Second-generation immigrants see higher unemployment, lower earnings: Study

Men experience greatest disparity

Second-generation immigrants represent an increasing segment of the Canadian labour force, yet some experience higher unemployment rates and lower earnings, according to a new study.

The majority of children of immigrants (or second generation) have higher university completion rates than children of Canadian-born parents (or third generation) and most have attained some post-secondary education, including colleges and trades.

However, for some, labour market outcomes are less successful, found the study Educational Attainments and Labour Market Outcomes of the Children of Immigrants in Ontario, by Teresa Abada, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Western Ontario in London, Ont., and Sylvia Lin, an analyst with the Council of Ontario Universities.

Second-generation males have higher unemployment rates, including those whose parents came from Jamaica, India, Latin America, Eastern Europe and East Asian countries other than China. These and other groups also have lower earnings compared to third-generation males.

In terms of employment rates and earnings, most second-generation women are not significantly different from third generation, found the study.

The most educated are children of immigrant Chinese, followed by East Asian and Indian. The children of Portuguese and Filipino immigrants have lower university attainment rates although when college and trades are factored in, they have higher attainment rates than children of Canadian-born parents.

The study used data from the 1996 census and the 2006 census and examined the educational attainment, employment and income of second-generation individuals ages 25-34 living in Ontario, as compared to their third-generation counterparts. Ethnic groups were categorized according to the mother's place of birth, or father's if the mother was born in Canada. A total of 26 groups were followed, each with a minimum sample size of at least 500 people in Ontario.

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