Blog: Ethnicity and Segregation in Ottawa-Hull, 1961

The basic search screen for the CityStats tool.

One of the more interesting tools that I have used for understanding the ethnic and racial composition of Canadian cities in the postwar era is called City Stats. Billed as a tool “designed to encourage the use of measures of residential segregation in Canadian urban history,” it allows the user to run calculations, from the basic to the complex, to understand segregation better in one, several, or all urban areas in Canada.

For my own part, I first encountered the tool a few years back when I was making an attempt to understand Ottawa’s Italian community and how concentrated (or not) it may or may not have been.

To provide a general overview of Ottawa-Hull in 1961, I have reproduced the Table 1 data below. I should note that, like City Stats, I have retained the terms for the various groups used by the Dominion Bureau of Statistics.

GroupTotalPercentageDissimilarity
All428289100.00%-
French17536040.94%0.5646
English8350719.50%0.2944
Irish5991113.99%0.2779
Scottish424669.92%0.3200
German123052.87%0.2461
Italian90942.12%0.4945
Canadian69071.61%0.5266
Netherlands55851.30%0.2942
Polish42430.99%0.2640
Jewish36490.85%0.5303
Welsh33010.77%0.3270
Not Stated23460.55%0.4345
Syrian-Lebanese18800.44%0.3880
Ukrainian15990.37%0.2935
Russian14490.34%0.3780
Hungarian13730.32%0.3516
Austrian13650.32%0.3518
Other European11350.27%0.3497
Danish11350.27%0.3076
Chinese10780.25%0.4591
Greek10330.24%0.4618
Swedish9850.23%0.3112
Norweigan9630.22%0.3179
Belgian7590.18%0.2167
Yugoslavic6560.15%0.3790
Roumanian4990.12%0.3459
Czech3710.09%0.3369
Latvian3640.08%0.4309
Lithuanian3540.08%0.4204
American3440.08%0.4624
Finnish2670.06%0.3660
Slovak2590.06%0.4843
Icelandic2350.05%0.4126
Other Asiatic2220.05%0.5414
East Indian2150.05%0.5178
Estonian2140.05%0.5433
Negro2130.05%0.5567
Other2030.05%0.4925
Native Indian - Non Band1580.04%0.4494
Japanese1420.03%0.5437
Native Indian - Band960.02%0.6107
Other British Isles350.01%0.8005
Eskimo70.00%0.9431
Byelorussian70.00%0.8969

For an explanation of the data in Table 1:

Table 1: Group Totals, Percentages, and Index of Dissimilarity (D)

This table includes the population totals and percentages for each ethnic group in the selected city, in accordance with the census categories available in the data for that year.*

In addition, Table 1 provides scores for the Index of Dissimilarity (D) for each group. D is the statistic most commonly used to measure segregation. It indicates the degree to which a group is evenly (or unevenly) distributed across the census tracts in a given city. D measures evenness by comparing a group’s representation within individual census tracts to its representation in the city as a whole. The measure produces a number between 0 and 1 that can be interpreted as the proportion of the group’s population that would need to change their area of residence to achieve an even distribution across all tracts. For example, people reporting German origins in Toronto in 1971 had a result of 0.1707, meaning that just over 17% of Germans would have had to relocate for the population to be spread evenly across the city. In contrast, people reporting Jewish origins in Toronto in 1971 had a score of 0.7241, meaning that over 72% would have had to relocate. Jews were significantly more segregated in Toronto in 1971 than people of German origins.

For a more complete explanation of the tool, see Jordan Stanger-Ross. “Citystats and the History of Community and Segregation in Post-Second World War Urban Canada,” Journal of the Canadian Historical Association 19, no. 2 (2008): 3-22.

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