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Gender, income and immigration differences in depression in Canadian urban centres


Background — Immigrants tend to initially settle in urban centres. It is known that immigrants have lower rates of depression than the Canadian-born population, with the lowest rates among those who have arrived recently in Canada. It is established that women and low-income individuals are more likely to have depression. Given that recent immigration is a protective factor and female gender and low income are risk factors, the aim of this study was to explore a recent immigration-low income interaction by gender.

Methods — The study used 2000-01 Canadian Community Health Survey data. The sample consisted of 41,147 adults living in census metropolitan areas. Logistic regression was used to examine the effect of the interaction on depression.

Results — The prevalence of depression in urban centres was 9.17% overall, 6.82% for men and 11.44% for women. The depression rate for recent immigrants was 5.24%, 3.87% for men and 6.64% for women. The depression rate among low-income individuals was 14.52%, 10.79% for men and 17.07% for women. The lowest-rate of depression was among low-income recent immigrant males (2.21%), whereas the highest rate was among low-income non-recent immigrant females (11.05%).

Conclusions — This study supports previous findings about the effects of income, immigration and gender on depression. The findings are novel in that they suggest a differential income effect for male and female recent immigrants. These findings have implications for public health planning, immigration and settlement services and policy development.



Smith KL, Matheson FI, Moineddin R, Glazier RH. Can J Pub Health. 2007; 98(2):149-53.