Contemporary Jewry

, Volume 38, Issue 1, pp 49–77 | Cite as

Labor Market Attainment of Canadian Jews During the First Two Decades of the 20th Century

  • Maryam Dilmaghani
  • Jason Dean


Between 1901 and 1921, there was an unprecedented nine-fold increase in the Canadian Jewish population. This paper examines the labor market attainment of Canadian Jews, using digitized, 5% random samples of the 1901, 1911, and 1921 Canadian censuses. We compared the earnings and occupational structure of Jewish working-age men to the affiliates of main Protestant denominations and Roman Catholics. We found a Jewish advantage over workers who were affiliates of most Protestant denominations and Roman Catholics across the three censuses, though the magnitude of the advantage is considerably lower for 1911 and 1921. When a distinction is made among Jews by their ethnic origin, Western European Jews are found to have the most favorable outcomes. We also compared Eastern European Jews with non-Jewish immigrants from the same regions. We found the Jewish immigrants to have a very different occupational distribution and to earn substantially more than their non-Jewish counterparts. These intriguing patterns invite scholars to do further historical research on the economic attainment of the Canadian Jewish population.


Canada Early 20th century Earnings Jewish migration Religion 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EconomicsSaint Mary’s UniversityHalifaxCanada
  2. 2.Department of EconomicsSheridan CollegeTorontoCanada

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