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Success of Foreign-born Population as an Indicator of Attractiveness of Canadian Cities to Newcomers

Submitted by on January 31, 2015 – 12:58 pmNo Comment | 158 views

In the third City Magnets report, The Conference Board of Canada provides analysis the dynamics of city living for 50 Canadian municipalities, including six in BC. Like City Magnets II (2010), this report starts with the premise that cities failing to attract new people will struggle to stay prosperous and vibrant. 50 Canadian cities were analyzed according to 43 features that make cities attractive to highly mobile populations (immigrants).

Seven BC’s cities were included in the report and only one city got an “A” grading. The other nine top Canadian cities are Calgary, Ottawa, Richmond Hill, Waterloo, Edmonton, St. John’s, Markham, and Regina. As I mentioned before, 43 indicators were used to analyze attractiveness of cities to new immigrants. Out of these 43, I found only two indicators that directly reference “foreign born population”, both under the “Society” category. One is “Foreign born population” which is based on the proportion of the population in the city who are foreign-born (Census 2011). Another one is “Success of foreign born population” which is “a composite measure, this compares the average income of university-educated immigrants to that of Canadian-born residents, based on immigrants arriving in the five years between the 2006 Census and 2011 Census.”

What I found interesting is that among all the ten top cities, only one got “A” for the “Success of foreign born population”. It is particularly interesting since St. John’s has a very modest proportion of foreign-born population (less than 4%) and a population of about 100,000. In fact, all cities with “A” or B” grading in the “Success of foreign born population” indicator are either medium or small-size cities with small proportion of foreign-born population.

Provided that economic integration is one of the most important indicators of immigrant successful settlement, this finding reminds us that immigrants are much better off settling in smaller cities. Additionally, one might argue that economic integration of immigrants in this analysis should, probably, be represented by more than one indicator. Read how seven BC’s Cities ranked in the Report.

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