Darryl Pierce

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Walter G. Peace




The pattern of socio-economic status has changed over a forty- five year time period within the Hamilton Census Metropolitan Area. The grouping of census tracts into one of three categories based on its neighbourhood change, between 1961 and 2006, serves as the primary organizing framework for this thesis. This study uses average individual income in order to defme the CMA's "Three Cities", extending from research by J. David Hulchanski of Toronto (2007). Census tracts belonging to Ancaster, Dundas, Flamborough and Grimsby comprise City 1, whose average individual income increased by 10% or more compared to the Hamilton CMA average individual income between 1961 and 2006. Census tracts of Burlington, Glanbrook and West Hamilton consist of City 2, within which the average individual income relative to the CMA either increased or decreased by no more than 10%. East Hamilton, the Hamilton Mountain and Stoney Creek encompass City 3, which has seen a decrease in the average individual income compared to the CMA by 10% or more. Using census data for 1961, 1971, 1981, 1991, 2001 and 2006 at the census tract level allows for the examining of the "Three Cities" at each period of time. Census variables include those related to: size and population, income, housing and tenure, education, immigration, households, and occupations. Distinct characteristics emerged between the "Three Cities" related to each of these variables. A contrasting divide exists between suburban communities and those of East Hamilton, the Hamilton Mountain and Stoney Creek. Results from this study add to the growing body of literature on social polarization, and offer a methodological contribution in that the grouping ofthe "Three Cities" characterize the CMA's census tracts over the forty- five year time period.

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