“Men who immigrate to Vancouver are twice as likely to report poor health compared to males who choose Toronto.
Female immigrants are 1.5 times more inclined to struggle with their health in Vancouver compared to women who end up in Ontario’s largest city.
The figures are not much better for immigrant males who choose Vancouver instead of Montreal.
The StatsCan longitudinal study suggested the findings about Vancouver needed further research. Yet, after consulting with noted Vancouver immigration specialist Richard Kurland, we have come up with four possible reasons why Vancouver is unusually rough on immigrants’ physical and mental health.
The first reason is actually hinted at in the report, written by StatsCan official Edward Ng, as well as Kevin Pottie and Denise Spitzer, both of the University of Ottawa.
It relates to housing. The report inadvertently linked the two by cryptically reporting “declining health” among new immigrants “who were not satisfied with their housing, and who lived in Vancouver.”
Although the statisticians didn’t draw a direct connection, Kurland is among those who recognize that Metro Vancouver’s inflated housing prices are hard on the health of everyone, immigrant and non-immigrant.
“Housing is always a Vancouver problem,” he said.
It’s not hard to imagine how expensive housing can lead to cramped living, extended families being forced to tensely live together and long commutes to work.”
- from ‘Why is Vancouver so bad for immigrants’ health?’, by Douglas Todd, Vancouver Sun, 7 Jan 2011[hat-tip Loon]
The described relationship is an association, rather than a proven causative link.
Regardless, it is of note to see a mainstream local article even suggesting that “inflated housing prices” may be linked to “poor health”. The article suggests possible mechanisms of (1) cramped living (with physical and mental health risks) and (2) long commutes. Other factors possibly making the link causative would be the long term psychological stress of financial overcommitment to housing.