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Single parents and gay couples face rental housing discrimination: UBC study
Date:8/26/2011

A new University of British Columbia study finds single parents and male gay couples face significant discrimination in the Metro Vancouver rental housing market, compared to straight couples.

Overall, the study finds that same-sex male couples are nearly 25 per cent more likely to be rejected by landlords seeking renters, while single parents are approximately 15 per cent more likely to be rejected.

The research, published in the August issue of the journal Social Problems, is the largest investigation of housing discrimination towards single parents, and the first to the explore geographic variation in their discrimination.

"Vancouver has a reputation for tolerance of diversity in North America and a vibrant gay community," says lead author Nathanael Lauster, a professor in UBC's Dept. of Sociology. "This means that housing discrimination levels may even be higher in other cities."

For the study, researchers analyzed nearly 1,700 online rental inquiries in Metro Vancouver, one of Canada's largest urban centres, which has a diverse, multicultural population and strong housing laws to protect against discrimination.

The study found that discrimination rates varied significantly by neighborhood. For example, communities with greater numbers of single-parent families -- including East Vancouver, Burnaby and New Westminster -- exhibited increased levels of discrimination towards single parents.

The opposite was true, however, in neighborhoods with large gay populations -- such as Vancouver's West End and West Side -- which exhibited significantly lower levels of discrimination towards male same-sex couples.

"This suggests that the bases for discrimination against same-sex couples and single parents may differ," says Lauster. "For gay couples, the discrimination is likely based in ignorance or moral objections that lessen with contact. For single parents, the discrimination may be based more
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Contact: Basil Waugh
basil.waugh@ubc.ca
604-822-2048
University of British Columbia
Source:Eurekalert

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