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

Part E: Income

Sources and level of income

Sources of income vary by time in Canada

Income from employment is the most common source of income for the Canadian-born. Nearly seven in ten Canadian-born women and eight in ten Canadian-born men had earnings from employment in the year 2000. A larger share of the Canadian-born than of very recent immigrants had income from employment. Among men and women who immigrated during the 1986-1995 period, the share with earnings from employment is the same or higher than among the Canadian-born. For immigrants who landed before 1986, the proportion with earnings is lower. The relatively low share of very recent immigrants with employment income reflects lower participation in the workforce.

Table E-1: Immigrants by period of immigration and Canadian-born—15 years of age and over—sources of income, by gender, Hamilton Census Metropolitan Area, 2000 (number and percentage)
  No income Employment income Other private income Government transfers Total
Women
Canadian-born 10,410 130,740 58,790 120,190 193,720
Immigrants 4,560 38,220 25,280 52,360 75,040
 Immigrated before 1986 2,280 24,650 22,370 38,310 53,960
 Immigrated 1986-1995 1,430 10,470 2,170 10,380 15,560
 Immigrated 1996-1999 850 3,100 750 3,670 5,520
Men
Canadian-born 6,790 141,540 47,790 89,440 181,840
Immigrants 1,430 44,910 23,750 42,630 68,740
 Immigrated before 1986 130 30,040 21,280 31,780 49,590
 Immigrated 1986-1995 840 11,260 1,670 7,470 13,980
 Immigrated 1996-1999 470 3,620 810 3,380 5,180
Total
Canadian-born 17,200 272,280 106,580 209,630 375,560
Immigrants 6,000 83,130 49,010 94,970 143,770
 Immigrated before 1986 2,420 54,690 43,640 70,070 103,540
 Immigrated 1986-1995 2,270 21,730 3,820 17,850 29,540
 Immigrated 1996-1999 1,310 6,720 1,550 7,050 10,700
 
Women
Canadian-born 5% 67% 30% 62% 100%
Immigrants 6% 51% 34% 70% 100%
 Immigrated before 1986 4% 46% 41% 71% 100%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 9% 67% 14% 67% 100%
 Immigrated 1996-1999 15% 56% 13% 66% 100%
Men
Canadian-born 4% 78% 26% 49% 100%
Immigrants 2% 65% 35% 62% 100%
 Immigrated before 1986 0% 61% 43% 64% 100%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 6% 81% 12% 53% 100%
 Immigrated 1996-1999 9% 70% 16% 65% 100%
Total
Canadian-born 5% 72% 28% 56% 100%
Immigrants 4% 58% 34% 66% 100%
 Immigrated before 1986 2% 53% 42% 68% 100%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 8% 74% 13% 60% 100%
 Immigrated 1996-1999 12% 63% 14% 66% 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.

The share of persons with employment income was higher in 2000 than in 1995 by about four percentage points for the Canadian-born and immigrants who landed during the 1986-1995 period. Among very recent immigrants, the share of women with employment income increased by the same amount, but that of men remained the same.

Very recent immigrants are more likely than the Canadian-born and earlier immigrants to have no income. Immigrants from the earliest cohort, those who immigrated before 1986, are less likely than the Canadian-born to have no income.

Recent immigrants are 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 incidence of transfer payment income is higher among recent immigrants than among the Canadian-born. The higher proportion of earlier immigrants receiving transfer payments from government reflects the high share of seniors in this group, who generally receive Old Age Security and Canada or Quebec Pension Plan benefits. The proportion of men who received transfer payments fell by about 15 percentage points since 1995, while the proportion of women receiving transfer payments increased. This shift is likely in part due to a change in policy that gave child benefit payments directly to the mother of the child.

Average income higher for immigrants who have been in Canada longer

Considering only persons who reported income in the year 2000, the average income of immigrants as a whole was lower than that of the Canadian-born. Those who immigrated before 1986 had almost the same average income level as the Canadian-born. For very recent immigrants, average income was three-fifths of that of the Canadian-born. Those who immigrated during the 1986-1995 period had an average income of three-quarters of the level of the Canadian-born. Compared to 1995, average income of all groups was higher by 10% to 20%.

The average income of women is about three-fifths of that of men in all groups.

Earnings from employment account for the bulk of income of all groups and make up the same proportion of income of very recent immigrants as of persons born in Canada, and a higher proportion for those who immigrated during the 1986-1995 period.

The share of other private income is lower for recent immigrants than for the Canadian-born, while transfer payments from government make up a slightly larger share of their income than the income of the Canadian-born.

When the shares of the three types of income are compared with those in 1995, one observes a large increase in the share of employment income of recently immigrated men, of five to nine percentage points, and a similar decline in the share of transfer payments. This is a larger shift than for the Canadian-born, whose employment income share increased by three percentage points. Both women and men experienced that change. Recently immigrated women, however, derived about the same share of income from employment in 2000 as in 1995.

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, Hamilton Census Metropolitan Area, 2000
  Sources of average income
  Average income of persons with income Employment
income
Other private income Government transfers Total
Women
Canadian-born $25,090 75% 12% 13% 100%
Immigrants $22,300 63% 15% 22% 100%
 Immigrated before 1986 $23,910 59% 18% 23% 100%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 $18,920 80% 5% 15% 100%
 Immigrated 1996-1999 $14,800 75% 7% 18% 100%
Men
Canadian-born $41,960 84% 10% 6% 100%
Immigrants $39,160 75% 13% 12% 100%
 Immigrated before 1986 $42,380 71% 16% 13% 100%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 $31,980 92% 3% 6% 100%
 Immigrated 1996-1999 $25,330 86% 4% 10% 100%
Total
Canadian-born $33,330 81% 11% 9% 100%
Immigrants $30,540 71% 14% 16% 100%
 Immigrated before 1986 $32,940 67% 16% 17% 100%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 $25,210 87% 3% 9% 100%
 Immigrated 1996-1999 $20,080 82% 5% 13% 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 of recent immigrants working mostly full-time lower than average

The wages and salaries earned by recent immigrants who worked mostly full-time in 2000 are below the Hamilton average. By contrast, earlier immigrants had a higher average wages and salaries 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, by gender, Hamilton Census Metropolitan Area, 2000
  Amount Percentage of overall average
Canadian-born $43,130 101%
Immigrants $40,860 96%
 Immigrated before 1986 $45,270 106%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 $33,120 78%
 Immigrated 1996-1999 $27,740 65%
All who worked mostly full-time $42,580 100%

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 levels of wages and salaries of recent and very recent immigrants were virtually the same as in the 1996 Census.

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

In the year 2000, the large majority of households received transfer payments from government. Recent immigrant households were more likely to receive a transfer from governments than other households. On average, the payments received by recent immigrant households were somewhat lower in dollar terms but higher relative to income as for other households.

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 lower amounts than their Canadian-born and earlier immigrant counterparts. As for households of persons aged 25 to 44 and 45 to 64, recent immigrant households were both more likely to receive transfer payments from government and to receive larger amounts than earlier immigrants and the Canadian-born.

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 provincial tax credits. The somewhat greater incidence and higher amounts of transfer payments for recent immigrant households of persons 25 to 64 years old in relation to earlier immigrants and the Canadian-born 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 of 65 years of age and over received transfer payments from government: 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 as earlier immigrants and the Canadian-born, but households consisting only of immigrants who landed very recently received less. These 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, Hamilton 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 90% 73% 74% 100% 79%
Earlier immigrant households 89% 76% 77% 100% 86%
Recent immigrant households 87% 87% 86% 99% 88%
 1986-1995 immigrants 91% 85% 85% 98% 86%
 1996-1999 immigrants with others 43% 85% 90% 100% 88%
 1996-1999 immigrants only 84% 95% 95% 100% 94%
Average amount of transfer per receiving household
Canadian-born households $3,070 $2,800 $3,440 $16,210 $5,800
Earlier immigrant households $3,040 $3,320 $4,100 $17,530 $9,440
Recent immigrant households $2,530 $4,240 $4,600 $16,170 $5,240
 1986-1995 immigrants $2,290 $4,040 $4,160 $16,630 $5,050
 1996-1999 immigrants with others $480 $4,320 $6,540 $15,510 $6,240
 1996-1999 immigrants only $3,800 $4,820 $5,600 $13,310 $5,320
Transfers as a share of income, all households
Canadian-born households 12% 3% 3% 37% 7%
Earlier immigrant households 9% 3% 4% 37% 12%
Recent immigrant households 10% 7% 6% 31% 8%
 1986-1995 immigrants 8% 6% 6% 35% 8%
 1996-1999 immigrants with others 5% 6% 7% 19% 8%
 1996-1999 immigrants only 24% 12% 12% 51% 13%

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 approaches parity and similar distribution with longer stay

Of very recent immigrants, more than one-half of women and one-third of men reported no income or income of less than $10,000 in 2000. The share reporting no income is lower for persons who immigrated during the 1986-1995 period. The share of persons without income is even lower for earlier immigrants, who also report income below $10,000 in much smaller proportions than recent immigrants.

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

Earlier immigrants are highly represented in the middle range of income of $10,000 to $30,000.

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, Hamilton 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 10,420 48,460 74,450 38,960 21,440 193,720
Immigrants 4,560 18,630 34,210 11,880 5,760 75,030
 Immigrated before 1986 2,280 11,320 26,040 9,480 4,850 53,950
 Immigrated 1986-1995 1,430 5,050 6,320 2,040 730 15,560
 Immigrated 1996-1999 850 2,270 1,860 370 180 5,520
Men
Canadian-born 6,790 30,490 43,550 45,280 55,750 181,850
Immigrants 1,440 8,360 23,160 17,710 18,070 68,740
 Immigrated before 1986 140 4,040 17,370 13,090 14,950 49,590
 Immigrated 1986-1995 840 2,910 3,980 3,690 2,570 13,980
 Immigrated 1996-1999 470 1,420 1,810 940 560 5,180
Total
Canadian-born 17,200 78,950 117,990 84,240 77,180 375,560
Immigrants 5,990 26,990 57,360 29,600 23,830 143,770
 Immigrated before 1986 2,430 15,350 43,400 22,570 19,800 103,540
 Immigrated 1986-1995 2,260 7,960 10,300 5,740 3,300 29,540
 Immigrated 1996-1999 1,310 3,680 3,660 1,300 740 10,700
  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 5% 25% 38% 20% 11% 100% $23,740
Immigrants 6% 25% 46% 16% 8% 100% $20,950
Immigrated before 1986 4% 21% 48% 18% 9% 100% $22,900
Immigrated 1986-1995 9% 32% 41% 13% 5% 100% $17,190
Immigrated 1996-1999 15% 41% 34% 7% 3% 100% $12,550
Men
Canadian-born 4% 17% 24% 25% 31% 100% $40,400
Immigrants 2% 12% 34% 26% 26% 100% $38,350
Immigrated before 1986 0% 8% 35% 26% 30% 100% $42,270
Immigrated 1986-1995 6% 21% 28% 26% 18% 100% $30,080
Immigrated 1996-1999 9% 27% 35% 18% 11% 100% $23,050
Total
Canadian-born 5% 21% 31% 22% 21% 100% $31,800
Immigrants 4% 19% 40% 21% 17% 100% $29,270
Immigrated before 1986 2% 15% 42% 22% 19% 100% $32,170
Immigrated 1986-1995 8% 27% 35% 19% 11% 100% $23,280
Immigrated 1996-1999 12% 34% 34% 12% 7% 100% $17,630

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 similar

In 2000, recent immigrant households had an average income of $56,400, or 88% of the income of Canadian-born households. Unlike the situation in Canada as a whole, recent immigrant households in Hamilton have average incomes that are lower than those of Canadian-born households. The income of households consisting only of very recent immigrants is just 59% 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, Hamilton 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 27,890 31,640 29,970 25,880 45,300 160,680 $64,350
17% 20% 19% 16% 28% 100%
Earlier immigrants 9,760 15,310 11,790 10,550 21,180 68,580 $67,530
14% 22% 17% 15% 31% 100%
Recent immigrants 3,710 4,310 4,450 3,030 4,490 19,960 $56,360
21% 21% 21% 15% 21% 100%
 1986-1995 immigrants 2,450 2,960 3,080 2,280 3,570 14,310 $58,890
17% 21% 21% 16% 25% 100%
 1996-1999 immigrants
 with others
220 430 700 370 690 2,400 $66,270
13% 20% 26% 15% 26% 100%
 1996-1999 immigrants
  only
1,050 920 680 380 230 3,250 $37,850
43% 25% 17% 10% 6% 100%
All households 43,450 52,030 46,570 39,760 71,290 253,080 $64,080
17% 21% 18% 16% 28% 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 in three households consisting of only very recent immigrants has income of less than $20,000, in spite of large size. As for households that combine very recent immigrants with other persons, their relatively high average 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.

More than one-third of very recent immigrants have low income

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 their length of stay in Canada of the cohort.

The share of very recent immigrants whose family or individual income is below one-half of the median income is between two and three times as large as that of the Canadian-born. The proportion of very recent immigrants with income below the median is also much higher, with three out of four in this situation. Although earlier immigrant households have higher average income than Canadian-born households, a larger proportion of earlier immigrants have income below the median.

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, Hamilton 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 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, where incomes below the median are as common or more common for younger age groups. Those who immigrated during the 1986-1995 period occupy a middle ground.

In all age and gender groups except women of 65 years old and over, the proportion of persons with income below the overall median is much higher among very recent immigrants than among the Canadian-born.

Nearly four out of ten immigrants who landed between 1996 and 1999 have low incomes or live in low-income families, with income below one-half of the median. This share is between two and three times as large as that of the Canadian-born. Older very recent immigrants are the closest to the Canadian-born with regard to the likelihood of low income. Older recent immigrant women are much less likely than men to have low income or live in low-income families.

Table E-7: Immigrants by period of immigration and Canadian-born—family or individual income below the median, by age and gender, Hamilton 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 26,970 14,690 51,820 19,420 112,910
Immigrants 2,010 3,020 23,870 14,840 43,760
 Immigrated before 1986 260 14,140 14,110 28,520
 Immigrated 1986-1995 810 1,940 6,630 600 9,980
 Immigrated 1996-1999 1,210 830 3,100 130 5,270
Men
Canadian-born 29,060 13,030 43,310 13,690 99,080
Immigrants 2,150 2,810 19,690 12,210 36,880
 Immigrated before 1986 300 11,540 11,650 23,510
 Immigrated 1986-1995 1,020 1,700 5,370 410 8,490
 Immigrated 1996-1999 1,140 820 2,780 150 4,890
Total
Canadian-born 56,030 27,720 95,120 33,110 211,990
Immigrants 4,160 5,830 43,550 27,040 80,640
 Immigrated before 1986 550 25,680 25,760 52,020
 Immigrated 1986-1995 1,820 3,630 12,000 1,010 18,460
 Immigrated 1996-1999 2,340 1,650 5,880 280 10,160
 
Women
Canadian-born 46% 41% 40% 66% 45%
Immigrants 70% 62% 49% 70% 56%
 Immigrated before 1986 41% 42% 71% 53%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 62% 62% 58% 62% 59%
 Immigrated 1996-1999 77% 75% 74% 58% 74%
Men
Canadian-born 47% 36% 35% 65% 41%
Immigrants 72% 57% 43% 68% 51%
 Immigrated before 1986 41% 36% 68% 47%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 64% 55% 53% 58% 55%
 Immigrated 1996-1999 80% 74% 72% 78% 74%
Total
Canadian-born 47% 38% 38% 66% 43%
Immigrants 71% 60% 46% 69% 54%
 Immigrated before 1986 41% 39% 70% 50%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 63% 58% 55% 60% 57%
 Immigrated 1996-1999 79% 74% 73% 67% 74%

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, Hamilton 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 9,800 6,210 18,220 4,140 38,350
Immigrants 1,010 1,620 9,260 4,260 16,150
 Immigrated before 1986 150 5,050 4,020 9,210
 Immigrated 1986-1995 420 980 2,700 200 4,290
 Immigrated 1996-1999 590 490 1,520 50 2,650
Men
Canadian-born 10,360 4,800 13,350 3,970 32,460
Immigrants 1,190 1,310 6,730 4,830 14,020
 Immigrated before 1986 130 3,420 4,550 8,080
 Immigrated 1986-1995 560 750 1,910 200 3,410
 Immigrated 1996-1999 630 430 1,400 80 2,530
Total
Canadian-born 20,150 11,010 31,570 8,100 70,810
Immigrants 2,200 2,920 15,990 9,090 30,160
 Immigrated before 1986 280 8,470 8,570 17,290
 Immigrated 1986-1995 980 1,730 4,610 400 7,700
 Immigrated 1996-1999 1,220 920 2,920 130 5,180
 
Women
Canadian-born 17% 17% 14% 14% 15%
Immigrants 35% 33% 19% 20% 21%
 Immigrated before 1986 23% 15% 20% 17%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 32% 31% 23% 21% 25%
 Immigrated 1996-1999 38% 44% 36% 20% 37%
Men
Canadian-born 17% 13% 11% 19% 13%
Immigrants 40% 26% 15% 27% 20%
 Immigrated before 1986 18% 11% 27% 16%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 35% 24% 19% 28% 22%
 Immigrated 1996-1999 44% 38% 36% 43% 38%
Total
Canadian-born 17% 15% 13% 16% 14%
Immigrants 37% 30% 17% 23% 20%
 Immigrated before 1986 21% 13% 23% 17%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 34% 28% 21% 24% 24%
 Immigrated 1996-1999 41% 41% 36% 30% 38%

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: