28 October 2017

Measuring residential isolation among Montréal’s immigrants

Options Winter 2017/18: Montréal has a history of high levels of immigration, are these communities segregated from rest of the city?

© Marc Bruxelle | Shutterstock

© Marc Bruxelle | Shutterstock

International migration is a phenomenon that constantly alters the social makeup of large cities across the globe. In some cases, immigrants who move to a new city associate primarily with other immigrants, leaving the immigrant population fairly isolated from the rest of the community.

Montréal, home to roughly 85% of those who immigrate to Québec, has a history of high levels of immigration and international mobility. As such, it is a good indicator of how immigrants may choose to integrate with their new communities. Historically, this has been difficult to accurately measure, since most similar studies ignore the fact that many immigrants are limited by economic, social, and cultural factors, and isolation is therefore not out of choice.

In a study published in the journal Applied Spatial Analysis and Policy, IIASA researcher Guillaume Marois avoided the descriptive indicators that commonly fail to take into account the wide variety of structures in immigrant communities, which is what many similar studies use as their primary method of measurement.

“I applied statistical modeling that allowed the net propensity to live in isolation to be identified,” explains Marois. “I found that once we take into account the composition of groups, no immigrant communities are particularly segregated in Montréal. “However, some vulnerable groups in terms of education, income, or language, are much more isolated than others. In consequence, public policies should take this heterogeneity into account.” These findings could help shape public policy towards these immigrant communities.

Text by Jeremy Summers

Further information

 Marois G (2017). A statistical approach for analyzing residential isolation and its determinants for immigrant communities: an application to the Montreal metropolitan region. Applied Spatial Analysis and Policy: 1-29. [pure.iiasa.ac.at/14518]

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Last edited: 14 November 2017


Guillaume Marois

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World Population

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