Ghanaian and Somali immigrants in Toronto's rental market: a comparative cultural perspective of housing issues and coping strategies" in Canadian Ethnic Studies
Partant du principe que «la culture» a généralement été négligée dans l'analyse du logement des immigrants au Canada, cette étude examine les expériences de logement des immigrants ghanéens et somaliens à Toronto, en explorant l'influence des cultures de ces immigrants dans la dynamique complexe du marché locatif de la ville. L'étude repose sur une approche de méthodes mixtes, notamment un questionnaire, des entretiens qualitatifs et des discussions de groupe pour l'acquisition de données. Entre autres choses, nous avons constaté que les immigrants ghanéens et somaliens à Toronto font face à de nombreux défis en matière de logement, dont certains sont purement économiques, tandis que d'autres concernent des questions telles que la discrimination raciale; une pénurie d'information sur le logement adapté à la culture, et de graves pénuries de maisons conçues pour accueillir leurs familles ainsi que certains de leurs besoins culturels, y compris le besoin d'espaces sexués, des salles de prière, et la cuisson des repas traditionnels à la maison. L'étude est importante non seulement parce qu'elle traite d'un groupe défavorisé (i.e. Africains noirs au Canada), mais aussi parce qu'elle inclut la culture dans la discussion sur le logement des immigrants au Canada pour moduler le réductionnisme économique qui prévaut dans la littérature. The study found that more Somali households have rent levels (including utilities) that fall in the lowest category of "less than $750" per month, while more Ghanaians have rent levels in the highest categories of "$1,251 - $1,500" and "over $1,500" per month. This situation is not hard to explain: for example, relatively more Somalis rely on government assistance, and are therefore more likely to receive rent subsidies, placing them in the low end of the rent scale. Also, even though the proportions of Somalis and Ghanaians that are renting public housing and private rental housing are almost the same, slightly more Somali households are renting from not-for-profit housing co-operations. A far greater proportion of Ghanaians (68.4 percent) than Somalis (39.4 percent) described their rents as being "expensive" or "very expensive." This difference is statistically significant, and not surprising considering that, on average, Ghanaians pay much higher rents. Furthermore, given that Somali households are generally larger than Ghanaian households, the likelihood of rent-sharing is greater among Somalis. Ghanaians may find their rent expensive because many Ghanaians pursue house-building projects in their homelands, while they are still struggling to settle in their adopted country. Table 5 summarizes the main barriers faced by the respondents in their most recent housing searches. Not surprisingly "lack of money" emerged as the most formidable, with 93.4 percent of Ghanaians and 81.7 percent of Somalis reporting this barrier. Although "racial discrimination" surfaced as a clear barrier in their search for housing, it appears to be of less concern for Ghanaians, compared to "the lack of information on housing" and "bureaucratic barriers." Similarly, higher proportions of Somalis saw the "lack of information on housing" and "family size" as barriers to housing, relative to "racial discrimination in the housing market."
Joseph Mensah is a Professor in the Department of Geography at York University. Mensah works in cultural studies, transnationalism, formations of ethno-racial identity, African development, socio-spatial dialectics, race and return migration.
Other publications from this author include:
- "The Black, continental African presence and the nation-immigration dialectic in Canada" in Social Identities: Journal for the Study of Race, Nation and Culture (2015)
- "Seeing/being double: how African immigrants in Canada balance their ethno-racial and national identities" in African and Black Diaspora: An International Journal (2015)
- "Black continental African identities in Canada: Exploring the intersections of identity formation and immigrant transnationalism" in Journal of Canadian Studies (2014)
- "The global financial crisis and access to health care in Africa" in Africa Today (2014)
- "Ghana's National Health Insurance: insights from members, administrators, and health care providers" in Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved (2013)
- "Cultural dimensions of African immigrant housing in Toronto: a qualitative insight" in Housing Studies (2013)
- "Access to postsecondary education: can schools compensate for socioeconomic disadvantage?" in Higher Education (2012)
- "Gender, power, and religious transnationalism among the African diaspora in Canada" in African Geographical Review (2012)
- Black Canadians: History, Experience, Social Conditions (2010)
- Neoliberalism and Globalization in Africa: Contestations on the Embattled Continent (2008)