Chronic Low Income Among Immigrants in Canada and Its Communities

Garnett Picot and Yuqian Lu, Statistics Canada, September 29, 2017

Abstract

This paper examines the rate of chronic low income among immigrants aged 25 or older in Canada during the 2000s. Chronic low income is defined as having a family income under a low-income cut-off for five consecutive years or more. A regionally adjusted low-income measure is used for the analysis. Among immigrants who were in low income in any given year, about one-half were in chronic low income. The highest chronic rates were observed among immigrant seniors, as well as immigrants who were unattached or lone parents. There were large differences in the chronic low-income rate by immigrant place of birth, even after adjusting for differences in other immigrant background characteristics. The chronic low-income rate was lower among economic class immigrants than among family or refugee classes, but the difference was reduced after adjusting for background characteristics. Chronic low-income rates among immigrants varied significantly across the 29 cities/regions in the study, varying by a factor of 5 between the highest and lowest rates. However, the community ranking was not static and changed significantly between the beginning and end of the 2000s.

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