Journal of Population Economics

, Volume 29, Issue 4, pp 1249–1277 | Cite as

Immigrant employment and earnings growth in Canada and the USA: evidence from longitudinal data

  • Neeraj Kaushal
  • Yao Lu
  • Nicole Denier
  • Julia Shu-Huah Wang
  • Stephen J. Trejo
Original Paper


We study the short-term trajectories of employment, hours worked, and real wages of immigrants in Canada and the USA using nationally representative longitudinal datasets covering 1996–2008. Models with person fixed effects show that, on average, immigrant men in Canada do not experience any relative growth in these three outcomes compared to men born in Canada. Immigrant men in the USA, on the other hand, experience positive annual growth in all three domains relative to US-born men. This difference is largely on account of low-educated immigrant men, who experience faster or longer periods of relative growth in employment and wages in the USA than in Canada. We further compare longitudinal and cross-sectional trajectories and find that the latter over-estimate wage growth of earlier arrivals, presumably reflecting selective return migration.


US immigrants Canadian immigrants Economic assimilation Longitudinal data Immigration Employment Wages Comparative study 
JEL Classification J15 J3 J18 



The authors are grateful for support by the National Science Foundation (SES 1226546), the Russell Sage Foundation, and the Columbia Population Research Center with funding from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (R24 HD058486). The study also benefited from the SIPP data workshop and conference travel grant funded by the National Science Foundation (SES 1131897). The analysis presented in this paper was conducted at the Quebec Interuniversity Centre for Social Statistics, which is part of the Canadian Research Data Centre Network (CRDCN). The services and activities provided by the QICSS are made possible by the financial or in-kind support of the SSHRC, the CIHR, the CFI, Statistics Canada, the FRQSC, and the Quebec universities. The views expressed in this paper are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the CRDCN or its partners. The authors acknowledge the generous help and guidance of three anonymous referees and the editor that tremendously improved the paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Neeraj Kaushal
    • 1
  • Yao Lu
    • 2
  • Nicole Denier
    • 3
  • Julia Shu-Huah Wang
    • 1
    • 4
  • Stephen J. Trejo
    • 5
  1. 1.School of Social WorkColumbia UniversityNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Department of SociologyColumbia UniversityNew YorkUSA
  3. 3.Department of SociologyMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada
  4. 4.Department of Social Work and Social AdministrationThe University of Hong KongPok Fu LamHong Kong
  5. 5.Department of EconomicsUniversity of TexasAustinUSA

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