Max Rady College of Medicine

Concept: Birth Region

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Concept Description

Last Updated: 2022-12-08


    concept/Social Determinants of Health-SDOH-Digital Library-Image.jpg This concept describes how Birth Region is operationalized for immigration-related research at MCHP. The concept includes the following sections:

    Definition: Birth region is a classification of the region of the world, based on where an immigrant was born, as stated on their immigration application.

Data Sources


    In the deliverable The Diversity of Immigrants to Manitoba, Migration Dynamics and Basic Healthcare Service Use by Urquia et al. (2020), birth region was operationalized by classifying the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) Permanent Resident Database birth country codes into Statistics Canada’s Standard Classification of Countries and Areas of Interest (SCCAI) regions (and sub-regions) as follows:

    • Americas (North America, Central America, Caribbean and Bermuda, South America),
    • Europe (Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Northern Europe, Southern Europe),
    • Africa (Western Africa, Eastern Africa, Northern Africa, Central Africa, Southern Africa),
    • Asia (West Central Asia and the Middle East, Eastern Asia, Southeast Asia, Southern Asia),
    • Oceania,
    • Antarctica and Adjacent Islands,
    • Unclassified

    NOTE: there are several different classifications of countries based on different criteria (e.g., geographical, economic, linguistic, etc.) and researchers may wish to use the country of birth codes to group countries differently. For more information on the SCCAI regions, see Statistics Canada website - Statistics Canada’s Standard Classification of Countries and Areas of Interest (SCCAI) - 2018 - - accessed September 16, 2022.

    The following describes the basic algorithm in developing the methodology for this concept. It summarizes the SAS® code example that is provided in the SAS code and formats section below.

    1. create the immigrant cohort file from the IRCC crosswalk file for all immigrants found in Manitoba and sort by the unique IRCC identification number (IDNO);
    2. create a landing file containing the arrival and landing dates, and the country of birth codes from the two IRCC legacy and current landing files;
    3. convert the country of birth codes to the birth region / continent using the SCCAI SAS® Macro Birth Region code / format;
    4. sort the landing file, and then merge with the immigrant cohort file using the unique IRCC identification number (IDNO);
    5. sort the landing file by scrambled PHIN and landing date to identify and retain the earliest landing record per scrambled PHIN;
    6. produce output tables summarizing the counts of individuals from each birth region.

Research Findings

Limitations / Cautions

    The following cautions were identified during development of this concept:

    • Country of birth denotes the country where an individual was born and labelling of race, culture or ethnicity should not be used or inferred without a strong rationale.

SAS code and formats 

Related concepts 

Related terms 



  • Ewesesan R, Chartier MJ, Nickel NC, Wall-Wieler E, Urquia ML. Psychosocial and behavioral health indicators among immigrant and non-immigrant recent mothers. BMC Pregnancy Childbirth 2022;22(1):612. [Abstract] (View)
  • Urquia M, Walld R, Prior H, Detillieux G, Eze N, Koseva I. The Diversity of Immigrants to Manitoba, Migration Dynamics and Basic Healthcare Service Use. Winnipeg, MB: Manitoba Centre for Health Policy, 2020. [Report] [Summary] [Additional Materials] (View)
  • Urquia ML, Walld R, Wanigaratne S, Eze ND, Azimaee M, McDonald JT, Guttmann A. Linking national immigration data to provincial repositories: The case of Canada. Int J Popul Data Sci 2021;6(1):1412. [Abstract] (View)

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Manitoba Centre for Health Policy
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