Canadian Immigrants: Where Are They Most Likely to Reside?

Canadian Immigrants: Where Are They Most Likely to Reside?

Canadian Immigrants: Where Are They Most Likely to Reside?

Table of Contents

Edmonton, Toronto, and Vancouver seem to be top picks, according to a recent Statistics Canada study.

The study was conducted to find the provinces and cities where immigrants stayed the longest. The research relied on data from the Longitudinal Immigration Database, often used as a source to track the economic process of immigrants.

The study however doesn’t look at a large timeframe. It only explores immigrants who arrived in 2014.

Why Is This Important to Know?

And why are Canadian authorities interested in mapping where immigrants stay?

A few reasons come to mind, and they include:

  • Knowing which places immigrants find attractive;
  • Finding factors that influence the immigrant choice of residence;
  • Creating policies that’ll attract wanted immigrants to specific areas

Retention Rates

When looking at immigration rates, the biggest factor to consider is retention.

Retention defines how attractive a city is to immigrants in the long run. And according to the research, retention rates (after five years) were at:

  • 86% in Vancouver
  • 85% in Toronto
  • 85% in Edmonton

Basically, if 100 immigrants moved to Edmonton/Toronto, 85 would still be there 5 years later, with 15 relocating elsewhere.

What Affects Retention Rates?

Family is the biggest factor. Immigrants sponsored by their families had the highest chance of staying compared to other classes of immigrants.

As for immigrant classes, three currently exist. They are:

  • Family class – immigrants sponsored by a Canadian, usually a spouse
  • Economic class – immigrants who apply using their professional resume
  • Refugee class – immigrants who apply for humanitarian or security reasons

Work and Study

Another factor is the study and work experience. This affects the decisions immigrants make to move through regions.

A similar but key factor is employment. Of the immigrants who acquired permanent residency in 2014, those who demonstrated work experience were more likely to stay in the territory or province of their application.

The same applies to refugees with previous work experience. They demonstrated high retention (93%) in their province of choice.

Residents who had work permits before acquiring permanent residency also showed retention rates of just over 90%.

As for newcomers, their retention rates were around 81%. Of those, the lowest retention rates belonged to study permit holders, reaching 79%.


Immigrants were more likely to relocate in the earlier years of admission. For Canadian immigrants, retention rates were 86% after 10 years, compared to 88% after five.

The 2% difference may suggest greater instability in the first five years.

In Summation

The majority of immigrants will stay in the territory or province of admission.

Retention rates (after five years) by immigration class and province were quite high per province, reaching:

  • 94% in Ontario
  • 90% in British Columba
  • 89% in Alberta

Immigrants with families in the same province had a greater likelihood of staying.

Family-sponsored individuals showed the highest retention rates. Refugees came second at 86%, and economic-class migrants had an 82% rate.

Retention rates (after ten years) by immigration class and province were quite similar to those after five, reaching:

  • 5% in Ontario
  • 3% in British Columbia
  • 1% in Alberta

And of the Atlantic Provinces, Nova Scotia showed the highest 10-year retention, reaching 58%.

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