Iranians in Canada

This paper [full text pdf] presents a statistical analysis on the demographic, social educational and occupational issues of the Iranian-Canadian community. The main sources of data for the paper are the Government of Canada’s 2001 census statistics and an online webbased survey conducted by the author from the Iranian-Canadian community. Other sources were the author’s personal experiences and findings during his study and life in Canada during the last four years and also information provided by his friends and colleagues.

Demographic features of the Iranian-Canadians such as population, gender, immigration status and period, age groups, marital status and marriage are investigated and compared to other typical Canadians. Other topics such as education, employment factors, income levels, ties with the home country (Iran), interest in and preservation of the home culture, identity in Canada, following issues related to Iran are also addressed. We also give a short discussion on the intra-social relations in the Iranian community in Canada.

A brief overview on some of the related works, done specifically on the Iranians living in Canada, is also presented. The author hopes this analysis dispels the illusion held by Iranians prior to their immigration to foreign countries and Canada in particular. He further hopes that the analysis helps the decision makers and also Iranians associations, groups and societies both in Iran and in Canada to better analyze and solve the social, cultural, and psychological issues of the Iranian-Canadian community.

The term “immigration” is defined as: “entrance of a person (an alien) into a new country for the purpose of establishing permanent residence. Motives for immigration, like those for migration generally, are often economic, although religious or political factors may also be very important. Recently there has been a large number of Iranians leaving Iran and immigrating to other countries, mostly the western world. By considering the number of Iranian students, scholars and professors in American and Canadian universities, and also high-tech companies in North America for example, one can easily find that there are enormous numbers of Iranian educated professionals.

A paper was published by the author about the afore mentioned topic on Dec. 2003. The paper was entitled: A Survey on the Immigration of Iranian Experts and the Elite: Reasons, Losses and Possible Solutions. It was presented at the Scientific Seminar on the Discourse of Overseas Iranian Youth, Tehran, Iran, held by the department of Social Affair and Overseas Iranians at the Iranian Organization of Culture and Islamic Relations in January 2004. That study provided discussions, originating from personal experiences, on the subject of the immigration of Iranian experts and the elite.

We particularly aimed to identify and present the general reasons Iranian youth decide to immigrate from their homeland, what the costs and losses of this outflow to the country are, and also the potential solutions, the government, Iranian educational institutions, and the society might undertake to reduce the immigration rate of experts. Furthermore, we also investigated Iranians immigration rate in the recent years and some of the required preparations needed by the Iranian government and the society, to attract and host Iranians who have left Iran.

The current work can be considered as one of the possible continuations of the previous one by the author. It can be regarded as the next step in the journey of immigration, in a way that, we are studying the Iranian- Canadian community in this paper. We are going to analyze, from a statistical point of view, what happens to most Iranians after they decide to immigrate from Iran and come to Canada.

We discuss what the demographic features of the Iranian-Canadian community are. The demographic features, we are going to address in this work, include population, immigration status, period and age at immigration, age groups, marital status and marriages, family conditions, languages and ethnic backgrounds of Iranian-Canadians who live in Canada. We study some of those statistics for Iranian-Canadians per Canadian provinces, territories, and cities.

There are also some interesting discussions and findings when comparing some of the social/cultural aspects of the Iranian-Canadian community versus typical Canadians or those with other Middle Eastern backgrounds such as: Pakistanis, Turks, Iraqis, and Azerbaijanis . We will see for example in Section 4.2.1 that the number of Canadians with Iranian origin is more the Canadians with aforementioned backgrounds. In the contrary, we will also find out in Section 4.2.4 that the percentage of interracial marriages in Iranian-Canadians is lower than the Canadians with aforementioned backgrounds >>> Full text pdf

Vahid Garousi MASc is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Systems and Computer Engineering, Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

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