The following is from The Toronto Star which can be read in its entirety here.
Small is better for immigrants
Newcomers who settle in towns earn more than big-city peers, StatsCan finds
Jan 26, 2008 04:30 AM
Contrary to conventional wisdom, immigrants in smaller Canadian cities and rural areas fare better financially than those who flock to Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal.
Newcomers to small towns earned on average 14 per cent less than native-born residents during their first three years in Canada, a Statistics Canada study released yesterday found. But their big-city peers earned 37 per cent less.
The small-town advantage became more pronounced over time. Not only did the income gap narrow in small urban centres, by the fourth year immigrants earned slightly more on average than the native-born population. By the 11th year, their earnings were 18 per cent above the median.
Big-city immigrants earned 22 per cent less than Canadian-born workers after four years, and almost 10 per cent less after 12 years.
This statistic shouldn't be used to distract us from the other Statistic that reminds us that over all immigrants earn less than Canadians and immigrant productivity levels have been decreasing for the past 20-25 years. To assume that all an immigrant has to do to improve his or her lot in Canada is to move to a smaller city or town is nonsense. But there is something else to this that needs consideration.
Demographics explain some of the disparity, said Margaret Walton-Roberts, geography professor at Wilfrid Laurier University. Three-quarters of immigrants in smaller cities were fluent in an official language, compared with 61.5 per cent of those in large cities.
While 61 per cent of the small-town immigrants were from Europe and the United States, those groups represented only 24 per cent of the big-city newcomers.
So 75% of immigrants who settled to smaller towns were fluent in either English or French and 61% were from either the United States or Europe. This would explain why they move to smaller cities and towns. It's because they are more comfortable doing so because they are the most culturally and ethnically similar to us. This may also explain their relative success. These immigrants may most likely be entering the country as a skilled immigrant and not some sponsored relative. This means that they have a University education or in some applied trade. For instance you rarely, if ever, see anyone of Asian or South Asian extraction working on a construction site or in a related field of work. Also we should note that American and European immigrants are not flooding our immigration system like Asian and South Asian immigrants are. Indian and Chinese immigrants, the top two immigrant groups to this country respectively, make a disproportionate amount of immigrants to this country seemingly in a steeple chase to see who can displace the host population first. A lot of this has to do with family sponsorships which is especially true for South Asian immigrants. Also, Asian and South Asian immigrants are most likely to use Canada's refugee system as another avenue to entry. The refugee stream, it should be noted, does not place any emphasis on job skills or language skills.
This news article supports what I advocate for our immigration system. First, we should decrease the immigration numbers to around 60-80,000 immigrants a year focusing exclusively on job skills and language skills. Second, and equally important, we should favour immigrants who are the most culturally and ethnically similar to us (I advocate this for any country mind you). The reduced numbers and culturally and ethnically similar immigrants will take the pressure of our large cities, curb urban sprawl, and combat ethnic enclaving and ghettoizing and growing poverty trends. I can see nothing but good things happening if we do so. Right now nothing but the opposite is happening.
However the article does have this to add.
Despite their success in small centres, Jacquie Rumiel, who heads the Y's New Canadians program, said many of her clients struggle with job barriers.
"I have mixed response to the report findings," she said. "Their success very much depends on labour market trends and the willingness of employers to recognize their education and job experience."
Canada imports 250,000-300,000 people are year irrespective of labour market trends. This is why we need reform.