Labour Studies Index

Updated: 2021-01-05

Transitions to Adulthood Among First Generation Sub-Saharan African Immigrant Adolescents in Canada: Evidence from a Qualitative Study in Montreal

Document type Article
Author Lardoux, Solène
Author Mondain, Nathalie
Journal Journal of International Migration and Integration
Volume 14
Date 2013 05 01
ISSN 1488-3473, 1874-6365
Pages 307-326


In industrialized societies, a large number of studies have addressed the various patterns of adolescent transitions to adulthood. While most studies on migration have examined aspects of migrants’ integration into host societies, few researches, however, have dealt with the intersection of these two topics—the experiences and problems encountered by immigrant adolescents. This research focuses on the transition to adulthood among sub-Saharan African youth who live in Montreal, Canada. This group is still poorly known in Canada, and the few studies that exist on sub-Saharan Africans in Canada showed that they are among the most discriminated groups socially and economically. Both immigrant youth and their parents/families’ experience a transition to adapt to a new place, and these respective experiences may affect their relationships. Our research objectives are to examine the conditions in which African immigrant adolescents experience their transition to adulthood and to assess whether the gaps between the two perspectives are purely generational or are partly specific to this group. The data are based on qualitative focus group discussions and individual interviews conducted in Montreal in 2005–2007 among first generation immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa and a control group of native Canadians (whose parents were also born in Canada), men and women between age 12 and 18 and young adults aged 18 to 29. Our results show that in all cases the question of becoming responsible, making one’s own decision is central. What varies is the process through which the young people become responsible.