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

Part E: Income

Sources and level of income

Sources of income vary by time in Canada

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 immigrants had income from employment. The proportion of recent immigrant men with employment income was close to that of the Canadian-born, while the proportion of recent immigrant women was much smaller in relation to the Canadian-born.

Table E-1: Immigrants by period of immigration and Canadian-born—15 years of age and over—sources of income, by gender, Ottawa Census Metropolitan Area, 2000 (number and percentage)
  No income Employment income Other private income Government transfers Total
Women
Canadian-born 10,380 176,390 90,670 142,550 247,120
Immigrants 4,670 45,820 26,720 49,110 76,510
 Immigrated before 1986 1,310 24,490 19,730 26,920 42,420
 Immigrated 1986-1995 2,140 15,610 5,010 16,020 24,190
 Immigrated 1996-1999 1,230 5,730 1,980 6,180 9,900
Men
Canadian-born 7,040 185,850 76,740 108,620 232,030
Immigrants 2,130 53,400 23,540 39,650 71,650
 Immigrated before 1986 130 28,470 17,560 21,870 39,770
 Immigrated 1986-1995 1,450 17,640 3,940 12,530 22,570
 Immigrated 1996-1999 560 7,290 2,040 5,260 9,320
Total
Canadian-born 17,420 362,240 167,410 251,170 479,150
Immigrants 6,810 99,220 50,240 88,780 148,170
 Immigrated before 1986 1,440 52,960 37,280 48,790 82,190
 Immigrated 1986-1995 3,600 33,240 8,950 28,550 46,760
 Immigrated 1996-1999 1,780 13,020 4,020 11,440 19,220
 
Women
Canadian-born 4% 71% 37% 58% 100%
Immigrants 6% 60% 35% 64% 100%
 Immigrated before 1986 3% 58% 47% 63% 100%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 9% 65% 21% 66% 100%
 Immigrated 1996-1999 12% 58% 20% 62% 100%
Men
Canadian-born 3% 80% 33% 47% 100%
Immigrants 3% 75% 33% 55% 100%
 Immigrated before 1986 0% 72% 44% 55% 100%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 6% 78% 17% 56% 100%
 Immigrated 1996-1999 6% 78% 22% 56% 100%
Total
Canadian-born 4% 76% 35% 52% 100%
Immigrants 5% 67% 34% 60% 100%
 Immigrated before 1986 2% 64% 45% 59% 100%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 8% 71% 19% 61% 100%
 Immigrated 1996-1999 9% 68% 21% 59% 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, except in the case of the earlier immigrant cohorts. The largest increase was observed among the very recent immigrant cohort, with 13% more immigrants in this cohort reporting employment income than in 1995.

Very recent immigrants are much 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. In comparison to 1995, the incidence of zero income in the very recent immigrant cohort for women was 10% lower in 2000, while other cohorts registered smaller decreases in the range of 1% to 5%.

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. Compared to 1995, the proportion of persons in the very recent immigrant cohort with private income has increased by 6%.

The incidence of income from government transfer payments is higher among immigrants than among the Canadian-born. The high proportion of earlier immigrants receiving transfer payments from government likely reflects the high share of seniors in this group, who generally receive Old Age Security and Canada or Quebec Pension Plan benefits. The incidence of transfer payment income has shifted markedly from men to women since 1995, as in 2000 child benefit payments were made 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 who landed between 1996 and 1999 was 70% of that of the Canadian-born and the average income of immigrants who landed between 1986 and 1995 was 74% of that of the Canadian-born. The average income of women who immigrated after 1995, however, was only 62% of that of Canadian-born women. Men and women who immigrated before 1986 had a higher average income than the Canadian-born.

Average income for the employed population of Ottawa as a whole increased in comparison to 1995 by one-third. However, the very recent immigrant cohort experienced a much larger gain. Income was almost twice as high as in 1995 for men in this cohort and more than 50% higher for women in this cohort.

The average income of Canadian-born women is about two-thirds that of Canadian-born men and the average income of immigrant women is about 59% of that of immigrant men.

Earnings from employment account for the bulk of income of all groups and make up a higher proportion of income of recent immigrants than of persons born in Canada. The share of other private income is much lower for recent immigrants, while transfer payments from government make up a larger share of the income of immigrant women than of Canadian-born women.

The employment share of income has increased since 1995 for all cohorts except earlier immigrants. The very recent immigrant cohort experienced the largest increase, about 14%.

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, Ottawa 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 $31,290 76% 14% 10% 100%
Immigrants $27,350 71% 15% 14% 100%
 Immigrated before 1986 $31,530 67% 19% 14% 100%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 $22,730 78% 7% 15% 100%
 Immigrated 1996-1999 $19,320 78% 7% 14% 100%
Men
Canadian-born $47,720 81% 14% 5% 100%
Immigrants $46,130 79% 14% 7% 100%
 Immigrated before 1986 $54,130 74% 18% 8% 100%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 $35,590 89% 5% 6% 100%
 Immigrated 1996-1999 $35,290 90% 5% 5% 100%
Total
Canadian-born $39,290 79% 14% 7% 100%
Immigrants $36,590 76% 14% 10% 100%
 Immigrated before 1986 $42,630 72% 18% 10% 100%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 $29,020 84% 6% 9% 100%
 Immigrated 1996-1999 $27,340 86% 6% 8% 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 well below the Ottawa average. By contrast, earlier immigrants had higher average wages and salaries than both the Ottawa average and 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, Ottawa Census Metropolitan Area, 2000
  Amount Percentage of overall average
Canadian-born $47,010 101%
Immigrants $45,660 98%
 Immigrated before 1986 $52,260 112%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 $38,000 81%
 Immigrated 1996-1999 $37,350 80%
All who worked mostly full-time $46,720 100%

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 in Ottawa, at 80% of the average, is quite high compared to the relative wage and salary income of very recent immigrants in other cities. This number was higher than in 1995 by 21 percentage points.

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

In the year 2000, a large majority of households received government transfer payments. Recent immigrant households were more likely to receive transfer payments than other households. On average, the payments received were the same in dollar terms as for other households and somewhat higher 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 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 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 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 who immigrated during the 1986-1995 period on average received roughly the same amount in transfer payments as earlier immigrants and the Canadian-born, but households of immigrants who landed very recently received 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, Ottawa 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% 70% 69% 100% 76%
Earlier immigrant households 89% 68% 70% 99% 78%
Recent immigrant households 86% 79% 85% 99% 83%
 1986-1995 immigrants 87% 78% 85% 99% 83%
 1996-1999 immigrants with others 81% 80% 82% 100% 82%
 1996-1999 immigrants only 85% 80% 91% 98% 83%
Average amount of transfer per receiving household
Canadian-born households $2,160 $2,720 $3,460 $16,700 $5,380
Earlier immigrant households $2,260 $3,000 $3,300 $17,000 $7,330
Recent immigrant households $1,920 $4,310 $5,300 $16,130 $5,420
 1986-1995 immigrants $1,810 $4,330 $4,990 $16,870 $5,550
 1996-1999 immigrants with others $2,320 $4,810 $6,280 $14,330 $5,930
 1996-1999 immigrants only $2,320 $3,940 $6,180 $11,500 $4,610
Transfers as a share of income, all households
Canadian-born households 7% 3% 3% 32% 6%
Earlier immigrant households 8% 2% 2% 27% 7%
Recent immigrant households 8% 5% 6% 25% 7%
 1986-1995 immigrants 7% 5% 6% 27% 7%
 1996-1999 immigrants with others 6% 6% 6% 16% 6%
 1996-1999 immigrants only 21% 6% 12% 33% 8%

The distribution of income

Personal income surpasses parity after longer stay

Of very recent immigrants, one-half of women and almost one-third of men reported no income or income of less than $10,000 in 2000. The share reporting no income is much higher for recent immigrants than for the Canadian-born.

At the high end of the income scale, recent immigrants are underrepresented. The share of recent immigrants with incomes over $50,000 and over is close to one-half of that of the Canadian-born for women and two-thirds for men.

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, Ottawa 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 10,380 52,340 79,690 58,680 46,050 247,130
Immigrants 4,680 18,510 28,780 13,570 11,020 76,520
 Immigrated before 1986 1,320 7,450 16,680 9,120 7,900 42,420
 Immigrated 1986-1995 2,140 7,280 8,990 3,450 2,350 24,200
 Immigrated 1996-1999 1,230 3,780 3,120 1,010 780 9,910
Men
Canadian-born 7,050 35,850 51,770 54,060 83,330 232,030
Immigrants 2,120 10,290 20,690 14,630 23,940 71,650
 Immigrated before 1986 120 3,220 10,500 9,180 16,760 39,780
 Immigrated 1986-1995 1,450 4,930 7,310 4,110 4,790 22,560
 Immigrated 1996-1999 560 2,140 2,880 1,340 2,400 9,320
Total
Canadian-born 17,420 88,190 131,460 112,720 129,380 479,150
Immigrants 6,820 28,780 49,460 28,170 34,960 148,170
 Immigrated before 1986 1,440 10,660 27,170 18,280 24,650 82,190
 Immigrated 1986-1995 3,600 12,210 16,300 7,550 7,130 46,760
 Immigrated 1996-1999 1,780 5,920 6,000 2,350 3,180 19,220
  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 4% 21% 32% 24% 19% 100% $29 970
Immigrants 6% 24% 38% 18% 14% 100% $25 680
 Immigrated before 1986 3% 18% 39% 21% 19% 100% $30 560
 Immigrated 1986-1995 9% 30% 37% 14% 10% 100% $20 720
 Immigrated 1996-1999 12% 38% 31% 10% 8% 100% $16 930
Men
Canadian-born 3% 15% 22% 23% 36% 100% $46 270
Immigrants 3% 14% 29% 20% 33% 100% $44 750
 Immigrated before 1986 0% 8% 26% 23% 42% 100% $53 950
 Immigrated 1986-1995 6% 22% 32% 18% 21% 100% $33 310
 Immigrated 1996-1999 6% 23% 31% 14% 26% 100% $33 180
Total
Canadian-born 4% 18% 27% 24% 27% 100% $37 870
Immigrants 5% 19% 33% 19% 24% 100% $34 900
 Immigrated before 1986 2% 13% 33% 22% 30% 100% $41 880
 Immigrated 1986-1995 8% 26% 35% 16% 15% 100% $26 790
 Immigrated 1996-1999 9% 31% 31% 12% 17% 100% $24 810

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.

Average household income somewhat lower

In 2000, recent immigrant households had an average income of $66,200, or 88% of the income of Canadian-born households and 78% of the income of earlier immigrant households. For households consisting of very recent immigrants only, average income was 68% of the income 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, Ottawa 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 43,520 56,470 58,830 50,950 101,430 311,180 $69,850
  14% 18% 19% 16% 33% 100%  
Earlier immigrants 5,890 9,800 9,300 9,180 25,350 59,500 $83,600
  10% 16% 16% 15% 43% 100%  
Recent immigrants 6,770 8,070 6,650 5,200 10,980 37,650 $65,000
  18% 21% 18% 14% 29% 100%  
 1986-1995 immigrants 4,410 5,350 4,490 3,610 7,720 25,570 $67,320
  17% 21% 18% 14% 30% 100%  
 1996-1999 immigrants
 with others
470 950 940 780 1,870 5,000 $74,910
  9% 19% 19% 16% 37% 100%  
 1996-1999 immigrants
  only
1,890 1,770 1,220 820 1,390 7,080 $49,660
  27% 25% 17% 12% 20% 100%  
All households 59,290 75,950 75,800 66,010 138,910 415,940 $70,890
  14% 18% 18% 16% 33% 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-quarter of households consisting of only very recent immigrants have income of less than $20,000, in spite of their 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.

Nearly four in ten 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 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, Ottawa 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.

Incomes of the very recent immigrant cohort were better in 2000 than five years earlier. Sixty-six percent of incomes of very recent immigrants were below the median income in 2000, compared to 81% in 1995, and 36% were below one-half of the median income, compared to 49% in 1995. Immigrant cohorts of those who landed five to fifteen years before the census and earlier immigrants also showed improvement. The Canadian-born saw little change, with 41% having income below the median, compared to 42% in 1995. Earlier immigrant cohorts experienced more or less the same changes as the Canadian-born.

The proportion of people with income below the median varies with age. For the Canadian-born and earlier immigrants, the highest proportions are found among seniors. But this is not so for very recent immigrants, where incomes below the median are more common at younger ages. Persons who immigrated during the 1986-1995 period occupy a middle ground.

In all age and gender groups except women 65 years old and over, the proportion of persons with income below the overall median is higher among recent immigrants than among the Canadian-born. However, the differences are much greater for people of working age than for seniors.

Just over one-third of very recent immigrants have low income or live in low-income families. For children, youth and young adults, and seniors the proportion of those with low income of living in low-income families is two-fifths, and for those aged 25 to 64 it is one-third. The gap between very recent immigrants and the Canadian-born is smaller for seniors than for any other age group. For the Canadian-born, low income is most common among seniors, while for very recent immigrants it is most common among 15 to 24 year olds. The incidence of low income declines with longer stay.

Table E-7: Immigrants by period of immigration and Canadian-born—family or individual income below the median by age and gender, Ottawa 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 30,920 20,140 64,140 19,240 134,430
Immigrants 3,370 4,870 27,390 8,050 43,690
 Immigrated before 1986 580 11,860 6,790 19,220
 Immigrated 1986-1995 1,680 3,020 10,560 1,030 16,290
 Immigrated 1996-1999 1,690 1,270 4,980 240 8,180
Men
Canadian-born 33,250 18,500 56,210 12,990 120,920
Immigrants 3,630 4,910 22,920 6,490 37,980
 Immigrated before 1986 590 9,720 5,520 15,860
 Immigrated 1986-1995 1,620 3,060 8,700 780 14,140
 Immigrated 1996-1999 2,010 1,260 4,510 190 7,980
Total
Canadian-born 64,170 38,630 120,350 32,230 255,350
Immigrants 7,000 9,770 50,310 14,540 81,660
 Immigrated before 1986 1,170 21,570 12,310 35,080
 Immigrated 1986-1995 3,300 6,070 19,250 1,800 30,430
 Immigrated 1996-1999 3,700 2,530 9,490 430 16,160
 
Women
Canadian-born 45% 46% 38% 57% 43%
Immigrants 68% 68% 49% 58% 54%
 Immigrated before 1986 51% 40% 59% 45%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 67% 69% 59% 59% 61%
 Immigrated 1996-1999 68% 79% 64% 49% 66%
Men
Canadian-born 46% 42% 35% 54% 40%
Immigrants 71% 63% 44% 57% 50%
 Immigrated before 1986 52% 34% 56% 40%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 71% 61% 54% 62% 57%
 Immigrated 1996-1999 72% 78% 61% 61% 66%
Total
Canadian-born 46% 44% 36% 56% 41%
Immigrants 69% 66% 47% 58% 52%
 Immigrated before 1986 51% 37% 57% 43%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 69% 65% 56% 60% 59%
 Immigrated 1996-1999 70% 78% 63% 54% 66%

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, Ottawa 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 11,940 9,040 20,720 6,200 47,890
Immigrants 1,840 2,780 12,040 3,140 19,800
 Immigrated before 1986 310 4,240 2,460 7,030
 Immigrated 1986-1995 920 1,800 5,120 510 8,330
 Immigrated 1996-1999 930 680 2,680 170 4,450
Men
Canadian-born 12,460 7,360 16,270 3,930 40,010
Immigrants 1,960 2,710 8,980 2,600 16,250
 Immigrated before 1986 270 2,820 2,080 5,170
 Immigrated 1986-1995 830 1,700 3,830 370 6,710
 Immigrated 1996-1999 1,140 750 2,340 150 4,370
Total
Canadian-born 24,390 16,400 36,980 10,130 87,900
Immigrants 3,800 5,490 21,010 5,740 36,040
 Immigrated before 1986 570 7,060 4,540 12,190
 Immigrated 1986-1995 1,740 3,490 8,940 880 15,040
 Immigrated 1996-1999 2,060 1,430 5,020 320 8,820
 
Women
Canadian-born 17% 21% 12% 19% 15%
Immigrants 37% 39% 22% 23% 24%
 Immigrated before 1986 27% 14% 21% 17%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 37% 41% 28% 29% 31%
 Immigrated 1996-1999 37% 42% 34% 35% 36%
Men
Canadian-born 17% 17% 10% 16% 13%
Immigrants 39% 35% 17% 23% 21%
 Immigrated before 1986 23% 10% 21% 13%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 36% 34% 24% 30% 27%
 Immigrated 1996-1999 41% 47% 32% 48% 36%
Total
Canadian-born 17% 19% 11% 18% 14%
Immigrants 38% 37% 20% 23% 23%
 Immigrated before 1986 25% 12% 21% 15%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 36% 37% 26% 29% 29%
 Immigrated 1996-1999 39% 44% 33% 40% 36%

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: