Regionalization and Recent Immigrants’ Access to Jobs: An Analysis of Commuting in Canadian Metropolitan Areas

Valerie Preston, Sara McLafferty, Monika Maciejewska

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Examining the transportation modes used to commute by the growing numbers of immigrants locating in medium and small metropolitan areas, this study investigates the social geographies of mobility inequality, the uneven distribution of transportation burdens and benefits. Using microdata from the 2016 Census of Canada, we compare immigrants’ propensity to commute by car, transit, and active modes (cycling and walking) among large, medium, and small metropolitan areas and we analyze the varying determinants of commuting mode in each context. In every metropolitan context, recent immigrants are more likely than established immigrants and the Canadian-born to commute on transit or by active modes. Although recent immigrants’ use of public transportation declines from large to medium and small metropolitan areas, social differentials in reliance on public transportation persist. Women, workers who are not married, people who identify as non-White and non-Aboriginal and workers who do not have dependent children use transit and active modes more than other workers. Recent immigrant women's reliance on alternative modes is striking in metropolitan areas of all sizes. The findings indicate that policies encouraging immigrants to settle in medium and small metropolitan areas should also include investments in public transportation and pedestrian-friendly environments to reduce mobility inequality and enhance equitable access to employment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number103787
StatePublished - Aug 2023


  • Canadian metropolitan areas
  • Commuting
  • Immigration and settlement
  • Mobility inequality
  • Regionalization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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