The demography of adult functional literacy: the case of foreign speaking immigrants in Canada

Wang, Yanping (1993) The demography of adult functional literacy: the case of foreign speaking immigrants in Canada. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

This thesis has as its major source the comprehensive and reliable database of the 1989 National Survey of Literacy Skills Used in Daily Activities. The chief aim is twofold: first, to explain the effects of selected demographic and socioeconomic variables on the foreign speaking immigrants' functional literacy in either one of the Canada's official languages; and, second, to explain the effects of these variables on their financial earnings. -- The problem of attaining functional literacy in English or French experienced by foreign speaking immigrants is presented with reference to the Canadian historical, cultural and social context. Given the properties of functional literacy, which are context dependent, the writer is led to pose the following basic research questions: What are the major determinants of the functional literacy competencies of Canadian foreign speaking immigrants? and What are the effects of immigrant functional literacy, on the incomes of foreign speaking immigrants when controlling for the effects of social and demographic variables? -- An analysis of the related literature lays a theoretical foundation for the research. The statistical technique of ordinary least squares regression is used to analyze the data. -- The basic research questions are addressed and hypotheses tested within demographic and socioeconomic models. The findings show that the effects of many of demographic and socioeconomic factors are powerful and significant predictors of immigrant literacy abilities and achievement in English or French; especially age group membership, age starting learning English or French, the highest level of schooling completed before entry to Canada, and English or French spoken most often outside the home. Differences in the period of immigration, origin of birth (ethnicity) and occupational groups are also apparent in terms of literacy abilities and achievement. -- Literacy variables, however, tend to have little influence on immigrant income. Gender, education, age, ethnicity and language are far more powerful than functional literacy in determining the personal incomes of foreign speaking immigrants. -- The theoretical and practical implications of the research findings are addressed in the concluding chapters.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/9896
Item ID: 9896
Additional Information: Bibliography :leaves 196-201.
Department(s): Education, Faculty of
Date: 1993
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Functional literacy--Canada; Immigrants--Canada--Economic conditions; Immigrants--Canada.

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