 9.4%
Chinese 1.5% 26.4% 33.2%
Other 0.0% 1.0% 43.8%
Total 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%
  (n=1,761) (n=296) (n=566)

N = 2,623
Source: 2006 World Values Survey

2.2. Family & religion

Table 2-3 shows that both recent and earlier immigrants are more likely than native born Canadians to be married, and they are also far less likely to live in common law relationships. When it comes to family size (see Figure 2-1) Canadian born individuals (2.9 children on average) and earlier immigrants (3.2) tend to have more children than recent immigrants (2.1).

Question: Are you currently married, living together as married, divorced, separated, widowed, or single?

Table 2-3: Marital status
  Canadian Born Earlier Immigrants Recent Immigrants
Married 47.1% 60.5% 69.8%
Common law 14.5% 5.1% 2.8%
Divorced 7.1% 4.7% 3.5%
Separated 3.6% 4.1% 1.8%
Widowed 8.3% 7.4% 0.9%
Single 19.4% 18.2% 21.3%
Total 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%
  (n=1,761) (n=262) (n=569)

N = 2,626
Source: 2006 World Values Survey

Figure 2-1: Average number of children

Question: Have you had any children? If yes, how many?

Figure 2-1: Average number of children
Text version: Average number of children
  Average number of children
Canadian Born 2.9
Earlier Immigrants 3.2
Recent Immigrants 2.1

Source: 2006 World Values Survey
N=2,631

As Table 2-4 shows, Canadian born and earlier immigrant respondents are more religious: 28.1 and 27.6 percent. 35.9 percent of recent immigrants claim no membership in any religious denomination. Section 3 examines the religious attributes of the survey respondents in greater detail.

Question: Do you belong to a religion or religious denomination?

Table 2-4: Religious denomination
  Canadian Born Earlier Immigrants Recent Immigrants
Not a member 28.1% 27.6% 35.9%
Catholic 43.6% 28.3% 15.0%
Protestant 27.4% 32.7% 12.4%
Orthodox Christian 0.3% 3.4% 11.2%
Jewish 0.1% 2.4% 0.9%
Muslim 0.2% 2.4% 17.0%
Other 0.3% 3.4% 7.6%
Total 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%
  (n=1,763) (n=297) (n=565)

N = 2,625
Source: 2006 World Values Survey

2.3. Economic status

Immigrants tend to see themselves as occupying the lower rungs of the economic ladder. According to Figure 2-2 and Table 2-5, recent immigrants are more likely than Canadian born and earlier immigrants to identify themselves as “working class”.Footnote 1 Correspondingly, Figure 2-3 and Table 2-6 show that a majority of recent immigrants (52.4 percent) report a household income of less than $35,000. Earlier immigrants are twice as likely as their recent immigrant counterparts to report a household income of greater than $62,501.

Question: People sometimes describe themselves as belonging to the working class, the middle class or the upper class. Would you describe yourself as belonging to the…upper class, upper-middle class, lower-middle class, working class, or lower class?

Table 2-5: Class self-identification
  Canadian Born Earlier Immigrants Recent Immigrants
Upper class 0.8% 0.0% 1.1%
Upper-middle class 30.4% 32.0% 22.3%
Lower-middle class 33.1% 36.4% 32.2%
Working class 31.4% 29.1% 39.0%
Lower class 5.3% 2.5% 5.3%
Total 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%
  (n=1,706) (n=275) (n=543)

N = 2,524
Source: 2006 World Values Survey

Figure 2-2: Class self-identification

Figure 2-2: Class self-identification
Text version: Class self-identification
  Canadian Born Earlier Immigrants Recent Immigrants
Upper Class 0.8% 0.0% 1.1%
Upper-Middle Class 30.4% 32.0% 22.3%
Lower-Middle Class 33.1% 36.4% 32.2%
Working Class 31.4% 29.1% 39.0%
Lower Class 5.3% 2.5% 5.3%
Total 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%

Source: 2006 World Values Survey
N=2,524

Question: Here is a scale of incomes. We would like to know in what group your household is, counting all wages, pensions and other incomes that come in.

Table 2-6: Household income
  Canadian Born Earlier Immigrants Recent Immigrants
Up to $35,000 40.0% 32.9% 52.4%
$35,501 to $62,500 28.6% 30.2% 29.9%
$62,501 or more 31.4% 36.9% 17.7%
Total 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%
  (n=1,499) (n=255) (n=506)

N = 2,260
Source: 2006 World Values Survey

Figure 2-3: Household income

Figure 2-3: Household income
Text version: Household income
  Canadian Born Earlier Immigrants Recent Immigrants
Up to $35,000 40.0% 32.9% 52.4%
$35,501 to $62,500 28.6% 30.2% 29.9%
$62,501 or more 31.4% 36.9% 17.7%

Source: 2006 World Values Survey

Not surprisingly, given the educational profiles of each group, immigrants are more likely than non-immigrants to work in managerial or professional occupations (Table 2-7). And recent immigrants (43.5 percent) are more likely to be employed full-time (Table 2-8) than either Canadian born (36.6) or earlier immigrant respondents (34.9).

Question: In which profession/occupation do you work? If more than one job, the main job? What is/was your job there?

Table 2-7: Occupation
  Canadian Born Earlier Immigrants Recent Immigrants
Manager/Professional 35.6% 46.2% 46.9%
Non-Manual Labour 18.5% 17.1% 21.1%
Skilled Labour 31.3% 24.1% 16.3%
Unskilled Labour 13.0% 12.0% 14.8%
Agricultural 0.9% 0.0% 0.0%
Other 0.8% 0.6% 0.9%
Total 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%
  (n=930) (n=158) (n=337)

Notes: Manager/Professional includes employers/managers of any size of firm, and professional workers. Non-manual labour includes all office workers except managers. Skilled labour includes foremen and supervisors, and skilled manual workers. Unskilled labour includes semi-skilled and unskilled manual workers. Agricultural includes farmers (with farm ownership) and agricultural workers.

N = 1,425
Source: 2006 World Values Survey

Question: Are you employed now or not?

Table 2-8: Employment status
  Canadian Born Earlier Immigrants Recent Immigrants
Full-Time 36.6% 34.9% 43.5%
Part-Time 11.1% 10.8% 15.3%
Self-Employed 6.1% 8.5% 3.7%
Retired 25.6% 29.8% 0.4%
Homemaker 6.2% 3.4% 7.4%
Student 3.1% 4.1% 12.9%
Unemployed 9.8% 8.1% 16.5%
Other 1.5% 0.3% 0.4%
Total 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%
  (n=1,763) (n=295) (n=568)

N = 2,626
Source: 2006 World Values Survey

Recent immigrants differ from the other groups in two other respects. They are far more likely (88.4 percent) than non-immigrants (65.6 percent) to work in the private sector. And they are less likely to have supervisory roles (Table 2-9 and Table 2-10). These variations may be attributable to demographic factors: recent immigrants are younger

Question: Are you working for the government or public institution, for private business or industry, or for a non-profit private organization? If you do not work currently, characterize your major work in the past.

Table 2-9: Employment sector
  Canadian Born Earlier Immigrants Recent Immigrants
Government or Public Organization 29.1% 20.0% 8.5%
Private Business or Industry 68.6% 78.1% 88.4%
Private Non-Profit Organization 2.3% 1.9% 3.1%
Total 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%
  (n=930) (n=160) (n=354)

N = 1,444
Source: 2006 World Values Survey

Question: Do you or did you supervise other people at work?

Table 2-10: Supervisory role
  Canadian Born Earlier Immigrants Recent Immigrants
Supervise others 37.5% 46.3% 27.2%
Do not supervise others 62.5% 53.8% 72.8%
Total 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%
  (n=944) (n=160) (n=357)

N = 1,461
Source: 2006 World Values Survey

2.4. Overall life satisfaction

All respondents were asked questions about their health and their levels of life satisfaction. Immigrants are more likely than Canadian born respondents to claim that their state of health is "good" or "very good" (Table 2-11). But recent immigrants are significantly less likely than Canadian born or earlier immigrants to report that they feel happy (Table 2-12) or satisfied with life (Figure 2-4).

Question: All in all, how would you describe your state of health these days?

Table 2-11: State of health
  Canadian Born Earlier Immigrants Recent Immigrants
Very good 39.3% 41.6% 43.9%
Good 41.0% 37.2% 44.7%
Fair 15.9% 17.2% 10.2%
Poor 3.7% 4.1% 1.2%
Total 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%
  (n=1,763) (n=296) (n=570)

N = 2,629
Source: 2006 World Values Survey

Question: Taking all things together, would you say you are very happy/quite happy/not very happy/not at all happy.

Table 2-12: Happiness
  Canadian Born Earlier Immigrants Recent Immigrants
Very happy 46.8% 48.8% 26.9%
Quite happy 48.6% 46.8% 59.8%
Not very happy 4.1% 3.7% 12.0%
Not at all happy 0.5% 0.7% 1.4%
Total 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%
  (n=1,762) (n=295) (n=569)

N = 2,626
Source: 2006 World Values Survey

Figure 2-4: Satisfaction with life

Question: All things considered, how satisfied are you with your life as a whole these days? A score of 1 is "completely dissatisfied" and 10 is "completely satisfied". Results presented are the mean scores for each group.

Figure 2-4: Satisfaction with life
Text version: Satisfaction with life
Canadian Born Earlier Immigrants Recent Immigrants
2.9 3.2 2.1

Source: 2006 World Values Survey
N=2,627

Immigrants exhibit marginally higher levels of national pride than Canadian born respondents. According to the data summarized in Figure 2-5, recent and earlier immigrant respondents are most likely to report that they are "quite proud" or "very proud" to be Canadian. Native born Canadians, however, are more likely to say that they are "very proud" to be Canadian (71.1 percent) than recent (52.2 percent) or earlier immigrants (69.6 percent).

Question: How proud are you to be Canadian? Response categories are "very proud", "quite proud", "not very proud" and "not at all proud." Results in Figure 2.5 shown are for those responding with "very proud" or "quite proud."

Table 2-13: National pride
  Canadian Born Earlier Immigrants Recent Immigrants
Very proud 71.1% 69.6% 52.2%
Quite proud 25.4% 27.6% 44.6%
Not very proud 3.0% 1.4% 2.6%
Not at all proud 0.5% 1.4% 0.6%
Total 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%
  (n=1,753) (n=283) (n=312)

N = 2,348
Source: 2006 World Values Survey

Figure 2-5: National pride

Figure 2-5: National pride
Text version: National pride
  Proud
Canadian Born 96.5%
Earlier Immigrants 97.2%
Recent Immigrants 96.8%

Source: 2006 World Values Survey

Report a problem or mistake on this page
Please select all that apply:

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, contact us.

Date modified: