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Some Socio-Economic Characteristics of Visible Minority Groups in Ottawa Prepared By: Hindia Mohamoud, Research Director Chola Mulenga, Research Assistant.

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Presentation on theme: "Some Socio-Economic Characteristics of Visible Minority Groups in Ottawa Prepared By: Hindia Mohamoud, Research Director Chola Mulenga, Research Assistant."— Presentation transcript:

1 Some Socio-Economic Characteristics of Visible Minority Groups in Ottawa Prepared By: Hindia Mohamoud, Research Director Chola Mulenga, Research Assistant The Social Planning Council of Ottawa 280, rue Metcalfe Street, suite/pièce 501 Tel: 236-9300 - Ext. 307 Fax: 236-7060 Email:

2 Content: 1.Overview of the socio-economic conditions of visible minority and non-visible minority residents of Ottawa. 2.Exploration of the Socio-economic conditions of our selected Case Study communities. 3.Next Steps in project plans

3 Part I: All Visible Minority Groups

4 Visible Minority Residents Constitute a Growing Segment of Ottawa’s Population There are 137,245 visible minority individuals in Ottawa accounting for 18 percent of the city’s population. The size of VM population is growing rapidly at four times the pace of the overall population (28 percent, compare d to the 7.3 percent). Visible minority population accounted for almost 57 percent of Ottawa’s population growth. Consequently, it is expected that in Ottawa the visible minority population will assume a growing importance as a segment of local citizenry. This presentation explores the socio-economic characteristics of the visible minority groups of Ottawa.

5 Visible Minority Population much younger than the non-visible minority population Almost half (43 percent) of Ottawa’s VM population is younger than 24 years. This compares to 30 percent among the non-visible minority population. Proportionally, the younger middle age groups (25-44) are comparable (35 vs 32 percent). But there is a higher proportion of 45-64 year olds among the non-visible minority groups. Only 5 percent of the VM population is aged 65 years and over. This compared to 12 percent among the non-visible minority population. Implication: Proportionally –higher economic dependence ratio; –higher school attendance rates; –Higher demand for child and youth related services.

6 Higher school attendance among VM groups – partly due to prevalence of younger age groups. 25 percent of Ottawa’s VM population are attending school either in full time or part time basis. This Compares to 15 percent among the non-VM population. Evidence from the focus group discussions that indicates the lack of employment opportunities forces visible minorities to attend school even if they already have sufficient education. Lack of recognition of foreign credentials leads many newcomers to retrain in order to better their chances of landing a job. One of the major impacts of this trend is for the visible minorities to incur more educational debt and further compromise their financial security.

7 Visible Minority Groups are more likely to be university graduates than the non-visible minority groups. There are no significant differences in the proportion of Visible minorities and Non Visible Minorities who had less than high school (15.4 vs. 14.4) There is considerable difference in the proportions who are educated in the trades, with visible minority residents being less likely to have a trades certification.. The higher percentage of visible minority in higher education could be a result of the higher educational attainment of the newcomers.

8 Visible minority residents are twice as likely to be unemployed as non-visible minority Residents Generally speaking, the Labour Force Participation rate for the visible minority and non-visible minority groups are comparable. However, the unemployment rate for the visible minority population was more than double that of the non visible population. FG participants extremely concerned about: –Non-recognition of credentials; –Not knowing about the jobs; –Poor guidance and active discouragements –No opportunities to compete; –Unfair hiring practices;

9 Visible Minority Residents are four times more likely to live with low incomes A Combination of –High unemployment rates; –Segregation into precarious employment; –Lack of mobility in the workplace (a Glass Ceiling phenomenon) Have lead to four times higher incidence of low income among visible minority residents of Ottawa. VM residents represent almost one half of Ottawa’s poor. Yet FG participants were more concerned about a sentiment of exclusion than about poverty. In other words feelings of ‘unfairness’, ‘lack of power’ and ‘frustration resulting from non- recognition’ seemed to weigh more than the material deprivation. It is also likely that people were “putting up an image” and not willing to accept that they are poor. Perhaps poverty has a stigma of “ failure”.

10 Part II: Socio-economic conditions of Case Study Communities (CSCs)

11 Visible minority residents are not homogeneous They differ in: –Histories; –Circumstances of departure from regions of origin; –Circumstances of arrival in Canada and in Ottawa; –Historical experiences in Canada –Level of affinity with the majority; –Degrees of homogeneity and cohesion within; and –Socio-demographic structures To understand variations of experiences in Ottawa, we have selected 3 case study Communities (The Chinese community; the Lebanese community; and the Somali Community). See our Case Study Selection Criteria

12 Immigration and generational status Almost one third of adult Ottawans of Lebanese descent is either second or third generation of immigrants. The Chinese community follows with 16 percent of its members being born in Canada. Almost all (97 percent) Somali residents of Ottawa aged 15+ years are first generation immigrants.

13 The CSCs are very young More than one-third (34 percent) of the Somalis, 22 percent of the Lebanese, and 20 percent of the Chinese are younger than 19 years. The largest age group is the 20-39 year olds. More than one third of Ottawa’s Chinese Community and roughly one quarter of Somalis and Lebanese residents are aged 20-39 years. The relatively higher proportion of the 20-39 year olds among the Chinese is due to the continued inflow of young professionals through the skilled workers category The high child and youth dependence is slightly off-set by low proportions of seniors.

14 Significant Differences in Educational Attainment There is are significant differences in the educational attainment of the members of CSCs, with members of the Chinese community being by far the highest educated. High proportions of less- than- high-school and only high- school education. Partly due to younger ages of CS Communities. Insignificant levels of trades- related education

15 Occupations In general, the most common occupations were Sales and Service; and Business and Administration. For the Chinese, the most common occupations were Natural and Applied Sciences (36.3%), Sales and Service (18%) and Business and Administration (11.7%). In the case of the Lebanese, the most prevalent occupations were Sales and Services (32.8%); Management (18.2%) and Business and Administration (15.4%). For the Somali, the common occupations were Sales and Services (31.2%); Occupations unique to Processing, Manufacturing and Utilities (20.7%) and Business and Administration (12.1%) It is interesting to note that the Lebanese group had a relatively high percentage of workers in Management occupations. This is likely a reflection of a relatively higher proportions of self-employment among residents of Lebanese origin. Focus Group Participants were extremely concerned about: –Exclusion from the good jobs; –High ethnicity- and gender-based job segregation. –Lack of appropriate guidance while in training. –Active discouragements by academic counselors. –Lack of recognition and promotions in the workplace.

16 CSCs over-represented in lower levels of income All the CS communities are over represented in lower levels of income. Over 55 percent of Somalis 50 percent of members of the Lebanese Community, and 41 percent of the Chinese Community count on incomes that are lower than $20,000.

17 Significant Differences in Median Income One half of the CSC s earn less than –$23,157 for the Chinese –$17,602 for the Lebanese –$11,695 for the Somali Community. –$30,226 for the city of Ottawa. –The Median income for Chinese is 77% that of Ottawa. –Lebanese Median is 58% that of Ottawa while the Somali median income is 39% of the city’s median income.

18 Conclusion The data presented here confirm the low economic outcomes of the visible minority groups compared to the non-visible minority population. This is in spite of the relatively higher educational attainment of the visible minority population. Among other things, the demographic profile, limited access to career jobs and the lack of recognition of foreign credentials play a significant in the Labour Market outcomes of Visible Minority Groups. The data from the three case study communities also portrays significant differences. This validates the need to study groups with diverse characteristics. We will consider the historical and contextual issues in explaining the disparities witnessed among the three case study communities

19 Next Steps Over the next few months, we will –Explore more deeply and with more nuances the experiences of exclusion, by analyzing the large amount of qualitative data we have collected. –Explore the linkages between the socio-economic conditions and family circumstances and civic participation –Convey the suggestions for improved life-conditions related to us by the research participants –Make recommendations for change to governments, employers, and Ottawa’s civil society.

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