Between two worlds: culture and gender differences in educational attainment among the children of Canadian immigrants

Teresa Abada, University of Western Ontario
Kristyn Frank, Statistics Canada
Feng Hou, Statistics Canada

The educational attainment of the children of immigrants has become an increasingly important research focus in immigration studies. Adding to this layer of inquiry is the rapid increase in female educational attainment and notably the advantage of women over men in degree completion for all racial groups. Recent scholarship has focused on the relationship between source country characteristics such as female labour force participation, fertility, level of economic development, gender role attitudes, male/female university enrollment ratios and immigrants’ labour market assimilation. National level factors can be proxies for culture when accounting for the vast differences in home country groups in labour market variables. The question is to what extent do these source country and cultural characteristics remain salient among immigrant children. The focus is on the extent to which gender differences in educational attainment among the 1.5 generation is associated with national level factors such as female/men ratio in labour force participation rate, female/male ration in tertiary education access, gender role attitudes and GDP per capita. Canada as the first country in the world to implement a multiculturalism policy in 1971, provides a unique opportunity to explore whether cultural factors matter for the economic integration of the children of immigrants. This study uses Canadian 2006 census 20% sample micro-data file as the source of individual-level variables on educational attainment and other socio-demographic characteristics. 1.5 generation immigrants are defined as those who immigrated to Canada before age 18. The focal independent variables include three indicators that have been used to capture the degree of traditional gender roles in immigrants’ source countries: (1) the female-to-male labour activity ratio in the source country, (2) the female-to-male ratio in tertiary education enrolment, and (3) an explicit measure of gender-role attitudes derived from the World Value Survey.

  See extended abstract

Presented in Poster Session 3