1. Who did this report? Roderic Beaujot, University of Western Ontario
2. When? 1997-1998; Date of Publication: May 26, 1998
3. Who commissioned the study? Citizenship And Immigration Canada (Special Studies, Strategic Research and Review)
4. Why? This is a follow-up to Charting Canada’s Future, the very large study sponsored by the federal government in the late 1980’s. Like its predecessor, it looks at a considerable amount of research done on Canada’s population and summarizes the research.
5. How long is it? 21 pages
6.. Beaujot’s Executive Summary:
(1) Each fall, C&I recommends immigration levels for the coming year to support the government’s demographic goals.
(2) Difficulty #1: The government of Canada has no official demographic goals.
(3) Difficulty #2: Simplistic conclusions such as Without immigration, the Canada Pension Plan will go bankrupt… have resulted.
(4) We have a vested interest to ensure that the processes (of making decisions about numbers, etc.) operate to produce a net benefit.
(5) Purpose of paper: to review the state of the research regarding the effect of immigration on the evolution of the demographics of Canada. It focuses on three questions: size, age composition and geographic distribution of Canada’s population.
7. Between 1901 and 1996, net immigration (gross immigration of 12 million minus emigration of 6 million) was 6 million, representing 20% of population growth between 1901 and 1996. The contribution of net immigration to population growth has varied but has never been as high as the 50% it was in 1991-1996.
8. There have been 5 phases of immigration to Canada:
(1) 1850-1895: Low immigration, in effect net out migration
(2) 1896-1914: Slow rise in immigration levels from 17,000 in 1896 to 400,000 in 1913. The numbers between 1910-1914 have never been surpassed. Although 1909-1914 remains unique with levels above 150,000 in each of those six years, there have been 11 consecutive years of 150,000+ between 1987-1997, making the last fifteen years unprecedented.
(3) 1915 -1945: Relatively low immigration (!920’s were higher than the rest of this period)
(4) 1946-1989: Second wave of post-Confederation immigration: ( 21% to 28% contribution to total population growth)
(5) 1990-1996: Higher levels of immigration (almost double #4) and larger contribution of immigration to population growth (almost double #4, that is, over 50% of Canada’s population growth)
9. Between 1966-1991, the direct plus indirect contribution of immigration amounted to 41% of total population growth. With low fertility (1.7%) and current levels of immigration (200,000+), the impact of immigration can only increase. Stats Can projects that 90% of population increase over the period 1986-2036 will be due to migration.
10. Census of 1971 found that 33.8% of the population was either foreign-born or had at least one foreign-born parent. The proportion of foreign-born was 17% in 1996.Censuses since 1971 have not included the birthplace of parents question.
11. PART I OF REPORT— CANADA’S POPULATION SIZE: Five generations of Stats Can projections since 1971 indicate some revealing figures:
(1) 1986 Census–With fertility of 1.7, the natural increase would become negative around 2020 and population would start to decline after 2026 with immigration of 140,000; with 1.7 fertility, population would start to decline after 2035 with immigration of 200,000.
(2) 1991 Census–With fertility of 1.5 and immigration of 150,000, population would decline only after 2033. With fertility at 1.7 and immigration at 250,000, population would continue to grow until 2041. Persistent immigration assumptions of 1% of the population (330,000) may be unrealistic.
(3) While the Ec. Council of Canada’s report proposed an eventual 1% immigration level, it also recommended these levels should be reviewed every 5 years to verify that the integration of immigrants is being successfully managed.
(4) New Projections: With 1.7% fertility and immigration of 150,000, Canada would have a population of 35+M in 2016 and 38M in 2041. With same fertility and 250,000 immigration, Canada would have a population of 37+M in 2016 and 42+M in 2041. With same fertility and immigration of 330,000, Canada would have a population of 38+M in 2016 and 46+M in 2041.
(5) New Projections: With fertility at present level (1.7%?) and no immigration, Canada’s population would continue to grow for 20 years, but would decline to 18 million after 100 years. With replacement fertility and no immigration, Canada’s population would be 33.2M in 100 years. With replacement immigration, fertility stays at 1.7% but immigration is at 167,225 to yield the same size population as the replacement fertility model. This is an important result because it implies that immigration of around 200,000 is sufficient to avoid populaton decline. Higher immigration levels at any time imply that future immigration levels have to be even higher in order to prevent population decline. (Ryder-1997)
(EDITORS NOTE: THE MAJOR ASSUMPTION IN PART I OF THIS REPORT IS THAT
POPULATION SIZE SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED TO DECLINE.)
10. PART II OF REPORT—AGE COMPOSITION OF CANADA’S POPULATION:
(1) Two erroneous conclusions are often made:
A. Immigration is a solution to population aging. It is not. Aging will continue, regardless of the level of immigration.
B. Immigration ages the population.
(2) The present median age of immigrants is 30. The present median age of Canadians is 35.
(3) STATS CAN population projections (immigration levels of 0, 140,000, 200,000) show that immigration has a rather small impact on the age structure. Over a 50 year projection, 1986 to 2036, immigration reduces the 65+ age group by between 1.4% and 2.5%.
(4) Denton found that immigration projections of 0 to 500,000 per year show the % over 65 does decline, but that the % over 65 will continue to increase even with immigration of over 500,000 per year. Denton et al. concluded that immigration is clearly not an effective tool for offsetting the process of population aging. (With high immigration, Canada will eventually have an even higher % of 65+ .)
(5) Ryder found that the movement from current fertility levels to replacement fertility levels would have a larger impact than using immigration to stabilize Canada’s population.
(6) Increases in dependency ratios will occur only after 2011 when the baby boom starts moving into retirement ages. This dependency remains lower in 2036 than in 1971 when the baby boom was at young ages. Denton et al estimated that levels would have to be far in excess of 1M immigrants per year, at the current age distributioin of immigrants, in order to prevent the anticipated increase in dependency.
(7) If avoiding decline of the labour force is a goal, immigration of 200,000 at current age levels will be sufficient.
(8) Some authors (Foot) have suggested that the age of immigrants could be subject to deliberate policy control. In other words, only very young immigrants would be admitted.
(9) While immigration attentuates (reduces) aging and dependency, its impact is relatively minor.
11. PART III OF REPORT—GEOGRAPHIC DISTRIBUTION OF IMMIGRANTS
(1) Between 1956 and 1996, Ontario and B.C. took a % of immigrants that exceeded their % of the Canadian population.Ontario and B.C. are also the only 2 provinces to have more immigrants than their share of the population. (For example, in 1996, Ontario had 33.5% of the Canadian-born, but 54.8% of the foreign-born population.)Recent immigrants are concentrated in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver.
(2) Most Canadian-born tend to remain in their birth province. In the 1996 census, 12.7% of Canadian born were not living in their birth province; another 16.2% were foreign-born. Only in Quebec and Ontario is the proportion foreign-born larger than the proportion born in another province. This means that population increases in Quebec and Ontario are more attributable to immigration than to Canadian-born migration.)
(3) If native-born internal migrants and foreign-born are added (1991 census), only 4 provinces (Ontario, B.C., Alberta and Quebec) have net gains. In B.C., 51.6% of the population was foreign-born or non-B.C. born.
(4) The internal migration of the foreign-born within Canada is mostly to Ontario and B.C. Edmonston(1996) found that both Canadian-born and foreign-born tend to move to provinces that have large populations, more economic opportunities and higher proportions of foreign-born.
(5) The initial arrival of immigrants has the largest impact on population distribution, but this impact is reduced by the emigration of immigrants, which comprises about half of emigration from Canada.
(6) Toronto and Vancouver stand out from all other Canadian cities in that 41 and 35% respectively of their populations are foreign-born. Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver have 60.2% of the foreign-born compared to 26.9% of the Canadian-born population. In 1996, 88% of Quebec’s foreign-born were in Montreal. If this trend continues, Montreal’s population would increase significantly-almost doubling over the next 40 years. (Termote,1988). The non-metropolitan population comprises 43% of the Canadian-born population, but only 6.5% of immigrant arrivals of the period 1991-1996. This means that only a very small % of immigrants go to small town Canada.
(7) Immigration is pushing the urbanization trend in Canada and , in the large cities, it is compensating for the net departure of population through internal migration.
(8) Immigration will probably continue to accentuate the inequalities in Canada’s regional population distribution. It cannot be seen as a means of demographic redistribution toward areas that have smaller populations.
(9) Over time, the differences immigrants possess (fertility, mortality, income, dress and speech) lessen, but the uneven distribution of population continues.
BEAUJOT’S SUMMARY AND DISCUSSION:
(1) Population Size: Immigration can be used to prevent population decline. A level of 200,000 per year would be sufficient. This level will also prevent a decline in the labour force.
(2) Aging and Dependency: Immigration brings only a slight attentuation (reduction) of aging in Canada. Dependency is already low and will remain lower than it was in 1971 for the forseeable future. It would take immigration levels of 1 million per year to prevent an increase in dependency from its current low levels.
(3) Population Distribution: Immigration to Canada is urban and is accentuating the differences in population distribution in favour of Ontario and B.C., particularly the Toronto and Vancouver metro areas.
(4) It would be best if immigration had a supportive rather than an essential role in influencing the future demographics of Canada. Assuming that maintaining population growth, or at least avoiding population decline, is a valuable objective, persistent below replacement fertility means that Canada must have immigration.
(5) It is more important to maintain cohesiveness as a society than to avoid population decline. We have to be very watchful about social tensions.
(6) Environmental arguments in particular would favour smaller populations.
(7) The research does not indicate a demographic or economic need for immigration. From a demographic point of view, a minimal level of immigration producing a population that would start to slowly decline in some 25 years, is not necessarily to be avoided.
(8) By way of contrast, demographers from Sweden tend to conclude that the absence of cheap immigrant labour has prompted policies aimed at full employment and family-friendly policies that ensure strong labour force participation for women.
(9) A stronger case for immigration can be made on socio-cultural terms than on economic or demographic terms. Immigration can bring richness, but it can also bring resentment and conflict.
(10) The book, Age of Migration, argues that migration is a constant phenomenon in human history, and that it was never as significant as today in terms of the diversity that it brings to most countries.
(11) Canada is presented with a challenge to maintain social cohesiveness and to profit from diversity and contact with a broader world.
1. This study was done by Roderic Beaujot (University of Western Ontario) in 1997-98 for Citizenship and Immigration Canada. It is a follow-up to Charting Canada’s Future. It looks at a considerable amount of research done on Canada’s population and summarizes the research.
2. The research does not indicate a demographic or economic need for immigration. The economic benefits are very small. The demographic benefits assume a need to either maintain population growth or to prevent population decline. When demographers recommend that Canada’s population continue to grow or avoid decline, they do not take environmental considerations into mind.
3. Immigration can be used to prevent population decline. A level of 200,000 would be sufficient. The notion that Canada’s population is in immediate, serious danger of decline is not true. Even with no immigration, Canada’s population would continue to grow over the next 20 years. Then, it would begin to decline. In 100 years (2096), Canada’s population would be 18 million.
4. Immigration brings only a slight reduction in aging. Immigration is not an effective tool for offsetting the process of aging. Immigrants grow old and dependent. Encouraging, by different means, a raising of Canada’s fertility levels is more effective than immigration.
5. Immigration to Canada is primarily urban and is accentuating the differences in population distribution in favour of Ontario and B.C., particularly the Toronto and Vancouver metro areas.
6. It would be best if immigration had a supportive rather than an essential role in influencing the future demographics of Canada.
7. It is more important to maintain cohesiveness as a society than to avoid population decline.
8. Environmental arguments, in particular, would favour population decline.
9. By way of contrast with Canada, demographers from Sweden tend to conclude that the absence of cheap labour has prompted policies that ensure strong labour force participation for women.
10 A stronger case can be made for immigration on socio-cultural terms than on demographic terms. Immigration can bring richness, but it can also bring conflict and resentment.