NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Immigrant Employment and Earnings Growth in Canada and the United States

October 30, 2015

A new study tracks the economic assimilation of immigrants in the United States and Canada. The researchers studied the employment and earnings trajectories of immigrants using longitudinal data.

The two countries of destination are comparable on many cultural and institutional domains but also have several critical differences. The dominant countries of origin and the selection process for legal immigrants are two of the major differences between the U.S. and Canada.

The study finds that on average:

  • Immigrants in Canada are more educated than immigrants in the United States or the native born Canadian population.
  • In the United States, immigrant men are somewhat more likely to be employed and immigrant women are somewhat less likely to be employed than immigrants of corresponding gender in Canada.
  • Both immigrant and native-born workers in Canada are more than twice as likely to be covered by a union as immigrant and native workers in the United States.
  • Overall, immigrant workers in the United States work more hours than those in Canada.

As expected, recent immigrants in both countries experience some form of economic assimilation. However, the relative positive growth in employment, hours worked and real wages begins to taper off for groups who have been in the host countries for a longer period.

Source: Neeraj Kaushal et al., "Immigrant Employment and Earnings Growth in Canada and the U.S." National Bureau of Economic Research, September 2015.


Browse more articles on Economic Issues