During the 1990s, a new surge of poverty struck the western industrial nations, including Canada. Slower economic growth both at national and international levels, globalization and the erosion of the welfare state contributed to this poverty surge. Moreover, there is a widespread perception that this poverty has become increasingly concentrated in certain neighborhoods, known as "ghetto," "inner city," "poverty zone," etc., and that such neighborhoods have become mostly the habitats of minority groups/racial minorities in some societies, immigrant groups in others.
The authors provide a comprehensive picture of Canadian cities with regard to the concentration of poverty and, in particular, examine whether there is an ethnic dimension associated with it. They find a disturbing trend towards rising poverty levels during the 1990s, with poverty tending to be concentrated in certain neighborhoods.
Also, certain ethnic groups, especially visible minorities and those consisting mostly of recent immigrants, seem to be doubly disadvantaged, suffering not only from a general poverty due to economic factors but also factors related to their immigration status, such as limited knowledge of the official languages and the mismatch of their skills and the demands of the labour market.
The authors compare the Canadian experience with that of the US and European countries, examine various explanations, and make suggestions for policy-makers as to how to combat these disturbing trends.