Residential Segregation | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Residential Segregation

Anthony Richmond, in Global Apartheid (1994), suggests that refugees, racism and the new world order are integrally tied to social spatial segregation of peoples. The word apartheid literally means "aparthood" (neighbour-hood), that is, the separation of people into different areas.

Residential Segregation

Anthony Richmond, in Global Apartheid (1994), suggests that refugees, racism and the new world order are integrally tied to social spatial segregation of peoples. The word apartheid literally means "aparthood" (neighbour-hood), that is, the separation of people into different areas. The principle of separation as a means of social control has a long history in Canada, and includes the expulsion of the Acadians from the Maritimes in 1756 (see HISTORY OF ACADIA), the separation of UPPER CANADA and LOWER CANADA, the creation of INDIAN RESERVES, the formation of separate Catholic and Protestant SCHOOL SYSTEMS, and the separation of racial groups. On the other hand, Chinese, Jews and Hutterites often choose to live separately voluntarily.

Power, status and socio-economic factors tend to separate the rich from the poor, the educated from the illiterate, and the white-collar from the blue-collar occupational groups. While much of this differentiation seems to follow lines of socio-economic status, it is clear that recent immigrants and visible minorities are heavily represented among the have-nots. While structural functionalists may see such differences as "natural" differentiation that will always remain, political economy advocates see differences as an ongoing source of conflict that must be solved. Social and spatial ethnic residential segregation are means of "apartheid."

Two well-known models, one developed by the Duncans and the other by Shevky and Bell, examine urban residential segregation. The Duncans' (1957) model is oriented to SOCIAL CLASS as the major factor that determines where people live in the city, based on the concentric zone theory of urban growth. The Duncans assume that the lower class residents live close to the centre where the oldest, cheapest housing is located because socio-economic status rises towards the outer zones. The Duncans predict that the highest status families, such as the British, other northern Europeans and Jews will live in the suburbs, and recent immigrants from low status, non-white racial groups will live near the centre.

Shevky and Bell (1956), in their studies of Los Angeles and San Francisco, were able to break out of past thinking based on the zonal theory and to pursue the multiple nuclei theory proposed by Harris and Ullman. Basically, Harris and Ullman suggested in their multiple nuclei theory that land use cannot always be predicted. Historical, cultural, and socio-economic values will have differing impacts on cities, and the exact location of an economic or ethnic nucleus cannot be determined for all cities. The formation of these nuclei depend on a variety of factors - topographical, historical, cultural, racial, economic and political - that do not result in the same combination for each urban area.

Charles Dawson, the first to study urban segregation, was interested in describing the general growth pattern of Montréal and the extent to which it conformed to the Chicago concentric-zone model. The English are clearly located in the west, segregated by MOUNT ROYAL from the French. Immigrants from other countries - Blacks, Italians, Russians and Chinese - are concentrated near the central business section between the English and French solitudes. Dawson also examined effects of transportation lines on population patterns, and the location of ethnic groups such as Blacks, Chinese, Italians and recent immigrants in the city.

Stanley Lieberson (1970) was one of the first researchers to compare residential segregation in Canadian cities. Focusing on language use, Lieberson compared 13 metropolitan centres in Canada; he found a considerable correlation between residential segregation and retention of the FRENCH LANGUAGE. French-language retention was highest in Québec City, Montréal, Trois-Rivières and Ottawa; the concentrations of the French-speaking population in these cities was also highest; in cities where French-language retention was low, such as Regina, Calgary and London, the French populations were also sparse. He concluded that French retention ratios will vary inversely to the degree to which French Canadians encounter people who speak only English.

Also in the 1970s, Toronto sociologists Anthony Richmond and Warren Kalbach used the census data in Toronto to geographically plot the residential segregation of the many ethnic, racial and social class groups in the city. Using census tracts, they plotted where the British, French, Germans and new racial immigrants tended to congregate. The same analysis was conducted in Winnipeg, following Shevky and Bell's multi-nuclei work, to plot spatial residential concentration, isolation and segregation.

T.R. Balakrishnan and associates have done the most extensive work in Canada on comparing large numbers of ethnic groups in most of the metropolitan areas. Balakrishnan updated his work using a variety of diversity, concentration, dissimilarity and segregation indices. Research using ethnic diversity indices has shown that ethnic diversity between 1961 and 1991 has not increased in the Maritimes, where (except for Halifax) the population is nearly homogeneously British. The same is also true for metropolitan centres east of Montréal in Québec, where the population is homogeneously French. Montréal, however, was much more ethnically diverse.

Urban centres west of Montréal were already ethnically diverse in 1961 (two exceptions were Victoria and London). By 1991 all the western centres had become considerably more ethnically diverse. Clearly the Maritimes are homogenously British, Québec is predominantly French, and Ontario and the West are more multicultural.

Visible minorities increased from 5 to about 10 percent of the Canadian population between 1971 and 1991 (see DEMOGRAPHY and IMMIGRATION). Because of changes in the IMMIGRATION POLICY in the 1960s, visible minorities are now able to compete for entrance into Canada, and landed immigrants may, in turn, sponsor immediate kin to join them. Visible minorities who came as immigrants during the past two decades came mostly to Canada's cities, especially Toronto and Vancouver.

While concentration of whites is low in east Halifax, concentration scores for visible minorities and Jews are similar to that of other centres. The Chinese are most concentrated in Montréal, Blacks in St. Catharines, Aboriginals in Toronto and Hamilton, and South Asians as well as Jews in Montreal. Overall, Montreal has the most segregated whites, visible minorities and Jews, and Calgary exhibits the lowest segregation ratio.

Race and social class often combine to force many visible minorities to live in deteriorated sections of the city where it is difficult to raise families because of limited resources and disorganized social environments. Early Chinese bachelors clustered together in Chinatowns to survive and protect themselves against PREJUDICE AND DISCRIMINATION. Jews in Montréal, Toronto, Vancouver and Winnipeg were and still are highly clustered together to support their Jewish institutions, family life and religion. However, Aboriginal people in Canadian cities are forced to live in the inner cities because of UNEMPLOYMENT, low incomes, and often discrimination (Winnipeg has the highest concentration). Descendants of northern Europeans usually have the greatest freedom from discrimination because they have the jobs, the means, and therefore the opportunities to live where they choose.


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