The invisible barrier: Neighbourhood poverty and integration of immigrants in Canada

  • Abdolmohammad Kazemipur
  • Shiva Halli


The rise of poverty among industrial nations including Canada since the late 1980s has resulted in a higher number of neighbourhoods with a high poverty rate, which in turn has led to an increase in the occurrence of other social ills such as poor educational and health care services, high crime, and high unemployment rates. The combination of these social ills and the social isolation experienced by those in extremely poor neighbourhoods has given rise to a particular lifestyle and subculture, closely related to Lewis’ (1971) notion of the culture of poverty. An examination of 1996 census tract data in Canada shows that immigrants are more likely than non-immigrants to live in neighbourhoods with high rates of poverty. We argue that such an overrepresentation can have serious consequences for the process of integration of immigrants, as it acts as an invisible barrier to their economic success, and can hamper their children’s ambitions.


Census Tract International Migration Poverty Rate Immigrant Population Visible Minority 
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La hausse de la pauvreté parmi les pays industriels inclusivement le Canada depuis la dernière partie des années 80 a en conséquence une augmentation de la pauvreté dans certains quartiers. Ceci a comme résultat, une augmentation d’autres problèmes sociaux telles que le manque d’enseignement et de services médicaux favorables, le manque d’emploi et le crime qui augmente. La combinaison de ces problèmes sociaux et l’isolation connu par les quartiers les plus pauvres nous mène à la hausse d’une manière de vivre particulière et d’une subculture, reliées à la notion d’Oscar Lewis de la culture de la pauvreté. Les résultats du recensement de la population en 1996 au Canada nous montrent que les immigrants sont ceux qui vivent dans les quartiers les moins avantageux, par rapport aux non-immigrants. Nous pensons qu’une telle répresentation peut avoir des conséquences très sérieuses dans le processus de l’intégration de l’immigrant. C’est un obstacle invisible dans le chemin du succès économique de l’immigrant et peut aussi gêner la deuxième génération d’immigrants de poursuivre leurs ambitions.


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Copyright information

© Springer SBM 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Abdolmohammad Kazemipur
    • 1
  • Shiva Halli
    • 2
  1. 1.University of LethbridgeLethbridgeCanada
  2. 2.University of ManitobaCanada

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