Marginalization in Ottawa

November 11, 2022

Inequality shapes our daily lives in more ways than we understand. There are strong associations between social and physical deprivation and the health of our communities.

group of game pieces and one separated piece

Marginalization is one way to explore that relationship. Marginalization is the exclusion of people from society taking away their political power, and it offers a way to conceptualize the disadvantage of those who are discriminated against.

A marginalization index allows us to investigate the relationships between a variety of social and economic indicators as well as other determinants of health. This measurement across neighbourhoods can be used for planning and needs assessments, and resource allocation. We also hope it will contribute to the monitoring of neighbourhood-level inequalities with the goal of reducing them.

ONS has developed an index for marginalization in Ottawa, the Ott-Marg. This index, an adaptation of the Ontario Marginalization index (ON-Marg), shows the range of marginalization across Ottawa’s “natural” neighbourhoods. The index was adapted and analyzed by Nina Varah (MD Candidate) in partnership with the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Ottawa.

Map of Ottawa that shows marginalization (summary score) by neighbourhood.
Map of Ottawa showing Ottawa neighbourhoods with their ranking by total marginalization score.

The index, the result of a Principal Component Analysis (PCA) is made up of 18 variables presented in 4 dimensions: Residential Instability, Material Deprivation, Ethnic Concentration, and Dependency. ONS offers visuals for each of these dimensions as well as a summary score. Results for neighbourhoods in each dimension are shown as quintile scores– that is, they are calculated by ranking the PCA factor scores and dividing the neighbourhoods into five equal groups (Q1-Q5). Neighbourhoods ranked as Q5 are those exhibiting the highest levels of marginalization. The OTT-Marg summary score was calculated by taking the average quintile score for the four dimensions.

Discover our dimensions of marginalization in Ottawa with our interactive maps! Our residential instability score contains 6 variables: single person households, proportion of population aged 5 to 15, proportion of dwellings that are apartment buildings, proportion of dwellings that are not owned, residents who are single, widowed or divorced and average household size. Material deprivation explores the 5 variables: single parent families, residents over 15 years old without a job, residents over 20 years old without a high school diploma, residents receiving government income, and proportion of dwellings requiring major repairs. Next, ethnic concentration is depicted using 4 variables: residents who are recent immigrants, residents of a visible minority, residents who have moved in the last 5 years and residents living in low income (LICO). We also show dependency with the following 3 variables: residents over 65 years old, inactive residents and dependency ratio (youth between 5-15 years old and adults over 65 years old compared to adults aged 15-64). Finally, we have a summary marginalization score that combines the 4 dimensions above.