Canada

Recent Immigrants To Canada Increasingly Prefer Small Towns, and Rural Property

Canadian immigration is often the bull case for the Big Three immigration hubs — Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal. A new Statistics Canada (StatCan) study on immigrant labor market outcomes puts a kink in the thesis though. The study focuses on the outcomes of immigrants between the 2001 and 2016 Censuses. Amongst the data, it reveals the Big Three are seeing a smaller share of recent and new immigrants. While not the focus of the study, this may indicate these hubs aren’t as essential today.

Share of Canadian-born People Settling In The Big Three Increases

Canadian-born adults are increasingly settling in the big three urban real estate markets. The share of men settling these markets reached 28% in the 2016 census, up 1.4 points from 2001. The share of women reached 27.6%, up 0.9 points over the same period. The points gained by traditional immigration hubs are lost to small and mid-sized CMAs, and rural regions.

Change In Share of Canadian-Born Adults By Region

The percentage point change in the share of Canadian-born individuals between 2001 and 2016 Censuses. Only adults between 25 and 54 years old are included.
Source: Stat Can; Better Dwelling.

A Bigger Share of New Immigrants Are Moving To Smaller Regions

The share of new immigrants, those who have lived in Canada for less than 5 years, has been shrinking. The share of men fell to 57.3% in the 2016 Census, down 16.4 points from the 2001 Census. The share of women fell to 58.4%, down 15.4 points over the same period. Small and mid-sized CMAs, as well as non-CMAs, gained 16.4 and 15.4 points for men and women, respectively.  

Change In Share of Canada’s New Immigrants By Region

The percentage point change in the share of new immigrants between 2001 and 2016 Censuses. New immigrants included are between 25 and 54 years old, and have resided in Canada for less than five years.
Source: Stat Can; Better Dwelling.

More Recent Immigrants Are Moving To Small Cities, and The Country

The share of recent immigrants, those in Canada for between six and ten years, moving to big cities is shrinking. The share of men moving to the Big Three fell to 62.2% of recent immigrants in 2016, down 11 points from the 2001 Census. The share of women fell to 63.7%, down 9.2 points over the same period. Recent immigrants are seeing a larger share go to small and medium, as well as rural, regions. However, a higher rate of this category is retained in the big cities.

Change In Share of Canada’s Recent Immigrants By Region

The percentage point change in the share of new immigrants between 2001 and 2016 Censuses. Recent immigrants included are between 25 and 54 years old, and have resided in Canada for 6 to 10 years.
Source: Stat Can; Better Dwelling.

Long-Term Immigrants Are More Likely To Settle In The Big Three

The share of long-term immigrants, those in Canada for over ten years, increased. The share of men moving to the Big Three reached 65.7% in the 2016 Census, up 5.9 points from the 2001 Census. The share of women in this segment reached 66.4% in 2016, up 6 points over the same period. It may look like long-term immigrants are more affluent, but most likely just moved when these cities were cheap.

Change In Share of Canada’s Long-Term Immigrants By Region

The percentage point change in the share of new immigrants between 2001 and 2016 Censuses. Long-term immigrants included are between 25 and 54 years old, and have resided in Canada for over 10 years.
Source: Stat Can; Better Dwelling.

The data may seem a little stale, but it gives a comprehensive and long-term view of the trend. Traditional immigration hubs are losing a bigger share of more recent immigrants. There are a few trends that may contribute to this, but a big one is likely affordability and wages. New immigrants had the largest gap in earnings compared to Canadian-born peers. Long-term immigrants were found to have a gap of just a few points. 

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7 Comments

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  • Reply
    David Leham 3 days ago

    Economic immigrants arrive where the jobs are at. If they arrive and there’s not much, they’ll go to other regions. Big growth in places like London, and Guelph these days.

    • Reply
      Average Man 3 days ago

      A lot of secondary migration to those places, too. It seems like every South Asian Uber driver I’ve had in the past two years has told me how he’s moving to London or somewhere else in the 519.

      • Reply
        James 3 days ago

        I’ve met a few people over the past year that are here in Toronto, and are waiting for their family to also move so they can move to places like Windsor. I always think it’s weird, but they really think it’s going to be easier in those cities. Not sure that’s the case tbh, but who am I to say anything.

  • Reply
    Vincent Fornelli 3 days ago

    This was a trend in your BC data during the pandemic too. More non-resident purchases in non-CMAs. If you’ve got deep pockets and you’re moving from a crowded city, a smaller town is a really nice change of pace.

  • Reply
    Smug Canadians 3 days ago

    If you value your money and future, watch this please!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/housing-shock-could-upend-canadian-asset-values-wolf-1.1593970

  • Reply
    MR 2 days ago

    Many immigrants don’t want legacy mortgages to pass onto their children.

  • Reply
    TOGal 5 hours ago

    Some people would rather work 2 minimum wages jobs & own a house than and mediocre job and never afford a house. I think that makes sense. But what happens when you can’t buy a house working in services? Where do all the people go?

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