Trends in occupational and earnings attainments of women immigrants to Canada, 1971-1996

Richard A. Wanner, Michelle Ambrose


This study examines the extent to which immigrant women arriving in Canada
between the 1960s and the early 1990s were able to attain occupations and
earnings equivalent to those of Canadian-born women using a data file created
by merging public-use microdata files from Censuses of Canada between 1971
and 1996. We study both changes in country of birth effects on the earnings and occupational status of women aged 25 to 29 immigrating prior to each of the five census years and the experience of successive female immigrant cohorts as they age to determine the extent to which the effects of birthplace on occupational status and earnings change over their careers. In both cases we find a considerable advantage associated with being educated in Canada compared to being educated abroad. For those visible minority immigrants just beginning their careers in Canada, we could find no evidence that more recent cohorts have lower attainments than earlier cohorts, though this was true for some European groups. In our analysis of aging cohorts we find evidence of a tendency for immigrant earnings to converge with those of the Canadian born and for that tendency to be stronger in more recent cohorts.

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