Stalled Mobility? Income Inequality and Intergenerational Relationships Among Newcomer South Asian and Chinese Households in York Region

Project Summary:

Income equality has declined for newcomers and there is every reason to believe that intergenerational mobility may have also stalled. Evidence suggests that recent migrants are experiencing lower rates of employment and living on the margin of skilled labour for a longer period of time after their arrival than cohorts who landed between 1961 and 1991 (Ruddick, 2003; Green et al, 2016). Racialized migrants are particularly susceptible to experiencing employment precarity and low- income (Fuller, 2015; Galabuzi, 2006). Even though newcomers were doing better financially by 2010 compared to the past thirty years, still the rate of low-income for recent migrants was 2.5 times higher than the rate for the Canadian-born (Statistics Canada, 2014). Racialized newcomers contend with income instability and establishingsocial supports in finding employment and negotiating family relations. Ethno-racial, diverse, and multi-generational households are the fastest growing form in urban Canada (Statistics Canada, 2017) suggesting that income in/security may be intergeneratinally shared in households. Newcomer income insecurity strains may be exacerbated by generational differences, such as in perceptions of how children should integrate into their new country and retain cultural knowledge and tradition (Hassan et al., 2008). South Asian and Chinese women’s greater responsibility for caregiving may reflect cultural discourses of loyalty and filial piety and the lack of affordable child care (Spitzer et al., 2003). There is limited research that addresses what enhances or hinders newcomers’ economic resilience and how, these factors affect their settlement in Canadian society. Clearly there remains a complex story to be told about recent immigrants and their continuing economic vulnerability in Canada. We explore how social, economic and cultural capital and strategies employed by newcomer South Asian and Chinese households impact their survival and intergenerational family relationships. Secondary questions include: How is income inequality differently experienced in the family households of recent Chinese versus South Asian migrants? What new income strategies do newcomers adopt? How do these strategies affect opportunities for income mobility for younger generations? How might intergenerational family relationships be preserved or strained by the income strategies of newcomers?

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SSHRC Sub-Research Grant, (BMRI) Building Migrant Resilience in Cities/Immigration et résilience enmilieu urbain (PI: Valerie Preston)

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Nancy Mandell, Amber Gazo, Larry Lam

Collaborator Institution:
York University

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(e.g type 1000 for 1,000)