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Study: Earnings of immigrants and children of immigrants in official language minority populations

Released: 2019-05-15

In Canada, the vitality and growth of official language minorities—the French-speaking population living outside Quebec, and the English-speaking population living in Quebec—depend in large part on immigration. In turn, attracting and retaining immigrants largely depend on positive economic outcomes for these families.

Outside Quebec, French-speaking immigrants and children of immigrants accounted for 19% of the total French-speaking population aged 25 to 59, compared with 44% who were immigrants or children of immigrants in the English-speaking population.

In Quebec, immigrants and children of immigrants made up 65% of the English-speaking population, whereas they made up 16% of the French-speaking population.

Immigrants and children of immigrants who do not speak the majority official language in their province may face more economic obstacles than those belonging to the linguistic majority, particularly if they have difficulty using the majority language in the workplace or in the public sphere in general.

The new study, "Results from the 2016 Census: Earnings of immigrants and children of immigrants in official language minority populations," released today in Statistics Canada's Insights on Canadian Society, uses 2016 Census data to examine the economic outcomes of immigrants and children of immigrants who are part of official language minorities.

In the study, the French-speaking population is defined as those who reported French as their first official language spoken, and the English-speaking population is defined as those who reported English as their first official language spoken.

The study examines the differences in annual earnings between French-speaking and English-speaking populations, after accounting for other factors such as region of ancestry, length of time in Canada, admission category, industry, age, education, full-time/part-time employment status and number of weeks worked.

This study is also available through Statistics Canada's Centre for Gender, Diversity and Inclusion Statistics. Additional information about the Centre and other diversity-related studies and statistics can be found through the Centre's hub.

Outside Quebec, French-speaking immigrants and children of immigrants have similar or higher earnings than their English-speaking counterparts

Outside Quebec, 90,800 immigrants and children of immigrants aged 25 to 59 reported French as their first official language spoken in 2016. This compared with five million immigrants and children of immigrants in the same age group who reported English as their first official language spoken. Most French-speaking immigrants and children of immigrants lived in Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia.

In general, outside Quebec, French-speaking immigrants and children of immigrants had earnings that were similar or higher than those of their English-speaking counterparts.

Among women, French-speaking immigrants and children of immigrants earned about 6% more than English-speaking immigrants. Among men, the annual earnings of French-speaking immigrants and children of immigrants were comparable with those of their English-speaking counterparts.

Even among those who were neither immigrants nor children of immigrants—also called third or higher generation Canadians—the annual earnings of French speakers living outside Quebec surpassed those of English speakers, by 6% among women and by 3% among men (after accounting for other factors).

In Quebec, annual earnings are similar for Francophone and Anglophone immigrants

In Quebec, there were 332,000 English-speaking immigrants and children of immigrants, and 513,000 French-speaking immigrants and children of immigrants aged 25 to 59 in 2016. Most English-speaking immigrants and children of immigrants lived in the census metropolitan area of Montréal.

In Quebec, there was little difference in annual earnings between English-speaking and French-speaking immigrants, even after accounting for other factors.

However, the children of immigrants who reported English as their first official language earned about 5% less than those who reported French as their first official language.

Such results mirrored those observed for third or higher generation individuals who reported English as their first official language. In this group, earnings were lower than for their French-speaking counterparts—by 6% for women and by 9% for men.

  Note to readers

This study uses data from the 2016 Census to examine the labour market outcomes of French-speaking and English-speaking immigrants and children of immigrants who are part of a linguistic minority in Canada. The two populations of interest are French-speaking immigrants and children of immigrants living outside Quebec, and English-speaking immigrants and children of immigrants living in Quebec.

Although Statistics Canada does not have an official definition for the French-speaking population or for the English-speaking population, this study uses the concept of first official language spoken to define these two populations. Hence, French-speaking immigrants are defined as those who reported French as their first official language spoken, and English-speaking immigrants are defined as those who reported English as their first official language spoken.

Three indicators are examined in the study: annual earnings, weekly earnings of full-time workers and the proportion of people with at least $10,000 in employment income. Similar results were obtained with all three indicators, and, therefore, only the results associated with annual earnings are discussed in this Daily release.

All results figures are adjusted for other factors, including region of ancestry, length of stay in Canada, admission category, industry, age, education, number of weeks worked and full-time or part-time employment status.

Products

The study "Results from the 2016 Census: Earnings of immigrants and children of immigrants in official language minority populations" is now available in Insights on Canadian Society (Catalogue number75-006-X).

Contact information

For more information, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; STATCAN.infostats-infostats.STATCAN@canada.ca).

To enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact René Houle (613-854-8473; rene.houle@canada.ca).

For more information on Insights on Canadian Society, contact Sébastien LaRochelle-Côté (613-951-0803; sebastien.larochelle-cote@canada.ca).

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