Rate of Self-Employment Decreases for Sons of Immigrants, Increases for Daughters -Study

Self-employment rates of Canadian-born sons of immigrant parents are lower than that of their fathers, while those of Canadian-born daughters of immigrants are higher than that of their mothers' generation. (Eric Ward)

A study on intergenerational changes in self-employment rates among immigrant parents and their children finds that the Canadian-born sons of immigrant parents are less likely to be self-employed than their fathers, and are likely to choose self-employment for different reasons, while the Canadian-born daughters of immigrant parents are more likely to be self-employed than their mothers.

According to the Statistics Canada study, 12 percent of Canadian-born sons of immigrant parents aged 25 to 44 were self-employed in 2006, while 14 percent of immigrant fathers were self-employed at the same age in 1981. For Canadian-born daughters of immigrant parents, the self-employment rate increased to 7 percent, from 6 percent for their immigrant mothers in 1981.

The factors “pushing” individuals into self-employment differed between second generation and first generation men as well.

Among immigrant fathers in 1981, the main motivation for choosing self-employment was lack of employment opportunities, while among their Canadian born sons in 2006, there was a higher likelihood that expectations of greater earnings motivated them to choose self-employment.

The study finds that the generational decline in self-employment rates among the Canadian-born sons of immigrant parents is due to a larger trend in the typical life course events of Canadian men. Canadian men aged 25 to 44 have less work experience, are less likely to be married and have fewer children than their fathers when they were at their age.

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