University of Toronto Magazine University of Toronto Magazine

Ethnic Isolation

Ethnic communities risk being at a disadvantage

Asian immigrants who work solely in their own ethnic communities are at risk of becoming cut off from mainstream society and ultimately disadvantaged. “Immigrants can become trapped by the social confines of the economy they helped build, which could hurt them economically in the long run,” says sociology professor Eric Fong. Fong and graduate student Emi Ooka interviewed 217 people of Chinese descent in the Greater Toronto Area, most of them immigrants. Almost half of those employed in the Asian ethnic economy were older, less educated and had poorer English language skills than other respondents who worked in the mainstream economy.

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