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An explanation for gender-biased migration

An explanation for gender-biased migration

Posted on: 1/28/2019 | Author: ATB Financial's Economics + Research Team

Net interprovincial migration to Alberta returned to positive in 2018, but just barely. According to Statistics Canada, the province saw a net gain of about 1,500 people last year. Breaking down the data by gender, a general pattern starts to emerge.

The graph below shows net interprovincial migration (i.e., in-migrants minus out-migrants) each year since 1997. The purple line is net migration of men. The orange line is women.

Consistently, swings in periods of both in-migration and out-migration favour men, suggesting men are more likely to relocate across provincial boundaries than women. This likely has more to do with the mobility of workers within certain industries, not the mobility of a specific gender.

Jobs in oil and gas, construction, and manufacturing have been particularly volatile over the past few decades. The oil price collapse, for example, resulted in thousands of workers being laid off in 2015 and 2016. The assumption is many of these unemployed workers would leave the province to take jobs elsewhere.

Both women and men work in all of these industries, however men tend to outnumber women. So, it’s not that men are more mobile than women, rather that workers in volatile (and male dominated) industries are more likely to relocate.

Net interprovincial migration to/from Alberta by gender, graph

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