Data sources, methods and definitions

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Data sources

This study uses data from the 2011 National Household Survey (NHS). The NHS benefits from a large sample size and the inclusion of a location of study variable for those with a postsecondary degree or diploma. The NHS was distributed to about 30% of (or about 4.5 million) Canadian households. For purposes of this study, the following restrictions for inclusion were made to the original file: (1) respondents with a bachelor’s degree or higher, (2) respondents who immigrated to Canada at age 17 or over, (3) respondents aged 25 to 64. The sample excludes non-permanent residents, and represented 1,261,830 immigrants living in Canada in 2011.

In this analysis, three immigration periods are examined: those who arrived in Canada between 2000 and 2011 (also called “recent immigrants”); those who arrived between 1990 and 1999, and those who arrived in the pre-1990 years. Given the restrictions specified above, the pre-1990 period covers those entering Canada between 1963 and 1989. However, those who came in the 1960s and the 1970s represented a smaller portion of the overall sample. In contrast, recent immigrants (who came in 2000 or later) numbered 742,070 and represented nearly 60% of all university-educated immigrants in Canada. Since they are more likely to face the most difficulty integrating into the labour market, this paper puts more emphasis on immigrants who arrived in 2000 or later. Similar location of study differences between countries were found when the sample was restricted to immigrants who arrived between 2006 and 2011, although the sample size did not allow for a replication of the multinomial analysis.

The field of study variable used in this analysis (shown in Chart 4 and Table 3) conforms to a Statistics Canada recommended standard regarding STEM groupings (science, technology, engineering, mathematics and computer science). As per the recommended standard, the “Science and Technology“ category combines the two categories of “Science“ and “Technology, except engineering technology”; the “Math and Computers” category stands for the category of “Mathematics and computer sciences” in the recommended standard; and “Engineering” stands for “Engineering and engineering technology” in the recommended standard.  The remaining categories are similar to those from the primary groupings of the Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP), except for any codes that have been moved to one of the STEM categories. For example, “Health” corresponds to “Health and related fields” in the 2011 CIP, while “Humanities, Social Science and Law” combines the two categories of “Humanities” and “Social and behavioural sciences and law” in the 2011 CIP. Readers are invited to consult the Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) Canada 2011 for additional details.

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