Recent Immigrants in Metropolitan Areas: Calgary—A Comparative Profile Based on the 2001 Census

Part E: Income

Sources and level of income

Sources of income vary by time in canada

Nearly eight in ten Canadian-born women and nine in ten Canadian-born men had earnings from employment in the year 2000. A larger share of the Canadian-born than immigrants had income from employment. For immigrants who landed before 1986, the proportion with earnings was lower than that of the Canadian-born and other immigrant cohorts. The smaller share of recent immigrants with employment income reflects lower participation in the workforce.

The share of persons with employment income generally was higher in 2000 than in 1995, with the exception of the earlier immigrant cohorts and Canadian-born women (about seven percentage points higher for very recent immigrants and four percentage points higher for those who immigrated during the 1986-1995 period).

The incidence of zero income was extremely low for all immigrant groups and the Canadian-born, primarily because almost everyone received transfer payments from the government.

Recent immigrants were much less likely to have other private income—for example, income from investments or pension plans—in comparison to the Canadian-born and earlier immigrants. The proportion of persons in the very recent immigrant cohort with private income has generally decreased since 1995.

The fact that 95% of persons receive transfer payments from government is something unique to the province of Alberta. The almost universal presence of transfer payments is also something new. It may reflect the “Alberta advantage” initiatives implemented by the provincial government, including an increase of family tax benefits, energy cost rebates and special educational programs for employment insurance recipients, trades people and immigrant women.

Table E-1: Immigrants by period of immigration and Canadian-born—15 years of age and over—sources of income, by gender, Calgary Census Metropolitan Area, 2000 (number and percentage)
  No income Employment income Other
private
income
Government transfers Total
Women
Canadian-born 5,640 215,480 88,280 263,580 281,290
Immigrants 990 60,230 28,720 88,520 91,520
 Immigrated before 1986 140 32,760 20,690 51,680 52,960
 Immigrated 1986-1995 560 19,740 5,960 26,550 27,690
 Immigrated 1996-1999 300 7,730 2,080 10,300 10,870
Men
Canadian-born 5,180 242,950 74,880 262,350 282,390
Immigrants 790 67,890 25,250 82,690 86,600
 Immigrated before 1986 20 39,740 19,160 50,600 52,510
 Immigrated 1986-1995 520 20,060 4,230 22,970 24,380
 Immigrated 1996-1999 250 8,100 1,870 9,130 9,710
Total
Canadian-born 10,820 458,440 163,150 525,930 563,670
Immigrants 1,770 128,130 53,980 171,190 178,110
 Immigrated before 1986 160 72,510 39,840 102,270 105,470
 Immigrated 1986-1995 1,070 39,800 10,190 49,510 52,060
 Immigrated 1996-1999 550 15,830 3,950 19,420 20,590
 
Women
Canadian-born 2% 77% 31% 94% 100%
Immigrants 1% 66% 31% 97% 100%
 Immigrated before 1986 0% 62% 39% 98% 100%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 2% 71% 22% 96% 100%
 Immigrated 1996-1999 3% 71% 19% 95% 100%
Men
Canadian-born 2% 86% 27% 93% 100%
Immigrants 1% 78% 29% 95% 100%
 Immigrated before 1986 0% 76% 36% 96% 100%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 2% 82% 17% 94% 100%
 Immigrated 1996-1999 3% 83% 19% 94% 100%
Total
Canadian-born 2% 81% 29% 93% 100%
Immigrants 1% 72% 30% 96% 100%
 Immigrated before 1986 0% 69% 38% 97% 100%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 2% 76% 20% 95% 100%
 Immigrated 1996-1999 3% 77% 19% 94% 100%

Note: Incomes are for the year 2000. In all tables in Part E, immigrants and very recent immigrants include only those who landed before the year 2000 and could have had income the entire year. A person may have income from one, two or all three sources. The three sources are defined in the Glossary.

Average income higher for immigrants who have been in Canada longer

The average income of immigrants in the year 2000 was four-fifths of that of the Canadian-born. Those who immigrated before 1986 had nearly the same income as the Canadian-born. For very recent immigrants, average income was about three-fifths of that of the Canadian-born. And those who immigrated during the 1986-1995 period had average income close to two-thirds of the level of the Canadian-born.

Compared to 1995, average income of very recent immigrants increased more than that of other cohorts, by more than one-half for men and two-fifths for women. For other cohorts, the change was in the order of one-fifth.

The average income of women was less than three-fifths of that of men.

Table E-2: Immigrants by period of immigration and Canadian-born—15 years of age and over with income—average income and sources of average income, by gender, Calgary Census Metropolitan Area, 2000
  Sources of average income
Gender Average income of persons with income Employment income Other private income Government transfer payments Total
Women
Canadian-born $26,870 80% 11% 10% 100%
Immigrants $22,770 72% 12% 16% 100%
 Immigrated before 1986 $26,430 69% 15% 16% 100%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 $18,450 78% 7% 16% 100%
 Immigrated 1996-1999 $15,590 79% 7% 14% 100%
Men
Canadian-born $47,790 86% 10% 4% 100%
Immigrants $40,010 82% 10% 8% 100%
 Immigrated before 1986 $46,570 79% 13% 8% 100%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 $29,910 89% 4% 6% 100%
 Immigrated 1996-1999 $29,100 91% 4% 5% 100%
Total
Canadian-born $37,360 84% 10% 6% 100%
Immigrants $31,160 78% 11% 11% 100%
 Immigrated before 1986 $36,470 75% 13% 11% 100%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 $23,810 85% 5% 10% 100%
 Immigrated 1996-1999 $21,960 87% 5% 9% 100%

Note: Incomes are for the year 2000. In all tables in Part E, immigrants and very recent immigrants include only those who landed before the year 2000 and could have had income the entire year.

Earnings from employment account for the bulk of income of all groups. Among recent immigrant women as compared to Canadian-born women, earnings from employment make up a slightly smaller proportion of income, with the opposite pattern holding true for recent immigrant men as compared to Canadian-born men.

Compared to 1995, employment income generally accounted for a somewhat larger share of income, and other private income and government transfer payments each declined as a share of income. The very recent male immigrant cohort experienced the largest increase in the share of income derived from employment, eight percentage points, offset by a decline in the share of government transfer payments of six percentage points. For other cohorts the change was in the order of two percentage points.

Earnings of recent immigrants who worked mostly full-time lower

The wages and salaries earned by recent immigrants who worked mostly full-time in 2000 are below the Calgary average. Earlier immigrants had average incomes slightly higher than the Canadian-born.

Table E-3: Immigrants by period of immigration and Canadian-born—15 years of age and over, employed mostly full-time—average earnings from wages and salaries, and earnings as percentage of overall average, Calgary Census Metropolitan Area, 2000
  Amount Percentage of overall average
Canadian-born $45,110 103%
Immigrants $39,130 89%
 Immigrated before 1986 $45,420 104%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 $30,830 70%
 Immigrated 1996-1999 $29,380 67%
All who worked mostly full-time $43,780 100%

Note: Incomes are for the year 2000. In all tables in Part E, immigrants and very recent immigrants include only those who landed before the year 2000 and could have had income the entire year.

The relative level of wages and salaries of very recent immigrants, at 67% of the average, was higher than in 1995 by 14 percentage points. Their average earnings were rather close to the wages of the earlier cohorts. Those who had been in the country from 5 to 15 years, however, had a lower relative earnings level than their counterparts in the previous census.

Transfer payments a larger share of income of households of non-seniors

In the year 2000, virtually all households in Calgary received government transfer payments. The transfer payments received by recent immigrant households were higher than those received by Canadian-born households, both in dollar terms and relative to income.

Transfer payments vary considerably with the age of the oldest person in the household, and so do differences between recent immigrant, earlier immigrant and Canadian-born households. Recent immigrant households of the very young receive more or less the same amounts as their Canadian-born and earlier immigrant counterparts, while households of persons aged 25 to 44 and 45 to 64 received substantially larger amounts than the Canadian-born and earlier immigrants.

Transfer payments to households without seniors generally reflect benefits of Employment Insurance, Workers Compensation, social assistance, student assistance, or other programs. Included in these transfer payments are tax credits such as the Canada Child Benefit, GST tax credits and tax credits from the Government of Alberta. The larger amounts of transfer payments for recent immigrant households of persons 25 to 64 years old may have to do with the larger average number of children in families and with differences in labour market participation and unemployment reviewed in Part D. That transfer payments from government make up a larger part of income than for their Canadian-born and earlier immigrant counterparts also reflects their lower incomes.

Almost all households with persons 65 years of age and over received government transfer payments—Old Age Security, the Guaranteed Income Supplement, or Canada or Quebec Pension Plan benefits. Recent immigrant households of seniors on average received about the same amount in transfer payments as earlier immigrants and the Canadian-born, but households consisting only of immigrants who landed very recently received much less. Very recent immigrants are not entitled to Old Age Security and have not built up large credits under the Canada or Quebec Pension Plan.

Table E-4: Immigrant households (by period of immigration) and Canadian-born households—percentage of households receiving transfers, average amount of government transfer payments, and transfers as a share of income, by age of older parent in family or oldest person in non-family household, Calgary Census Metropolitan Area, 2000
  15 to 24 years 25 to 44 years 45 to 65 years 65 years and over Total
Share of households receiving government transfer payments
Canadian-born households 99% 99% 99% 100% 99%
Earlier immigrant households 100% 100% 100% 100% 100%
Recent immigrant households 97% 100% 100% 100% 100%
 1986-1995 immigrants 96% 100% 100% 100% 100%
 1996-1999 immigrants with others 100% 100% 100% 100% 100%
 1996-1999 immigrants only 95% 100% 100% 98% 100%
Average amount of transfer per receiving household
Canadian-born households $1,900 $2,400 $2,900 $17,200 $4,600
Earlier immigrant households $2,300 $3,100 $3,500 $18,000 $7,300
Recent immigrant households $1,800 $4,000 $4,700 $17,600 $5,500
 1986-1995 immigrants $1,900 $4,100 $4,400 $18,000 $5,600
 1996-1999 immigrants with others $2,300 $3,900 $6,100 $18,400 $6,200
 1996-1999 immigrants only $800 $3,800 $4,700 $11,500 $4,400
Transfers as a share of income, all households
Canadian-born households 6% 3% 3% 33% 6%
Earlier immigrant households 6% 4% 4% 34% 10%
Recent immigrant households 6% 6% 7% 29% 9%
 1986-1995 immigrants 6% 6% 6% 32% 8%
 1996-1999 immigrants with others 6% 6% 7% 21% 8%
 1996-1999 immigrants only 5% 8% 8% 30% 9%

Note: Incomes are for the year 2000. In all tables in Part E, immigrants and very recent immigrants include only those who landed before the year 2000 and could have had income the entire year

The distribution of income

Personal income reaches parity and similar distribution with longer stay

Of very recent immigrants, nearly five out of ten women and three out of ten men reported no income or income of less than $10,000 in 2000.

Recent immigrants are underrepresented at the high end of the income scale. The share of recently immigrated men with incomes of $50,000 and over is about one-half of that of the Canadian-born, while the share of recently immigrated women with incomes of $50,000 and over is about one-third of that of the Canadian-born. The proportion with incomes of $50,000 and over is the same among earlier immigrants and the Canadian-born.

Table E-5: Immigrants by period of immigration and Canadian-born—15 years of age and over—income levels, by gender (number and percentage distribution) and average income, by gender, Calgary Census Metropolitan Area, 2000
  Without
income
$1 to
$9,999
$10,000 to $29,999 $30,000 to $49,999 $50,000 and over Total
Women
Canadian-born 5,640 73,330 103,080 63,090 36,150 281,280
Immigrants 980 25,360 41,860 15,260 8,020 91,530
 Immigrated before 1986 140 11,130 24,810 10,680 6,200 52,970
 Immigrated 1986-1995 560 9,480 12,650 3,590 1,410 27,680
 Immigrated 1996-1999 290 4,750 4,400 1,000 420 10,880
Men
Canadian-born 5,180 45,460 71,720 71,540 88,510 282,390
Immigrants 780 13,180 29,600 21,500 21,520 86,590
 Immigrated before 1986 20 4,940 17,120 13,990 16,440 52,510
 Immigrated 1986-1995 520 5,740 8,780 5,650 3,690 24,380
 Immigrated 1996-1999 250 2,510 3,700 1,860 1,400 9,710
Total
Canadian-born 10,820 118,790 174,800 134,620 124,660 563,670
Immigrants 1,770 38,550 71,490 36,780 29,530 178,110
 Immigrated before 1986 160 16,060 41,950 24,680 22,620 105,470
 Immigrated 1986-1995 1,070 15,230 21,440 9,240 5,090 52,060
 Immigrated 1996-1999 550 7,270 8,100 2,870 1,820 20,590
  Without
income
$1 to
$9,999
$10,000 to $29,999 $30,000 to $49,999 $50,000 and over Total Average income
Women
Canadian-born 2% 26% 37% 22% 13% 100% $26 330
Immigrants 1% 28% 46% 17% 9% 100% $22 530
 Immigrated before 1986 0% 21% 47% 20% 12% 100% $26 360
 Immigrated 1986-1995 2% 34% 46% 13% 5% 100% $18 090
Immigrated 1996-1999 3% 44% 40% 9% 4% 100% $15 170
Men
Canadian-born 2% 16% 25% 25% 31% 100% $46 910
Immigrants 1% 15% 34% 25% 25% 100% $39 650
 Immigrated before 1986 0% 9% 33% 27% 31% 100% $46 550
 Immigrated 1986-1995 2% 24% 36% 23% 15% 100% $29 280
 Immigrated 1996-1999 3% 26% 38% 19% 14% 100% $28 330
Total
Canadian-born 2% 21% 31% 24% 22% 100% $36 640
Immigrants 1% 22% 40% 21% 17% 100% $30 850
 Immigrated before 1986 0% 15% 40% 23% 21% 100% $36 410
 Immigrated 1986-1995 2% 29% 41% 18% 10% 100% $23 320
 Immigrated 1996-1999 3% 35% 39% 14% 9% 100% $21 380

Note: Incomes are for the year 2000. In all tables in Part E, immigrants and very recent immigrants include only those who landed before the year 2000 and could have had income the entire year.

Distribution of household income becomes very similar

In 2000, recent immigrant households had an average income of $63,600 or 85% of the income of Canadian-born households. Unlike the situation in Canada as a whole, incomes of very recent immigrant households in Calgary are substantially lower than those of Canadian-born households. The income of households consisting only of very recent immigrants is 57% of the income of households of the Canadian-born.

Table E-6: Immigrant households (by period of immigration) and Canadian-born households—household income levels (number and percentage distribution) and average household income, Calgary Census Metropolitan Area, 2000
Households $0 to $19,999 $20,000 to $39,999 $40,000 to $59,999 $60,000 to $79,999 $80,000 and over Total Average income
Canadian-born 28,930 47,600 49,300 41,790 80,970 248,580 $75,040
12% 19% 20% 17% 33% 100%
Earlier immigrants 7,360 12,850 11,840 10,540 23,760 66,330 $76,520
11% 19% 18% 16% 36% 100%
Recent immigrants 4,460 6,800 7,730 6,300 9,430 34,710 $66,010
16% 19% 22% 17% 26% 100%
 1986-1995 immigrants 2,920 4,290 5,280 4,450 6,690 23,620 $68,040
12% 18% 22% 19% 28% 100%
 1996-1999 immigrants
 with others
350 870 1,320 1,080 1,870 5,490 $73,450
9% 16% 25% 19% 31% 100%
 1996-1999 immigrants
  only
1,190 1,650 1,140 770 880 5,610 $73,450
33% 26% 17% 11% 12% 100%
All households 43,080 68,410 70,020 59,320 115,550 356,380 $74,040
12% 19% 20% 17% 32% 100%

Note: Incomes are for the year 2000. In all tables in Part E, immigrants and very recent immigrants include only those who landed before the year 2000 and could have had income the entire year. The total “All households” includes households of non-permanent residents not shown in the table. For definitions of household and related concepts, see the Glossary.

One-third of households consisting of only very recent immigrants have income of less than $20,000, in spite of their large size. In households that combine very recent immigrants with other persons, their relatively high income may be a result of their large size and the fact that the other members of the household have lived in Canada for more than five years and are more likely to be earners.

Low income twice as common among very recent immigrants

Recent immigrants are more likely than earlier immigrants and the Canadian-born to live in families with incomes that fall below the median family income or, if they do not live in families, to have income below the median for unattached individuals. They are also more likely to have or live in families with incomes that fall below one-half of the median income—that is, to have low income. The percentage of immigrants with income in the bottom half or quarter of the income distribution declines in relation to the length of stay in Canada of the cohort.

Figure E-1: Immigrants by period of immigration and Canadian-born—percentage with family or individual income below the median and below one-half of the median, Calgary Census Metropolitan Area, 2000

Figure E-1

Note: Incomes are for the year 2000. In all figures in Part E, immigrants and very recent immigrants include only those who landed before the year 2000 and could have had income the entire year. For a definition of median income and details about the calculations, see the Glossary.

The share of very recent immigrants whose family or individual income is below one-half of the median income is twice as large as that of the Canadian-born. The proportion of very recent immigrants with income below the median is also much higher, with two out of three finding themselves in this situation. Although earlier immigrant households have higher average income than Canadian-born households (Table E-6), a slightly larger proportion of earlier immigrants find themselves below the median or one-half the median income.

The proportion of individuals with income below the median varies with age and, to a lesser extent, gender. For the Canadian-born and earlier immigrants, the highest incidence of incomes that are below the median is found among seniors. But this is not so for very recent immigrants, among whom incomes below the median are more common for younger age groups. Persons who immigrated during the 1986-1995 period occupy a middle ground.

In all age and gender groups except women and men 65 years of age and over, the proportion of persons with income below the overall median is higher among recent immigrants than among the Canadian-born. This difference is most pronounced for people of working age, from 25 to 64 years old.

Nearly three out of ten immigrants who landed between 1996 and 1999 have low income or live in families with low income—that is, income below one-half of the median. This share is twice as large as for the Canadian-born. The difference in the incidence of low income between very recent immigrants and the Canadian-born is smallest for seniors. Recently immigrated women 25 to 64 years of age are more likely than their male counterparts to have low income.

Table E-7: Immigrants by period of immigration and Canadian-born—family or individual income below the median, by age and gender, Calgary Census Metropolitan Area, 2000 (number and percentage)
  Under 15 years 15 to 24 years 25 to 64 years 65 years
and over
Total
Women
Canadian-born 42,080 28,310 81,940 19,120 171,450
Immigrants 2,780 4,580 34,300 10,870 52,530
 Immigrated before 1986 660 16,840 9,100 26,600
 Immigrated 1986-1995 1,040 2,560 11,980 1,430 17,010
 Immigrated 1996-1999 1,740 1,360 5,490 340 8,930
Men
Canadian-born 43,610 26,520 74,110 14,090 158,320
Immigrants 2,820 4,860 29,980 8,900 46,530
 Immigrated before 1986 710 15,540 7,690 23,920
 Immigrated 1986-1995 1,030 2,810 9,500 1,010 14,340
 Immigrated 1996-1999 1,790 1,340 4,950 210 8,270
Total
Canadian-born 85,690 54,830 156,040 33,210 329,770
Immigrants 5,590 9,430 64,280 19,770 99,050
 Immigrated before 1986 1,370 32,370 16,790 50,520
 Immigrated 1986-1995 2,070 5,370 21,470 2,440 31,350
 Immigrated 1996-1999 3,520 2,700 10,440 550 17,190
 
Women
Canadian-born 49% 50% 42% 68% 47%
Immigrants 65% 59% 51% 67% 55%
 Immigrated before 1986 44% 44% 70% 50%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 57% 58% 58% 57% 58%
 Immigrated 1996-1999 71% 70% 66% 61% 67%
Men
Canadian-born 49% 44% 37% 65% 43%
Immigrants 65% 58% 46% 66% 51%
 Immigrated before 1986 47% 39% 68% 46%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 61% 57% 54% 56% 55%
 Immigrated 1996-1999 67% 69% 67% 63% 67%
Total
Canadian-born 49% 47% 39% 67% 45%
Immigrants 65% 58% 49% 67% 53%
 Immigrated before 1986 46% 41% 69% 48%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 59% 58% 56% 57% 56%
 Immigrated 1996-1999 69% 69% 66% 62% 67%

Note: Incomes are for the year 2000. In all tables in Part E, immigrants and very recent immigrants include only those who landed before the year 2000 and could have had income the entire year. For a definition of median income and details about the calculations, see the Glossary.

Table E-8: Immigrants by period of immigration and Canadian-born—family or individual income below one-half of the median, by age and gender, Calgary Census Metropolitan Area, 2000 (number and percentage)
  Under 15 years 15 to 24 years 25 to 64 years 65 years
and over
Total
Women
Canadian-born 12,660 11,830 25,300 4,500 54,290
Immigrants 1,080 2,000 11,810 3,400 18,290
 Immigrated before 1986 250 5,550 2,810 8,590
 Immigrated 1986-1995 350 980 4,100 480 5,920
 Immigrated 1996-1999 730 770 2,170 120 3,780
Men
Canadian-born 13,100 10,100 19,900 4,250 47,340
Immigrants 1,180 1,910 9,160 3,710 15,930
 Immigrated before 1986 320 4,480 3,170 7,950
 Immigrated 1986-1995 410 950 2,790 460 4,600
 Immigrated 1996-1999 770 640 1,890 80 3,380
Total
Canadian-born 25,760 21,920 45,200 8,750 101,620
Immigrants 2,260 3,900 20,970 7,100 34,210
 Immigrated before 1986 570 10,030 5,980 16,540
 Immigrated 1986-1995 760 1,930 6,890 930 10,520
 Immigrated 1996-1999 1,500 1,400 4,060 200 7,160
 
Women
Canadian-born 15% 21% 13% 16% 15%
Immigrants 25% 26% 18% 21% 19%
 Immigrated before 1986 17% 14% 21% 16%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 19% 22% 20% 19% 20%
 Immigrated 1996-1999 30% 39% 26% 21% 28%
Men
Canadian-born 15% 17% 10% 20% 13%
Immigrants 27% 23% 14% 28% 18%
 Immigrated before 1986 21% 11% 28% 15%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 24% 19% 16% 25% 18%
 Immigrated 1996-1999 29% 33% 25% 25% 27%
Total
Canadian-born 15% 19% 11% 18% 14%
Immigrants 26% 24% 16% 24% 18%
 Immigrated before 1986 19% 13% 25% 16%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 22% 21% 18% 22% 19%
 Immigrated 1996-1999 29% 36% 26% 22% 28%

Note: Incomes are for the year 2000. In all tables in Part E, immigrants and very recent immigrants include only those who landed before the year 2000 and could have had income the entire year. For a definition of median income and details about the calculations, see the Glossary.

Date Modified: