May 22, 2019 – Established Canadian immigrants were wealthier than their Canada-born counterparts in 2016, new data from Statistics Canada shows.
Immigrant families with major earners aged 45 to 64 who had been in Canada for 20 years or more were worth an average $1.06 million in 2016. Their Canadian-born counterparts were worth nearly $980,000.
The data shows that the longer an immigrant family has been in Canada, the wealthier they are and the more likely they are to be wealthier than their Canadian counterparts.
Immigrant families with major earners aged 35 to 54, who had been in Canada between 10 and 19 years in 2016, were worth approaching $575,695, compared to $658,607 for the Canadian-born.
But the gap is closing, with the average wealth of 10-19 years immigrants up 134 per cent since 1999, compared to an 87 per cent rise in the wealth of the Canadian-born.
The same is true for newly-arrived immigrants. Families with major earners aged 25 to 44 in Canada for less than 10 years had an average wealth of $271,935 in 2016, compared to $347,577 for their Canadian-born equivalents.
However, newly-arrived immigrants have seen their average family wealth grow by 146 per cent since 1999, compared to growth of just 70 per cent for the Canadian-born.
The study, entitled ‘The Wealth of Immigrant Families in Canada’, was released by Statistics Canada on Tuesday April 16, 2019.
It used data collected in Surveys of Financial Security conducted in 1999, 2005, 2012 and 2016.
“While many studies have documented the financial characteristics of immigrants in Canada in terms of low income and labour market outcomes, the wealth of immigrant families has received relatively little attention,” the survey said.
“The study finds that the wealth of both immigrant families and Canadian-born families grew substantially from 1999 to 2016.
“Relative wealth differences narrowed substantially over time. In 2016, the median wealth of the 1999 cohort of Canadian-born families was only 1.03 times higher than that of the 1999 cohort of recent immigrant families, down from 3.25 in 1999.”
The survey also showed that average immigrant wealth is growing faster for new immigrants that it is for more established immigrants.
Average wealth for families in Canada less than 10 years with the major earner aged 25 to 44 increased by 146 per cent between 1999 and 2016, compared to 70 per cent for those in Canada more than 20 years.
While earning were significantly more for the established bracket, the growth rate was also less than half of the percentage for new immigrants.
The most significant contributor to immigrant wealth growth between 1999 and 2016 was housing equity, accounting for 69 per cent of the wealth increase for established immigrant families.
Also significant was pension value, with registered pension plan assets accounting for 17 per cent of wealth increases.
“The study also shows that the wealth growth of immigrant and Canadian-born families were driven by different assets during the 1999-to-2016 period,” the report says.
“Increases in both housing wealth and the value of RPP assets were key drivers of wealth growth for Canadian-born families. For immigrant families, increases in housing wealth played a more prominent role, while increases in RPP assets played a secondary role.”
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