Housing recent Mexican immigrants in the suburbs of Vancouver, Canada

Authors: Carlos Teixeira*, University of British Columbia Okanagan, Anabel Lopez, University of British Columbia
Topics: Ethnic Geography, Ethnicity and Race, Social Geography
Keywords: Canada, ethnic networks, housing, Mexican immigrants, settlement experiences, suburbanization, Vancouver
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


In cities across Canada, suburbs have become important immigrant-receiving sites. This ‘suburbanization of immigrants’ is significantly affecting the housing situation in the Vancouver area, as the market responds to the preferences and requirements of new immigrant groups. This paper draws from a case study examining the settlement and housing experiences of recent immigrants from Mexico living in three Vancouver suburbs (Burnaby, Surrey, and Abbotsford). The findings from our survey of 129 Mexican immigrants and interviews with 60 key stakeholders reveal that housing affordability is a major issue for Mexican immigrant homeowners and renters. Almost half of the survey respondents spent more than 30% of their monthly income on housing. Renters used various strategies to afford housing, including sharing housing with relatives and co-ethnic friends (sometimes in overcrowded conditions), while some homeowners sublet rooms or rented out basement suites. The findings also revealed that in addition to facing employment and housing market challenges similar to other immigrant groups in Vancouver, Mexican immigrants experienced housing discrimination related to suspicions about undocumented immigration. Despite facing barriers to integration, the Mexican immigrants in our study were largely successful in improving their housing status in Canada. Policymakers and service planners must understand the ‘ethnic refashioning’ of major city suburbs and the housing issues faced by new groups of immigrants to better assist their integration.

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