Jul 17, 2024

Filipinos are doing well in Canada because of hard work, education, and close family ties. Image by toptop54 from Pixabay.

June 16, 2024 — Thanks to education and tight-knit families, Filipinos in Canada are faring better than many.

Based on official figures by Statistics Canada, it’s less likely to find a poor Filipino compared to many communities, including Whites.

In fact, the poverty rate among Filipinos is lower than the national percentage.

The good plight of Filipinos was among the trends highlighted by Statistics Canada in May 2024, when the country observed Asian Heritage Month.

An agency paper titled “Asian Heritage Month 2024... By the Numbers” noted that 7,013,835 people in Canada reported having Asian origins during the 2021 Census.

Asians represent 19.3 percent of Canada’s population, and the top three groups are: Chinese, about 1.7 million people; Indian, approximately 1.3 million; and Filipino, 925,490.

Released on May 7, 2024, the paper noted that in 2020, the Filipino population had a poverty rate of 3.9 percent.

This proportion was “significantly lower” than the non-racialized or White population, which had a poverty rate of 6.1 percent.

Defined simply, the poverty rate is the ratio of the number of people whose income falls below what is needed for them to lead a basic and modest standard of living.

In 2020, the national poverty rate in Canada was 8.1 percent, which was higher than the poverty rate of Filipinos at 3.9 percent.

Meanwhile, racialized communities, other than Filipinos, have higher rates of poverty than Whites.

In 2020, Arabs had a rate of poverty of 13.9 percent; West Asian and Korean at 13.4 percent even; Chinese, 12.2 percent; Black, 10.4 percent; Southeast Asian, 9.3 percent; Japanese, 7.3 percent; and South Asian, 7.2 percent.

Statistics Canada took a deep look at poverty in a paper titled “Poverty among racialized groups across generations” and released on August 23, 2023.

The study authored by Christoph Schimmele, Feng Hou, and Max Stick offered some explanations why Filipinos are doing well compared to other communities.

The authors noted the “positive effect of a larger number of earners and a higher educational level” for Filipinos in Canada.

In particular, about 81 percent of Filipinos “lived in families with two or more earners”.

“Having more earners in the family was strongly associated with lower poverty rates,” the authors stated.

Also, the lower rate of poverty among Filipinos is not only observed in the first generation.

“The Filipino had a lower poverty rate than the White population in the first generation, second generation, and third generation or more of Canadians.”

This is not the case for other racialized communities.

“The differences in the poverty rate between most racialized groups and the White population persisted into the second generation. For South Asian, Chinese and Japanese groups, the poverty rate difference from the White population receded in the third generation or more. For Black, Latin American, Arab, and West Asian groups, the difference in the poverty rate persisted into the third generation or more.”

Again, it’s families staying together that makes them do better.

“The Filipino group had the highest number of earners in the family in all three generations, and this advantage tended to offset the disadvantage in immigrant status and age structure,” the 2023 study noted.

Filipinos are also known as a hardworking people, and the May 7, 2024 Statistics Canada paper made note of this trait.

“In the first three months of 2024, Filipino workers aged 25 to 54 had markedly higher employment rates (88.6%) than the total core-age population (83.7%),” the paper stated. 

This is confirmed by other numbers put out by the agency in May this year.

On May 10, 2024, Statistics Canada released employment rate numbers showing that the national employment rate for people 15 years and older and for both sexes in April this year was 60.7 percent.

The employment rate for the visible minority population was 64.9 percent.

It’s worth mentioning that Filipinos in April 2024 had employment rates higher than the national figure and that of the whole visible minority population with a rate of 75.1 percent. 

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