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The Well-Being of Immigrant Children and Parents in Canada

Peter Burton and Shelley Phipps

Working Papers from Dalhousie University, Department of Economics

Abstract: In this paper, we use microdata from the Canada Community Health Survey (CCHS) to document the fact that both immigrant children and immigrant parents have lower self-reported life satisfaction and are less likely to feel a strong sense of „belonging‟ to their local communities than their Canadian-born peers. A novel aspect of our work is that we provide direct comparisons of both levels and correlates of well-being for parents and children, since our data asks children (aged 12 to 17) and adults the same survey questions. We find, first, that immigrant status has a larger, negative, association with well-being for parents than for children. And, although income is an important correlate of life satisfaction for both parents and children, the association is larger for parents. A troubling finding is that there is no apparent improvement in life satisfaction for immigrant parents or children who have lived longer in Canada. Given European experiences with alienation among immigrant youth, we also examine „belonging to the community‟ as another aspect of well-being; lower levels of belonging are reported by immigrant youth, especially girls, than by their Canadian peers. Indeed, for girls, immigrant status is one of the largest (negative) correlates of belonging identified. The same is true for parents, but the size of the association is smaller and appears to decline over time.

Keywords: well-being; happiness; life satisfaction; children; families; immigrant (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 45 pages
Date: 2010-08-22
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