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


Very recent immigrants—a snapshot

  • Very recent immigrants, those who landed after or on January 1, 1996 and were living in Hamilton on May 15, 2001, come from a variety of countries and many have university degrees. The largest contingent, representing 9% of very recent immigrants, is from Yugoslavia. The proportions of very recent immigrants from China, Iraq and Pakistan (6% to 8%) are much higher than among earlier immigrants. The population born in Poland dwindled from 14% of the 1986-1995 cohort to less than 3% of the very recent immigrant cohort. University degrees are held by 26% of very recent immigrant women and 32% of very recent immigrant men, up from 18% and 23%, respectively, among the previous very recent immigrant cohort (those who landed between 1991 and 1995) recorded in the 1996 Census. These proportions are also much higher than the 15% share of the Canadian-born population that holds university degrees. Knowledge of official languages, labour market outcomes and incomes relative to the incomes of persons born in Canada were quite similar to those of the 1991-1995 in the 1996 Census.

Immigrants and recent immigrants (Part A)

  • In 2001, there were 51,100 recent immigrants in Hamilton, 2% of all recent immigrants living in Canada. These recent immigrants, who landed after 1985, accounted for one-third of immigrants in Hamilton and 8% of the population of the city. In this document, the term “recent immigrants” refers to immigrants who became permanent residents or “landed” after 1985 and who were living in the country on May 15, 2001, when Canada’s Census of Population was held. Very recent immigrants are immigrants who landed after 1995.
  • Four out of five recent immigrants who landed between 1986 and 1995 had become Canadian citizens by May 2001.

Who are the recent immigrants (Part B)

  • Recent immigrants to Hamilton come from all over the world, in particular from Asia and Eastern Europe. The share of very recent immigrants from Yugoslavia, the largest source country, is 9%. China is second with a slightly smaller share of recent immigrants. India, Iraq and Pakistan have also become more important sources of immigrants to Hamilton.
  • Statistics published by Citizenship and Immigration Canada show that just over one-third of very recent immigrants destined to Hamilton entered through the family class. The number of economic immigrants surged to 44% of the total from 34% at the end of the 1980s.
  • Immigration is changing the religious landscape of Hamilton. Nearly one-quarter of very recent immigrants are Muslims, while Buddhists, Hindus and Sikhs combined make up another 10% of very recent immigrants.
  • About 45% of recent immigrants are 25 to 44 years of age. In Hamilton’s Canadian-born population, this groups accounts for 31%.
  • Nearly nine in ten persons who immigrated between 1996 and 2001 reported being able to conduct a conversation in English or French. For seven in ten very recent immigrants, the language most often spoken at home is a language other than English or French.
  • University degrees are far more common among very recent immigrants in Hamilton than among immigrants who landed before 1996 and persons born in Canada.

Families and households (Part C)

  • Recent immigrants are more likely than the Canadian-born to live with relatives, and they are nearly twice as likely to live in extended families. One in ten recent immigrants of 65 years of age and over lives alone, compared to three in ten of their Canadian-born counterparts.
  • Recent immigrant families are more likely than Canadian-born families to have children at home, in particular when the age of the eldest family member is between 45 and 64 years of age. There are fewer lone-parent families among recent immigrants than among Canadian-born families.
  • Households in which at least one adult is a recent immigrant account for 9% of households in Hamilton. Nearly two out of five of these recent immigrant households have at least one member who immigrated after 1995.
  • Households of recent immigrants are much more likely than Canadian-born households to consist of extended families or more than one family. They also tend to be larger, with close to one-half having four or more persons, compared to one-quarter of Canadian-born households.

Participation in the economy (Part D)

  • The more recent their landing, the higher the unemployment rate of immigrants. Very recent immigrants also have lower labour force participation rates than earlier cohorts and the Canadian-born.
  • The general pattern of increasing convergence to the Canadian-born with longer stay in Canada occurs across all age and gender groups and all levels of education. The disparities between recent immigrants and the Canadian-born are smaller for men than for women.
  • Lack of knowledge of English is a major barrier to labour force participation. However, it accounts for only a small part of the disparity in labour force participation of very recent immigrants, as lack of knowledge of English is rare.
  • On the whole, labour force participation was higher and unemployment lower in 2001 than in 1996. The Canadian-born as well as recent and earlier immigrants of all ages and education levels generally showed gains.
  • In comparison to the Canadian-born, recent immigrants were much more likely to be employed in processing occupations, somewhat more likely to be employed in sales and service occupations and health and science occupations and were less likely to work in administrative occupations and management and social occupations.
  • Recent immigrants were more likely than the Canadian-born to work in the manufacturing sector and in hospitality and other services industries. Construction and transportation industries and the public sector account for smaller shares of the jobs of recent immigrants than of the Canadian-born.
  • While jobs of recent immigrants require a relatively low level of skill, the very recent cohort held jobs with higher skill requirements than their predecessors did in 1996.

Income (Part E)

  • On average among persons reporting income for the year 2000, the income of very recent immigrants was three-fifths of that of the Canadian-born, while those who immigrated during the 1986-1995 period had income three-quarters of that level. A smaller share of recent immigrants than of the Canadian-born had income from employment.
  • Average incomes of the Canadian-born and immigrants were 10% to 20% higher in 2000 than in 1995. The relative incomes of recent immigrants did not change.
  • As a share of income of households in the 25 to 64 age group, transfer payments from government were twice as large for recent immigrant households as for Canadian-born households.
  • Nearly four in ten very recent immigrants are in a low-income situation, more than twice as large a share as for the Canadian-born.

Housing (Part F)

  • In Hamilton, 18% of recent immigrant households live in crowded conditions—that is, have one person or more per room—compared to 2% of Canadian-born households. One in three households consisting exclusively of very recent immigrants lives in crowded accommodations.
  • Thirty percent of recent immigrant households spend more than 30% of their income on shelter, compared to 25% of Canadian-born households.
  • The state of repair of the housing stock is slightly better for recent immigrants than for the Canadian-born.
  • Home ownership is rare among households consisting only of very recent immigrants, but somewhat more than one-half of other recent immigrant households own their home, compared to two-thirds of households of the Canadian-born.
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