Study: Women in Canada: Immigrant women
Over 3.5 million immigrant women and girls were living in Canada in 2011, accounting for about one-fifth of the country's female population. In that same year, 52.3% of the total immigrant population was female compared with 50.8% of Canada's total population. In contrast, 100 years earlier, 38.7% of immigrants were women and girls compared with 47.0% of the total population.
Immigrant women were more likely than their Canadian-born counterparts to hold a university degree. Despite this, unemployment was higher among immigrant women compared with Canadian-born women. Furthermore, university-educated immigrant women were more likely than Canadian-born women to report that they were working in a position that required less education.
These findings are taken from a new chapter, "Immigrant Women," in the seventh edition of Women in Canada, released today. The chapter provides a socioeconomic and demographic profile of immigrant women in Canada, compared with Canadian-born women and immigrant men.
Immigrant women are more likely to be university educated than Canadian-born women
In 2011, 27.7% of immigrant women aged 15 and older had attained a university degree at the bachelor's level or above, compared with 19.2% of same-aged Canadian-born women. A larger proportion of immigrant men (31.2%), compared with immigrant women, had completed a bachelor's level education or higher. In contrast, a smaller proportion of Canadian-born men (16.6%), compared with Canadian-born women, had earned a degree.
Holding a university degree was most common among those of core working age (25 to 54). In 2011, almost 4 in 10 immigrant women in this age group held a university degree at the bachelor's level or above, compared with just over a quarter of same-aged Canadian-born women. The same held true for immigrant men of core working age, where almost 4 in 10 immigrant men had a bachelor's degree or above compared with just over 2 in 10 Canadian-born men in the same age group.
Immigrant women are more likely to be unemployed compared with both Canadian-born women and immigrant men
Despite being more likely to hold a bachelor's level degree or higher, immigrant women were more likely to be unemployed than their Canadian-born counterparts. Within the core working age group, 8.8% of immigrant women were unemployed, compared with 5.2% of Canadian-born women.
Recent immigrant women of core working age had an unemployment rate of 14.7%. However, those who had arrived in Canada prior to 1991 had an unemployment rate that was similar to their Canadian-born counterparts. Although unemployment was higher for recent immigrant men (10.0%) of core working age compared with same-aged Canadian-born men (6.1%), the unemployment rates for Canadian-born men and more established immigrant men—those who had been in Canada between 6 and 10 years—were similar.
Job-to-education mismatch is more common among immigrant women than Canadian-born women
Within the working population, 48.7% of immigrant women of core working age with a bachelor's level education or higher were employed in positions that do not typically require a degree. In contrast, this was the case for 30.0% of Canadian-born women in the same age group. Recent immigrant women were least likely to be employed in positions that matched their education. Of those in the core working age group who had attained a bachelor's level degree or higher, 60.1% were employed in positions that did not match their education level.
Immigrant men were less likely than their female counterparts to report a mismatch between the educational requirements of their occupation and their education level. In the core working age group, 41.0% of male immigrants, overall, and 49.9% of recent immigrants with a bachelor's degree or higher were employed in positions requiring college training or less. Immigrant men were nonetheless more likely than their Canadian-born counterparts (30.0%) to report a mismatch.
Note to readers
The term immigrant refers to a person who is or has ever been a landed immigrant. This is a person who has been granted the right to live in Canada permanently by immigration authorities. Immigrants are either Canadian citizens by naturalization or permanent residents (landed immigrants) under Canadian legislation. Most immigrants are born outside Canada, but a small number are born in Canada. The immigrant population excludes non-permanent residents, who are persons in Canada on a work or study permit, or who are refugee claimants.
The term recent immigrant refers to immigrants who landed in Canada within five years of the date a given survey was conducted, in this case the 2011 National Household Survey.
This release is based on the chapter "Immigrant Women" in Women in Canada: A Gender-based Statistical Report, seventh edition (89-503-X), now available online. From the Browse by key resource module of our website choose Publications.
The publication Women in Canada: A Gender-based Statistical Report is a collaborative effort of Status of Women Canada and Statistics Canada.
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