Immigrants and Their Situation in Canada

Immigrants and Their Situation in Canada

The article Profiling Immigrant Poverty in Canada: A 2006 Census Statistical Portrait discusses the relationship between immigration and poverty levels in Canada. In the discussion, it uses different factors that affect the poverty levels relatively. The article acknowledges that some groups of people in Canada are more vulnerable to poverty than others. The most vulnerable group to poverty is the immigrant population. Apart from immigrants the lone parents, aboriginal groups, persons with work-limiting disabilities, and unattached individuals of ages 45-64 are other groups more vulnerable to persistent poverty in Canada (Shields, Kelly, Park, Prier & Fang 2011). The authors, according to the 2006 census, posits that immigrants are more vulnerable to poverty than people who are born in Canada with the most recent immigrants facing the highest levels of poverty due to low-income jobs and social exclusion.

The article analyses child poverty in Canada and notes that the children who moved to Canada most recently have the highest level of poverty which is three times higher than of those children born in Canada. While still using the immigrants’ time of arrival pattern, the group which is married or in common law relationships have lower levels of poverty than those who are single, widowed or separated. Another major factor that causes poverty according to the article is the ethnic-racial differences which cause discrimination leading to high levels of poverty in the visible minorities especially those who immigrated recently. The authors also infer that geographical locations affect poverty levels with neighborhoods having recent immigrants and radicalized groups maintaining the highest poverty levels.

The article ‘I Fit Description’: Experience of Social and Spatial Exclusion among Ghanaian Immigrant Youth in the Jane and Finch Neighborhood of Toronto by Mariama Zaami discusses how the neighborhood and geographical location a person and especially an immigrant affects their lives. Mariama describes that neighborhood affects the educational achievements, causes social exclusion of visible minorities, health school dropouts, deviant behavior and transition rates from welfare to work (Zaami 2015). To come up with the findings of how neighborhood affects immigrants lives, the author used the experience of Ghanaian immigrant youth who live in the Jane and Finch neighborhood. To the Ghanaian immigrant youth, their neighborhood contributed to their social exclusion outside their residence especially due to the negative public’s perception about Jane and Finch. Mariama concluded that unemployment also contributes to social exclusion hindering access to social services outside such neighborhoods. The findings of the article were neighborhoods where low-income people and visible minority immigrants groups live negatively affect the lives of their inhabitants. The inhabitants are discriminated against access to jobs due to the negative names associated with their neighborhoods.

The article Perils of Reification: Identity Categories and Identity Construction in Migration Research by David Kertzer discuss how identity categories are used in demographic researches focusing on population movements. The article tries to examine the identity of an immigrant. It tries to question why an immigrant who has lived in a certain country for many years may not be considered as an immigrant while that one who has lived for a short while and intended to go back home is considered an immigrant. It also questions why there are third, fourth and fifth generation immigrants while other identities are not transmitted from parent to child (Kertzer 2017). Kertzer concludes that while studying migration, identity categories are associated with the immigrants’ countries of origin which at times lead to new identity categories being formed. To him, people’s identities are multiple, complex, situational and lose stability over time.

Just like in Kertzer’s discussion the other two articles, in their research on immigrants, use the countries of origins of the immigrants as their identities. Examples of nations used are Ghana, China, Japan, Korea, and the Philippines. They also use more general identities such as blacks, Southeast Asians, and South Asians. Although most scholars trying to conduct studies understand that identities are complex, it is hard to use the more complex identities while conducting large studies such as census as they will not provide most of the information the scholars are finding out.

According to the articles, immigrants are more vulnerable to high poverty levels especially when they are still new in the new countries. The factors that lead to these poverty levels are neighborhoods they live in, social exclusion, discrimination especially if they are visible immigrants, and low-income levels. The immigrants who are not ‘whites’ in Canada are likely to find it harder in Canada due to social exclusion and discrimination because original Canadian residents are white. The authors have made it clear that the residents which the immigrants choose can affect their lives either positively or negatively. Those immigrants living in ghetto kind of neighborhoods like Jane and Finch in Toronto are more likely to suffer higher and consistent poverty levels than those living in smaller suburbs. Other factors that affect the poverty levels of immigrants are such as age, marital status, and geographical locations of residence.

In conclusion, according to the authors’ findings when all the factors that could affect the poverty levels of immigrants are put constant, the non-white immigrants are the ones who are more likely to suffer the most. When the immigrants have lived in Canada for more extended periods, the poverty levels reduce because they find jobs with better incomes, move to better residential areas, social inclusion improves, and the discrimination reduces. However in the recent years, although the poverty levels of immigrants decrease, their poverty levels remain higher than the poverty levels of those born in Canada.

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