Education, earnings, and employment: an investigation of immigrants in Canadian cities

Thumbnail Image
Baker, Shawn
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Despite the increasing levels of education possessed by recent immigrants to Canada, the incomes and employment status of newcomers is declining. While there exists a significant body of research that tracks this decline, few focus on immigrants living outside the ‘traditional’ migrant communities of Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver. This thesis uses data from the 2002 Ethnic Diversity Survey to investigate earnings and employment chances of immigrants and non-immigrants based upon educational achievement throughout Canada. This study divides Canada into four tiers based on the number of immigrants received in order to assess the economic outcomes of the two groups. Economic outcome is judged through the lens of social capital framework and human capital theory to evaluate the influence of social networks and individual accomplishments. Results of the regressions analyses indicate that those who are Canadian-born have stronger returns to education in all but the 3rd-tier though the differences appear to be relatively minimal. Specifically, among foreign-born migrants, living in the 3rd-tier coincides with better earning returns to education while schooling is only important for employment for those residing in 1st-tier centres. Additionally, the influence of social networks is negligible regardless of nativity status. Despite lesser returns to education, immigrants appear to earn more than their native-born counterparts based upon occupation, though the results for employment suggest that reaching this point may be more difficult than for those Canadian-born. Lastly, there seems to be economic opportunities for immigrants outside of the 1st-tier leading to better monetary outcomes. The findings of this project contribute to current immigration literature in Canada and hold implications for the Canadian immigration policy.