Experiences of Refugee Youth and Families in Hard-to-Survey Areas

Researchers: Howard Ramos1, Steffen Pötzschke2, Débora Maehler2
Affiliation: Western University2, GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Science2
Keywords: quantitative methodology, small cities, social and cultural integration, settlement communities, religious organizations, refugee youth and families, social networking.


Overview: This project researches refugee settlement and integration in smaller municipalities and secondary cities. The experiences of refugee youth and families of Syrian, Nigerian, and Mexican origin in these smaller centres will be examined, along with the opportunities provided by settlement communities and religious organizations.

Objective: to study the social and cultural integration of refugee youth and families in smaller municipalities and cities, focusing on refugees’ family and living situations, the opportunity structures provided by settlement communities, and the role of religious organizations. 

Research Justification: Quantitative research on migration in Canada often focuses on large metropolitan areas while smaller municipalities and secondary cities are seldom taken into view. At the same time, research suggests that smaller cities may be very effective in integrating newcomers and that their settlement practices and contextual factors may differ in meaningful ways from larger metropolitan areas. This project uses a multidimensional operationalization of integration to study integration of refugees in cities and municipalities of different sizes


This study uses social networking sites to recruit participants. This sampling method allows the research team to connect with populations sharing defined traits, such as being an international migrant, in selected localities. This method is well suited for research with migrant populations that may be missed through other sampling frames. The study aims to survey 300 refugees from Syria, 450 from Nigeria, and 450 from Mexico. These targets are based on larger cohorts of refugees landing in Canada over the last decade as well as large groups of migrants that are comparable to Germany and other countries

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