Dimensions and dynamics of residential segregation by income in urban Canada, 1991–1996 Journal Articles uri icon

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  • This paper examines the trends in residential segregation by income (post‐transfer, pretax income) in the thirty‐nine largest Canadian urban areas between 1991 and 1996. The study is motivated by the relative lack of attention paid to residential segregation by income in the Canadian context and by conceptual arguments linking compromised life chances and increased social tensions for the populations of highly segregated cities. We investigated several dimensions of segregation using five different measures (we focus on three of these here given the correlation structure of the measures) to examine changes in segregation between 1991 and 1996, a period characterised by economic recession, cutbacks in social programs and a widening of inequality in market incomes at the national scale. Overall, income segregation increased in most urban areas across all dimensions of segregation during the time period, with particularly high degrees of segregation observed in prairie cities (Winnipeg, Saskatoon and Regina). Of the three largest metropolitan areas (Vancouver, Toronto and Montréal), Montréal was the most consistently segregated. We also find that increases in spatial separation and spatial concentration by income occurred despite the fact that at the national scale, the tax and transfer system appeared to be adequately redressing a rise in inequality in labour and market incomes (as demonstrated by the lack of change in post‐transfer national income inequality measures during a period when inequality in market and labour incomes rose sharply). This implies that the lived experience of changes in income distribution are unlikely fully captured by aspatial, national‐scale measures and that intra‐urban measures with a spatial dimension are an important indicators of inequality in Canadian society.


  • Ross, Nancy A
  • Houle, Christian
  • Dunn, James
  • Aye, Marcellin

publication date

  • December 2004