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Who among South Asians does better in the Canadian economy? Sandeep K. Agrawal, PhD, MCIP, AICP Ryerson University.

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Presentation on theme: "Who among South Asians does better in the Canadian economy? Sandeep K. Agrawal, PhD, MCIP, AICP Ryerson University."— Presentation transcript:

1 Who among South Asians does better in the Canadian economy? Sandeep K. Agrawal, PhD, MCIP, AICP Ryerson University

2 Purpose To develop profiles of both high- and low-income earners among Indian immigrants; and To compare and contrast economic conditions of Indian immigrants with those of other South Asians and Chinese immigrants.

3 Data LIDS: Landed Immigrants Dataset (2005) – Includes 100% sample of immigrants to Canada from 1980 – Data is drawn from the Landing form submitted at the time of landing IMDB: Immigration Database – Tax File (Custom tables, ) – Dataset links LIDS information with income information from Revenue Canada reported during tax filing – Includes 55% of immigrants, and 69% of all immigrants of working age (defined by IMDB as 20-64) PUMF: Census Public Use Micro data (2001 & 2006) – provides individual demographic, social and economic information based on a 2.7% sample of the Canadian population LAD: Longitudinal Administrative Databank (2008) – consists of 20% of taxfilers and their information provided to the Canada Revenue Agency. – Links T1 Family File, a cross-sectional file of all taxfilers and their families, with IMDB.

4 Historical Context: Pre-war Immigration policy Earliest Indian immigrants arrived in The Indian presence in Canada dates back to the late 19th century, but prior to the postwar period Indian immigration to Canada was severely restricted The Komagata Maru incidence, Immigration Act: British (Isle) subjects and French citizens were the “preferred classes”, with quotas for immigrants from India, Pakistan, and Ceylon (present day Sri Lanka) established at 150, 100, and 50 people per year.

5 Historical Context: Post-war Transformations in Immigration Policy Between 1961 and 1967, Canada repeals the explicit restriction to non- white immigration 1967: “point system” replaces place of origin preferences. Consequently, the composition of immigrants to Canada diversifies The removal of racial restrictions now allows increasing numbers of Indians to arrive Since 1980, the numbers of Indian immigrants have multiplied For other South Asians, it took another decade to increase their numbers Source: LIDS 2005

6 Historical Context: Contemporary South Asian Communities in Canadian Cities Almost 3/4 million of the Toronto CMA are South Asians and could triple to 2.1 million by Today, Indian-born communities are prominent in several of Canada’s largest urban areas. Over a quarter of million Indian immigrants live in Toronto Source: Census 2006

7 Socio-economic Characteristics: Religion and Mother Tongue The ethnic diversity of Canada’s Indian- born population is increasing – this is reflected by changing religious and linguistic traits. Although decreasing, in most large centers, Sikhs dominate the Indian- born population Punjabi remains the most widely spoken language, but has declined in recent years by 20%. Source: LIDS 2005

8 Socio-economic Characteristics: Language Proficiency and Age Since the mid-1980s, Indian immigrants have become increasingly younger and more capable in English upon arrival Period of Immigration English-speaking % French-speaking % Neither % Source: LIDS 2005

9 Socio-economic Characteristics: Immigration class Since the early 1980s, the proportion of “family” class immigrants has declined, while the proportions of “skilled workers” have increased. Among recent Indian immigrants, skilled workers now represent the majority of immigrants. Between , Pakistan and Sri Lanka were top source countries for refugees in Canada, since then the numbers have come down dramatically. Sri Lankans came as refugees or through family class Source: LIDS 2005 Pakistanis Indians Sri Lankans

10 Socio-economic Characteristics: Education and Skills Since the mid-1980s, Indian immigrants have increasingly arrived with high educational qualifications: more than 40% have a Bachelor’s degree or higher. The majority of Indian immigrants is arriving with professional (42%) and skilled and technical (30%) occupational credentials. Source: LIDS 2005

11 Employment Sectors LAD 2008

12 Emploment sectors

13 Income Trends of Indian Immigrants: Language Ability, Education, Age & Skills Indian immigrants capable in English upon arrival have substantial higher incomes than those with no official language ability on arrival Entering Canada at a younger age seems to improve one’s income. The vast majority of high income earners have a Bachelor’s degree or higher. The majority of low-income earners have limited educational qualifications upon entry, but a significant number are also well- educated. Experience and expertise in managerial, professional and skilled and technical occupational dominate the high income bracket. Source: IMDB

14 Trends in the high income group: Indian, other SAs and Chinese With time, Chinese attain high income categories and their numbers not only surpass their Indian and other South Asian counterparts as well as the immigrant and Canadian average. Chinese-born immigrants of cohort converge, and surpass, the general Canadian rate of affluence within 10 years. At high-income levels, Pakistanis have done better than Indians. Sri Lankans and Bangladeshis lag behind. Employment Income Trend of Indian and Chinese Immigrants cohort cohort Source: IMDB cohort

15 Income Trends of Indian Immigrants, Indian-born families are much poorer than the Canadian-born average. Indian immigrants experienced substantial decline in the numbers of the lowest income earners. The upward trend appears to be marginal. Substantial decline of low incomes with continuous growth of the higher income groups. “Glass ceiling” effect: greatest increase in >50K income bracket. Poverty among Pakistanis, Bangladeshis % Sri Lankans decreases over time, but not so much. No significant increases in other higher income categories. Income Composition Among Indian Immigrants Arriving Source: IMDB Income Composition Among Pakistani Immigrants Arriving

16 Comparing Indians with other SAs and Chinese A relatively high number (19%) of Sri Lankans with less than 13 years of education in >80K income category. 22% Sri Lankans with minimal skills are in high income category as well. (opposed to the idea that economic return of ethnic economy is much less) Chinese with weak English-speaking ability have done better than their Indian-born counterparts (13.3% vs. 6%) – 1/3 of all Chinese work in ethnic economy. Significant number of highly educated Bangladeshis and Pakistanis are in low income groups. A significantly high number of professionals in low income category among all immigrant groups. EnglishNon-official Language Immigrants Indian Chinese Languages Used Most Often at Work Source: Census of Canada PUMF 2001 Source: IMDB EnglishNon-official Language Immigrants Indian Chinese Pakistanis984 Languages Used Most Often at Work Source: Census of Canada PUMF 2006 ImmigrantsBangladeshi ImmigrantsChinese ImmigrantsIndian ImmigrantsPakistani ImmigrantsSri Lankan Immigrants Less than $15,000 More than $80,000 Less than $15,000 More than $80,000 Less than $15,000 More than $80,000 Less than $15,000 More than $80,000 Less than $15,000 More than $80,000 Less than $15,000 More than $80,000 Less than 13 years63.5%10.0%49.6%0.0%47.9%4.2%65.9%6.7%50.8%5.9%71.1%19.0% Bachelor's or higher15.3%65.5%32.5%76.2%29.0%85.0%21.7%79.2%35.9%80.2%4.5%37.3% Elemental Labourer15.9%2.3%12.5%0.0%8.9%3.1%4.5%0.0%6.5%0.0%56.2%21.9% Professional/Skilled54.3%83.9%70.2%79.5%73.9%92.5%54.7%89.2%79.2%92.4%20.8%60.7% English (English Only)45.3%78.8%60.9%94.8%30.1%84.0%31.5%92.4%60.7%94.3%64.0%89.2% Neither English nor French46.3%8.5%37.4%0.0%69.1%13.3%68.1%6.0%38.6%4.0%34.7%7.8% Enter before %65.1%76.9%52.9%56.5%70.1%68.2%66.3%71.6%64.7%76.0%68.0% Enter 34 and over26.1%34.9%22.7%32.0%43.5%29.5%31.8%33.1%28.3%35.2%24.0%28.3%

17 Conclusion Two broad streams - one group who find their footing quickly, progressively earning higher incomes with time and, another that appears to not experience much upward mobility even after several years in Canada. Indian (and other) immigrants who enter Canada before they are 34 years old with a university degree and the ability to speak at least one official language are more likely to earn higher incomes. While many Indian (and other SA) immigrants have done very well, they include a significantly higher proportion of low-income families and unemployed adults compared with the Canadian-born population. A clear labour market segmentation in the Indo-Canadian community. When compared Indian immigrants, every cohort of Chinese immigrants did better in the Canadian economy than their Indian counterparts. Pakistanis in high income groups have done better than all other South Asian immigrants.

18 Conclusion …continues Two different paths to success Almost all Indian high-income earners are skilled workers with university education and ability to speak English. Many Chinese high income earners have limited proficiency in speaking English. They are most likely to work within Chinese ethnic economy. Strong transnational linkages Many Sri Lankan high income earners come with low skills and/or low education. Perhaps they also work within their own ethnic economy. – Transnational professionals and entrepreneurs

19 Limitation and Future Research Limits of the study – Self-employment income – Family as an economic unit More meaningful use of the Longitudinal Immigration Database (LAD) Wealth and assets other than earnings Qualitative research to document life and career experience of high income individuals and families.


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