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Acquisition of Cross-Ethnic Friends by Recent Immigrants in Canada: A Longitudinal Approach


  • The authors are grateful to Lisa Kaida from the Department of Sociology, University of Toronto, for her assistance with the analysis.


This paper examines the development of inter-ethnic friendships between immigrants and Canadians. It uses longitudinal data from three waves of the Canadian LSIC survey, in which newly arrived immigrants were followed during the first 4 years of settlement. It is found that pre-migration characteristics play an important role in the development of inter-ethnic friendships: immigrants who arrive at a younger age and for economic reasons, as well as those who are highly educated and have a cross-ethnic partner at the moment of arrival, establish more inter-ethnic friendships over time. In addition, post-migration characteristics affect the formation of inter-ethnic friendships. Such friendships are more common among immigrants who embrace Canadian traditions and acquire the host-country language, as well as among those who work in international settings and inhabit ethnically mixed neighborhoods. The effects of pre-migration characteristics are partially mediated by post-migration characteristics. Our findings point out that economic, cultural, and spatial integration are all conducive to inter-ethnic friendships.

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