Immigrant Children Outperforming Their Canadian Peers in School and in the Workplace

June 16, 2016

By Campbell Cohen Law Firm |

A recent study published by Statistics Canada has 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.

The study, titled Educational and Labour Market Outcomes of Childhood Immigrants by Admission Class, examined the effects of the various admission classes (skilled workers, business immigrants, live-in caregivers, the family class, and refugees) on the university completion rates and earnings of childhood immigrants who arrived in Canada before the age of 18. The study used the 2011 National Household Survey linked with the Immigrant Landing File to analyze children of immigrants, aged 25 to 44, who arrived in Canada between the years 1980 and 2000.

The findings showed that there are large differences in the socioeconomic outcomes of these childhood immigrants based on their parents’ admission class. According to the data, these differences exist 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.

In terms of educational attainment, the children of skilled workers and business immigrants were found to have the highest university completion rates, with 49.7% and 58.9%, respectively, graduating university. Children of refugees had the second highest university completion rates, at an average of 29.9%. These findings show that children of skilled workers, business immigrants, and refugees all have higher average levels of educational attainment than third generation Canadians, of which only 24% graduate university.

Both children of live-in caregivers and those in the family class, however, had lower educational attainment levels than children of Canadian-born parents. These childhood immigrants had a university completion rate approximately one-third of the rate for children of business class immigrants.

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