But is it really worth it? Examining the economic returns on higher education for Caribbeans and Latin Americans in the Greater Toronto Area
Rayne, Jessica Alina
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My research analyzes the social mobility of Caribbean and Latin American ethnic groups by examining the economic returns on higher education for both groups in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). Through quantitative data analysis of the 2006 Census Public Use Micro File (PUMF) I investigate both groups' attainment in higher education and the paid labour market. Both groups have struggled to attain upward social mobility in Canada evident by the high proportions living in poverty, as well as high rates of unemployment and precarious work. Studies have drawn attention to Caribbean and Latin American schooling experiences due to their high dropout rates. Nevertheless, systemic racism and discrimination have played major roles in hindering the advancement of these groups in Canada. Despite higher education being a prerequisite for more and more occupations in Canada, post-secondary education participation and attainment rates for both groups are low compared to the rest of the population. Using a critical race framework I examine how economic returns on human capital investment (post-secondary education) are influenced by ethnicity and gender. My findings reveal very encouraging relationships between Caribbean female group and higher education in Toronto. Despite being racialized, gendered, and predominantly from low-socioeconomic background this group yields the greatest economic return on university education attainment compared to all groups observed. With both groups having a high percentage of persons of younger age it is imperative to capture a clearer picture of both groups' returns on human capital acquisition and the impact it may have on successive generations.