Immigrant Children Outdoing their Canadian peers

Statistics Canada have recently conducted a study that brought about astounding results by comparing Canadian children and children of immigrants relating to their socio-economic performance. The study, titled Educational and Labour Market Outcomes of Childhood Immigrants by Admission Class found that children of immigrants outperform children with Canadian-born parents in terms of socioeconomic outcomes, with children of immigrants graduating high school at a rate of 91.6%, compared with 88.8% for children who were Canadian at birth.

Examining the outcomes of the different admission classes which includes skilled workers, business immigrants, live-in caregivers, the family class, and refugees, the study focused on the university completion rates and earnings of childhood immigrants who arrived in Canada prior to their 18th birthday. The study also made use of the 2011 National Household Survey in conjunction with the Immigrant Landing File to evaluate children of immigrants, aged between 25 and 44, who came to Canada between the years 1980 and 2000.

The results found in the study reflected vast differences in the socioeconomic outcomes of these childhood immigrants based on their parents’ admission class. According to the data collected, these differences occur for two major reasons:

  • The differences in the parents’ education and official language ability; and
  • The distinctive pre- and post-migration circumstances experienced by the various admission classes.

Regarding tertiary education, it was found that 49.7% and 58.9% of the children of skilled workers and business immigrants had the highest university completion rates respectively. The children of refugees followed with an average of 29.9% university completion rate. In light of these findings, it was concluded that children of skilled workers, business immigrants, and refugees all have higher average levels of educational attainment compared to third generation Canadians, of which only 24% graduate university.

Moreover, the children of economic immigrants were found to have the highest earnings, with the children of both skilled workers and business class immigrants earning an average of more than $46,300, slightly higher than the average for non-immigrant children ($46,100).

It was also found that early exposure to Canadian society can diminish the potential impact of the parents’ level of education or language ability as differences by admission class in the educational outcomes of childhood immigrants were less distinct for children who arrived in Canada at pre-school-age than for those who arrived during adolescence.