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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Recent migrants and non-migrants in an historically expanding economy : the case of B.C. 1966-1971 Sebastian, David Ted

Abstract

Past migration studies have tended to concentrate on either, the characteristics of migrants, the correlates that 'explain' migration flows, or the monetary gains which accrue to migrants but, despite a growing interest in the field of Social Impact Assessment, there has been little empirical analysis of the relative performance of migrants and non-migrants in areas experiencing economic expansion. The few relevant case studies which have been done examine historically stagnant areas that have managed to attract a new economic activity. They generally compare a single aspect of migrant/non-migrant performance (usually income) and use data that has limited information on important socio-economic variables. Hence, the available information on the relative performance of migrants and non-migrants is sparse and fragmentary. The thesis improves the level of understanding of the outcomes and implications of in-migration. It achieves this by comparing not only the relative mean wage incomes but also the demands for social services and the occupational distributions/unemployment rates of migrants who entered B.C. between 1966-1971 with those of longer term provincial residents (indigenes). The analysis uses bivariate tables to examine data derived from a one per cent sample of the 1971 provincial population, the whole sample is used in the study of the dependency ratios while the male household head subgroup was selected for the examination of the relative income and employment performance of migrants and non-migrants. The analysis can be divided into two main streams. First, the examination of areas in which some previous work had been done. In this stream the analysis revealed that higher incomes among younger in-migrants, which have been found in previous studies and which are evident in the data examined in the thesis, cease to exist when level of education is held constant. Indigenes were found to have mean wage incomes that were predominantly higher than or equal to those of comparable in-migrants. while inter-national in-migrants had incomes that were substantially below those of indigenes and interprovincial in-migrants. At the same time it was found that the indigenous population had a lower proportion of its population employed in service related industries than in-migrants. This is the reverse of the situation in historically stagnant areas attracting new activities. In addition, with the exception of international migrants, the migrant flow did not consistently have a larger proportion of its population in high skill occupations than indigenes. Once again, this result is in contrast to previous findings. The second group of findings is in areas where previous work is minimal or non-existent. I In these areas, in-migrants were found: to have a lower ratio of dependents per income earner than the indigenous population, to be employed in a broad range of occupations rather than concentrated in a few, and to import a large amount of human capital acquired in other jurisdictions. Yet the unemployment rate of the indigenous male household head population was found to be approximately three per cent. The findings lead to three general conclusions relating to in-migration to B.C. during the 1966-1971 period: 1. in terms of the factors studied, in-migration over the period was beneficial to the province. 2. there are only a few subgroups of the indigenous population studied that did not perform as well as in-migrants in the expanding provincial economy. Furthermore, these groups include only a small per centage of the total indigenous population examined. 3. among male household heads there is no substantial support for the conventional wisdom that in-migrants fill a large number of jobs needed by the indigenous population.

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