Social Integration of Visible Minority Immigrants

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Research Briefs

Visible Minority Immigrants Less Integrated in Canadian Society

Visible minority immigrants are more likely to report feeling of discomfort than the Canadian-born or Whites in Canada. However, the feeling of discomfort decreases as immigrant generation status increases.

The observation that all racial minorities report higher levels of discomfort than the majority group implies that ethno-racial status is a potential obstacle to immigrant social integration.  If immigrants feel uncomfortable or excluded, this is likely to negatively impact their social, political and economic integration.

“The question ‘Do I belong?’ is, perhaps, a sharper and more pervasive consideration for immigrants than the Canadian-born, especially among racial minorities,” researchers Zheng Wu, Christoph M. Schimmele and Feng Hou note. The study illustrates that while sense of belonging does not change (increase or decrease) across immigrant generations, it is higher for South Asians, lower among Chinese and French Canadians, and similar to the British-origin Canadians for other racial minorities.

The researchers suggest that over time most immigrants do adapt to their new social environment and consider Canada their home. “At least, these people fare no worse than the Canadian-born in their sense of belonging to Canada and their feelings of discomfort living in the host society fades across generations. This suggests that most immigrants adopt Canada as their ‘home’ and successfully adapt to Canadian social life over time” the researchers add.

The study used data from the 2001 Canadian Census merged with data from the post census Ethnic Diversity Survey. It was conducted as part of a Metropolis BC grant awarded to Zheng Wu. Full manuscript is available in the Canadian Journal of Sociology/Cahiers canadiens de sociologie 37(4) 2012.

For more information, contact Zheng Wu, University of Victoria.

For a summary of the research, please see Research Brief #15, Visible Minority Groups Vary in Social Integration.

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