Jack Jedwab



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Who Wants to Come to Canada? If world’s potential migrants had their way Canada would have very considerable brain gain over the United States
Jack Jedwab

Executive Director

Association for Canadian Studies
and
Susan Hardwick

Professor of Geography

University of Oregon, (Eugene)

June 2010

How does immigration to the United States compare with Canada and what impact will future immigrants have on the demographic composition of the two countries? Newly released figures for immigration in Canada for the year 2009 appear to show little change over the previous year. However there have been some noteworthy differences. There was a reduction in the number of family members of immigrants in the economic category and increases in the numbers of provincial nominees, live-in-care givers and foreign students. In the United States between 2008 and 2009 there was an increase in family-based immigration and a decrease in the employed-based category.
In Canada, the decline in the number of family members is not apparent due to an immigrant classification system which rolls most spouses and dependents of principal applicants into the economic category. For some this system of classification makes it appear as though Canada is far more selective when it comes to immigrant admission. By contrast in the United States all family members are listed as family class and hence some two-thirds of Americans are admitted under that category compared to one-quarter of Canadians. However a re-casting of the Canadian figures according to the US method of classification reveals that in 2009 a slight majority of Canadians would be identified as family class immigrants thus narrowing the gap somewhat with the US in this regard. Still even under that classification the share of primary economic immigrants to Canada remains twenty points higher than is the case in the US. As observed in the table below, there has been growth in the percentage of principal applicants relative to spouses and dependents in the economic category.
Table 1

Classification of Immigrants to Canada by Categories and the re-classification according the official criteria employed in the United States, 2005-2009




Permanent residents

Category

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

Family class

63,361

70,512

66,238

65,574

65,187

%

24.1

28.0

28.0

26.5

25.8

Economic immigrants

156,312

138,251

131,244

149,071

153,458

%

59.5

55.0

53.1

60.2

60.8

Refugees

35,776

32,499

27,955

21,860

22,844

Other immigrants (Mostly Humanitarian and Compassionate Cases)

6,790

10,378

11,316

10,739

10,634

Category not stated

2

2

1

2

1

Total

262,241

251,642

236 754

247 246

252 124

Re-cast Family Class Numbers

151 401

141 028

130 213

134 910

129 133

%

57.6

56.1

55.1

54.6

52.0

Re-Cast Economic Class (principal applicants)

68 272

67 735

67 269

79 735

89 512

%

25.9

27.0

28.4

32.2

35.5

Source: Citizenship and Immigration Canada, RDM, Preliminary 2009 Data.
A major difference between the two countries is in their respective source countries of immigrants. For its part, the United States has admitted considerably greater numbers of immigrants from Mexico and the Americas than Canada which admits a far more significant share from Asia (east and south).
As noted above the source countries of immigration to Canada and the United States diverge mainly around the share of immigrants from Latin America and Asia and the Middle East.

Table 2


2006

Canada

United States

Immigrants (Canada 15 years and over)

5 841 245

37 679 592

(Northern America) United States of America and Canada

3.8

2,2

Americas (Central America/Caribbean

11.2

53.4

Europe

38,2

13,2

Africa

5.8

3.7

Asia and the Middle East

40,8

26.9

Sources: “American Community Survey” Census of the United States, 2006 and Statistics Canada, Census of Canada, 2006

Between 2008 and 2009, the numbers of foreign students in Canada increased by over 10%. The number of temporary foreign workers declined by a near equivalent amount and after continued growth in the number of temporary workers in the past few years the number finally dropped between 2008 and 2009.


Table 3

Total Canada

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

Foreign Students

167,145

170,089

175,933

178,037

196,227

Foreign workers

122,708

139,076

164,855

192,373

178,640

Source: Citizenship and Immigration Canada, RDM, Preliminary 2009 Data.
Although the total number of immigrants to Canada rose by 2% between 2008 and 2009, the only two groups within the “economic” category to experience any increase were “provincial nominees” and “live-in caregivers”. (see appendix)



Who Wants to Come to the United States and Canada


The United States and Canada are the two most attractive destination countries for people around the globe that express an interest in migrating if they could. (Gallup, November 2, 2009). A Gallup survey released…revealed that of the 700 million that indicated such interest, 165 million would prefer the United States (24%) with Canada the second choice at 45 million (7%). However a more detailed analysis recently released by Gallup (April 30, 2010) reveals that: “…individually, both countries appeal to people from different parts of the world. Gallup finds the U.S. appeals more to the youngest and least educated adults, while those who choose Canada are on average slightly older and more educated.”

Source: Neli Esipova, Julie Ray, and Rajesh Srinivasan. “Young, Less Educated Yearn to Migrate to the U.S., Canada more attractive to older, more educated adult”, April 30, 2010


Gallup analysts Neli Esipova, Julie Ray, and Rajesh Srinivasan partly attribute the differences to the emphasis each country's immigration policy places on different categories of migrants.”

As observed above immigration statistics in the United States reveal that family-sponsored migrants constitute the largest yearly percentage of legal permanent residents followed by workers. Espiova et al. maintain that the reverse is true in Canada, where government migration statistics show applicants with higher levels of education, job experience, and skills making up the largest portion of legal permanent residents, and those in the family category make up the second-largest portion. But the recasting of the data on immigrants received in the two countries suggests that the substantial gap between the United States and Canada when it comes to “family class” immigrants is to some degree a function of the differential classification systems. Nonetheless, census data in Canada and data from the American Community Survey in the United States reveals that recent immigrants to Canada are more likely to possess university degrees than those entering the United States.

This in part explains differences between median employment income of immigrants in Canada and the United States. In 2006 immigrants earned 44 170 in Canada versus 34 400 in the United States. In the case of non-immigrants the total in both countries was approximately 47 000 dollars. Hence the gap between the median employment income for immigrants and non-immigrants is far greater in the United States that it is in Canada. This does not imply that Canada offers more equity for immigrants than the United States. To demonstrate that one would need to compare the level of income of immigrants with similar levels of education in the two countries.

Rightly or wrongly it may be that Canada is seen by potential immigrants as a country that targets immigration which can support a knowledge economy while the United States has a greater need for immigration that can fill shortages in sectors of the economy that require unskilled labor.


Another explanation offered by Esipova et al. is that “while the U.S. and Canada have long histories as major immigrant-receiving countries, they also differ in how they welcome new migrants and integrate them into their societies economically, politically, socially, and culturally. Canada's government actively assists migrants when they arrive, including providing free language-training vouchers.” The United States on the other hand, according to a 2009 Independent Task Force report on immigration policy, has no national integration policy and provides little support for English-language classes. While that is accurate it is difficult to weigh the importance of this factor in the contemplating whether one prefers Canada or the United States.



But underlying the discrepancy in the preference that more educated immigrants have for Canada and the United States is the question of their awareness of the respective resources offered by the countries. We are also unaware from Gallup survey findings of what potential migrants know about the two countries and by consequence unable to do more than speculate around whether they are attracted by the prospect of increased services offered by Canada.

(Gallup's findings on adults' desire to move to other countries are based on interviews with 347,713 adults across multiple surveys in 148 countries between 2007 and 2009. The 148 countries represent more than 95% of the world's adult population).

As Gallup's data points out, if those who wished to migrate to the U.S. and Canada actually did so, the biggest numbers would come from Asia, followed by sub-Saharan Africa and the Americas. Gallup numbers further reveal that in Latin America, the United States has a slight edge over Canada among those interested in migrating. Canada is more attractive to potential migrants in Europe – notably those in the European Union -- and the Middle East and North Africa.

Yet another Gallup study focused potential migrants from Mexico reveals that if they had the opportunity nearly two million Mexicans would move to Canada putting us behind the United States but ahead of Spain as their desired destination.




Lydia Saad. “In U.S., Canada Places First in Image Contest; Iran Last: Favorable views of Russia, Palestinian Authority up slightly; views of Iraq down”, Gallup Poll, February 19, 2010


The table below raises an interesting question around the desired destination and host country admission. Preferences may be conditioned by knowledge of people or communities in the host countries on the part of the potential migrant. That Canada has a relatively low share of migrants from Latin America may have an impact on its attraction to people from that region. Knowledge about the “desired” country influence the preferred location.


Source: Neli Esipova, Julie Ray, and Rajesh Srinivasan. “Young, Less Educated Yearn to Migrate to the U.S., Canada more attractive to older, more educated adult”, Gallup Poll, April 30, 2010


The degree of knowledge about the desired country may help us understand the Gallup finding that in most regions, the United States is more appealing than Canada to 15- to 24-year-old potential migrants. This is particularly apparent in East Asia and the European Union but less so in sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia where the age distribution amongst potential migrants is roughly the same for the United States and Canada. It may be that persons with lower education feel the prospects for mobility are better in the United States than they are in Canada and conversely those with higher education think opportunity is stronger in Canada.


Source: Neli Esipova, Julie Ray, and Rajesh Srinivasan. Young, Less Educated Yearn to Migrate to the U.S., Canada more attractive to older, more educated adult, Gallup Poll April 30, 2010


If Canada is disproportionately the less appealing destination to the globe’s youngest persons than the United States, the former holds the edge when it comes to the world’s most educated and this across persons on all regions surveyed. This is most apparent among those in the European Union, East Asia, and Southeast Asia who would like to relocate to either of these nations.


Source: Neli Esipova, Julie Ray, and Rajesh Srinivasan. Young, Less Educated Yearn to Migrate to the U.S., Canada more attractive to older, more educated adult, Gallup Poll, April 30, 2010


The Gallup data further reveal that the while younger persons may be less educated on average within each age group, the United States is still more likely than Canada to attract the least educated.

.


Gallup Survey Methods

Gallup results are based on telephone and face-to-face interviews with 347,713 adults across multiple administrations of surveys in 148 countries between 2007 and 2009. Results among adults who would like to move to another country are based on a total sample of 75,125. The 148 countries represent more than 95% of the world's adult population. Gallup's use of standardized question wording and survey methods enable the data to be reliably compared across countries and regions.

For most countries, aggregated sample sizes (across three years of surveys) range between 1,000 and 3,000 interviews. One can say with 95% confidence that the margin of sampling error, accounting for weighting and sample design, is 0.5% for the sample of adults who would like to migrate and ranges from ±2 percentage points to ±2.5 percentage points within regions. Results are projected to the total population of each country, aged 15 and older, using 2008 World Bank population estimates.


Esipova and Ray point to another possible explanation for the respective rates of attraction to various countries on the part of migrants. In yet another Gallup study (May 21, 2010), they contend that country's political leadership matters to potential migrants. Generally potential migrants offer higher approval ratings to the leadership of the country they would like to move to than those who want to move to other countries. This is the case among migrants that would be interested in moving to the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Japan, Russia, France, and Germany.

Espiova and Ray observe that with the exception of those who want to move to the United States, potential migrants are more likely to offer an opinion about the leadership performance of their preferred destination than those who want to migrate elsewhere. They cite Canada as an example where amongst its prospective migrants some 14% say they don't have an opinion of the country's leadership, compared with 31% among those who want to move to any of the other top 15 desired destination countries.

The table below reveals amongst those making Canada their first choice they have the lowest rate of disapproval of the country’s leaders. Canada also has the lowest rate of disapproval amongst those making the top fifteen destination countries their first choice. On the other hand those choosing Canada have the highest rate saying that they don’t know about the county’s leadership. The percentage indicating they don’t know may lend support to the notion that knowledge of Canada and the United States may play a role in the choice of one’s preferred destination.


Source: Cynthia English, “Global Perceptions of U.S. Leadership Improve in 2009: A world median of 51% approves of the leadership of the U.S.” Gallup Poll, February 9, 2010


Canada versus the United States: More brains, fewer bodies?

Both Canada and the United States have done projections of the future composition of their respective populations (though the US projections are based on year 2000 census data and will undoubtedly be updated with the results from the 2010 census). By 2031 it is estimated that some 20% of the Canadian population will be of Asian origins compared to 6.3% in the United States. On the other hand, the projected size of the Latin American population in Canada is estimated at 1.7% compared with 23% for the US Hispanic population, a considerable difference between the two countries.

Table 4

Projection Series1, Race,
and Hispanic Origin2 and Visible Minority in Canada


2030

2031

NATIONAL PROJECTIONS

United States

Canada

.One race

97,4

98.5

.White/Not Visible Minority

76,6

68.2

.Black

13,0

4.3

.AIAN/Aboriginal

1,2

4.5

.Asian

6,3

21.5

.NHPI/Native Hawain and Pacific Islander

0,2

-

.Two or More Races/Other

2,6

1.5

B Breakdown for White Population in the United States and percentage Latin American in Canada

.White/Not Visible Minority

76,6

-

.Non-Hispanic White alone

55,5

-

.Hispanic/Latin American

23,0

1.7

Sources: Projections of the population of the United States from the Bureau of the Census of the United States; Éric Caron Malenfant, André Lebel and Laurent Martel “Projections of the Diversity of the Canadian Population, 2006 to 2031” Released by Statistics Canada, March 9, 2010

If the patterns hold up Canada is likely to have an increasing share of the population with university degrees and its challenge will be to meet the expectations of the population and reduce gaps accordingly.


Sources:


“American Community Survey” Census of the United States, 2006

Bureau of the Census of the United States., Projections of the population of the United States from the Census of the United States

Caron Malenfant, Éric, Lebel, André and Martel, Laurent “Projections of the Diversity of the Canadian Population, 2006 to 2031” Released by Statistics Canada, March 9, 2010


Citizenship and Immigration Canada, RDM, Preliminary 2009 Data

Clifton, Jon “Roughly 6.2 Million Mexicans Express Desire to Move to U.S.” Gallup Poll, June 7, 2010

English, Cynthia. “Global Perceptions of U.S. Leadership Improve in 2009: A world median of 51% approves of the leadership of the U.S” Gallup Poll, February 9, 2010


Esipova , Neli, Ray, Julie, and Srinivasan ,Rajesh. “Young, Less Educated Yearn to Migrate to the U.S.Canada more attractive to older, more educated adults,” Gallup Poll, April 30, 2010

Saad, Lydia. “In U.S., Canada Places First in Image Contest; Iran Last:Favorable views of Russia, Palestinian Authority up slightly; views of Iraq down,” Gallup Poll, February 19, 2010


Statistics Canada, Census of Canada, 2006

United States Department of Homeland Security, Fiscal Years, 2007-2009


Appendix

Canada – Permanent residents by category, 2005-2009




Number

Category

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

Skilled workers - principal applicants

52,269

44,161

41,251

43,360

40,729

Skilled workers - spouses and dependants

77,969

61,783

56,601

60,374

55,205

Entrepreneurs - principal applicants

750

820

581

446

372

Entrepreneurs - spouses and dependants

2,098

2,273

1,579

1,255

943

Self-employed - principal applicants

302

320

203

164

179

Self-employed - spouses and dependants

714

632

373

341

358

Investors - principal applicants

2,591

2,201

2,025

2,832

2,872

Investors - spouses and dependants

7,020

5,830

5,420

7,370

7,437

Canadian Experience Class - principal applicants

0

0

0

0

1,774

Canadian Experience Class - spouse and dependants

0

0

0

0

770

Provincial/territorial nominees - principal applicants

2,643

4,672

6,329

8,343

11,799

Provincial/territorial nominees - spouses and dependants

5,404

8,664

10,765

14,075

18,570

Live-in caregivers - principal applicants

3,063

3,547

3,433

6,157

6,272

Live-in caregivers - spouses and dependants

1,489

3,348

2,684

4,354

6,178

Economic immigrants

156,312

138,251

131,244

149,071

153,458

Refugees

35,776

32,499

27,955

21,860

22,844

Other immigrants (Mostly Humanitarian and Compassionate Cases)

6,790

10,378

11,316

10,739

10,634

Category not stated

2

2

1

2

1

Total

262,241

251,642

236 754

247 246

252 124

Source: Citizenship and Immigration Canada, RDM, Preliminary 2009 Data.

With the exception of the Atlantic provinces, Quebec and Saskatchewan the other provinces had noticeable declines in the numbers of temporary foreign workers between 2008 and 2009.




Canada – Total entries of foreign workers by province or territory and urban area, 2005-2009



foreign workers

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

Total Canada

122,708

139,076

164,855

192,373

178,640

Newfoundland and Labrador

1,297

972

1,247

1,305

1,398

Prince Edward Island

177

210

218

446

521

Nova Scotia

1,498

1,706

1,670

2,132

2,795

New Brunswick

935

1,043

1,293

1,714

1,705

Montréal

12,600

13,812

15,383

15,760

19,882

Quebec

19,128

20,238

22,490

24,208

27,797

Toronto

16,699

19,187

22,742

26,349

25,548

Ottawa-Gatineau

2,980

3,041

3,116

3,009

2,726

Ontario

54,111

59,080

64,044

66,707

61,081

Winnipeg

1,400

1,759

2,152

2,010

1,729

Manitoba

2,420

2,996

3,927

4,192

3,651

Saskatchewan

1,753

1,898

2,475

3,652

3,936

Calgary

4,591

6,103

8,804

11,549

8,903

Edmonton

2,145

3,023

6,124

8,283

6,206

Alberta

12,681

18,515

29,372

39,080

28,614

Vancouver

16,817

18,127

19,567

24,857

24,400

Victoria

978

508

538

320

1,468

British Columbia

27,951

31,077

36,478

46,932

44,381

Province/territory not stated

358

789

950

1,476

2,201

Source: Citizenship and Immigration Canada, RDM, Preliminary 2009 Data.

Present statistic measures the number of temporary residents with a valid document on December 1st of the observation year. A temporary resident who has been granted permanent resident status on or before the observation date (December 1) is excluded from the count from their grant date onwards. Temporary residents are grouped according to the principal reason for residing in Canada during the calendar year.



Present on December 1st by province or territory and urban area, 2005-2009





Foreign students

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

Total Canada

167,145

170,089

175,933

178,037

196,227

Newfoundland and Labrador

1,049

1,202

1,377

1,516

1,524

Prince Edward Island

344

404

476

517

651

Nova Scotia

5,460

5,473

5,439

5,798

6,614

New Brunswick

3,242

3,182

3,228

3,258

3,283

Montréal

19,563

19,732

20,740

21,471

23,873

Quebec

25,201

25,888

27,039

27,971

30,603

Toronto

34,970

34,741

35,801

35,700

40,288

Ottawa-Gatineau

5,841

5,975

6,017

5,818

6,242

Hamilton

4,524

4,262

4,202

4,204

4,582

London

2,816

3,009

3,342

3,704

4,213

Kitchener

1,745

1,852

1,979

2,027

2,210

St. Catharines-Niagara

1,650

1,786

1,786

1,834

2,086

Other Ontario

5,719

6,334

6,473

6,632

7,580

Ontario

62,825

63,801

65,477

65,773

73,028

Winnipeg

3,902

4,356

4,594

4,257

4,667

Manitoba

4,971

5,144

5,254

4,867

5,384

Saskatchewan

3,734

3,491

3,526

3,652

3,970

Edmonton

4,869

4,951

5,586

6,065

7,070

Calgary

4,943

5,336

5,742

5,807

6,101

Alberta

12,430

12,955

13,837

14,394

15,592

Vancouver

33,617

33,790

35,285

35,047

39,574

British Columbia

47,778

48,464

50,180

50,205

55,508

*Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut

Source: Citizenship and Immigration Canada, RDM, Preliminary 2009 Data.

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