Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Dr. R.L. Gentilcore


The purpose of the thesis was to look at the spatial characteristics and factors affecting residential mobility of a group of first generation Italian immigrants in Hamilton. It also investigated the link between occupational and residential mobility. Data for this study were collected in two phases: questionnaires were mailed out to a randomly selected sample of Italians in the city and a subgroup of the respondents were interviewed orally.

It was found that the immigrants upon arrival settled in the older parts of the city generally north of Main Street, between Queen and Ottawa Streets. This section, close to the industrial sector, has all the characteristics of an immigrant receiving area. The group was highly mobile. Some moved within the area of original settlement but with an eastward shift in relocation. Others moved to different parts of the city, chiefly the East and the Mountain. This latter movement signifies a move to newer housing, but where a considerable number of Italians are to be found.

While number of job changes and occupational mobility were significant in affecting number of moves, only occupational mobility affected the type of move made. It was interesting to note that, contrary to what was expected, those who moved within the area of original settlement were occupationally more mobile than those who moved out of it. No discernable pattern was found in the relationship between residential and occupational mobility. In some case one took place before the other and in others, they occurred around the same time.

From the oral interviews it became clear that the reasons for moving were different from those hypothesized. As boarders they were looking for cheaper places. As owners they were looking for more space, bigger houses, better neighbourhoods, opportunity to buy a lot and build their own houses. Their idea of prestige is not in the kind of job, but in the type of house they own and where they live. All in all, the immigrants show a great deal of solidarity be it social or localised.

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