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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Ethnicity and residential location Hier, Marlene F.


A predominant feature of Canadian society is the presence of a variety of ethnic minority groups which maintain distinctive values and patterns of behavior and which reside in readily identifiable ethnic concentrations. Literature describing ethnic minority residential clustering and dispersion stresses that because of the low socio-economic status of the members of these immigrant groups and because of their strong ethno-religious ties, they formed their own ethnic communities in urban core areas. As members, and their children and grandchildren particularly, improved their economic status and as their ethno-religious ties weakened, they began to move from the urban core ethnic concentration to ethnically mixed suburban communities. . This study focused upon Jews and Italians, two ethnic minorities which concentrate in ethnic clusters in the City of Vancouver and which have a substantial number of their members living in the suburban communities of Richmond, Burnaby, North Vancouver and West Vancouver. The research primarily addressed itself to exploring the associations between residential location and the following variables: ethno-religious identification, socio-economic status, generation status, and the nature and extent of social networks based on kith and kin. Responses to 157 questionnaires, which were administered to select groups of Jews, Italians, and Anglo-Saxons, were analyzed by multivariate statistical techniques. The results indicate that for both the Jewish and Italian groups, the intensity of ethno-religious identification is strongest among cluster residents. Although suburban groups, in general, display a less intense ethno-religious identification than do the cluster groups, they are not homogeneous in this respect. Residents of the Italian urban cluster belong mostly to the foreign-born generation. Second, third-, and subsequent - generations are more apt to locate in suburbia. Such is not the case for Jews. A substantial proportion of Jewish urban cluster residents are third - and subsequent - generation Jews. Stronger familial ties and more extensive friendships with members of the same ethnic group are characteristic of Jews and Italians resident in ethnic clusters compared to suburban ethnic members. For Italians, socio-economic status among cluster residents is significantly lower than that of most suburban Italians. For Jews, this it not the case. Jewish cluster residents are significantly higher in socio-economic status than most suburban Jews. Planners should be aware that ethnic minority groups are not homogeneous. They are internally differentiated by ethno-religious identification, socioeconomic status, generation status, and the extent and intensity of social networks. These differences should be considered in the formulation of plans.

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