Why Is Scarborough So Ghetto

why is scarborough so ghetto


Scarborough, a district of Toronto, has sometimes pejoratively been associated with the word 'ghetto'. However, it's highly crucial to unlearn stereotypes and dig deeper to understand the factors behind this reputation. This piece seeks to analyze the socioeconomic, historical, cultural, and urban dynamics contributing to this perception.

A Historical Breakdown

First and foremost, we need to examine Scarborough's historical evolution. As a former separate city amalgamated into Toronto in 1998, Scarborough's transition into a part of Canada's most populous city has been marked by challenges. This includes everything from urban planning issues to economic stratification that impacts community development.

Socioeconomic Factors

Scarborough's socioeconomic factors play a significant role in its image. Home to residents from varying economic backgrounds, its neighborhoods range from affluent to those facing economic challenges. Some areas have higher rates of poverty, unemployment, and lower educational attainment. These rates are often associated with the stereotypical image of a 'ghetto'.

Urban and Housing Developments

The nature of Scarborough's urban development and housing also influences its image. Scarborough has a higher concentration of rental units in large high-rise buildings, often perceived as proponents of crime and social issues. However, it's important to note that this perception overlooks the thriving, diverse communities that exist within these neighborhoods.

Perception of Crime

Though crime rates have lowered significantly over the years, Scarborough battles with a lingering reputation for crime, predominantly originating from high-profile incidents in the past. This perception might contribute to the 'ghetto' label, even though it doesn't holistically reflect Scarborough’s current safety status.

Ethnic and Cultural Diversity

One of the most defining characteristics of Scarborough is its ethnic and cultural diversity. This phenomenon, however, can lead to biased opinions. Misunderstandings and prejudice towards minority groups have contributed to the labelling of certain areas as 'ghetto'.

Youth and Education Factors

Many youth in Scarborough face barriers in education, leading to lower high school completion rates and fewer post-secondary achievements compared to other parts of Toronto. These issues can contribute to the perception of Scarborough as a 'ghetto', encouraging an imperative focus on improving educational access and success rates.


Labels like 'ghetto' can be harmful and stigmatizing, often masking the realities of a vibrant, diverse and dynamic district like Scarborough. To mitigate misperceptions, it's crucial to counterbalance negative images with positive narratives about Scarborough's multicultural richness, investment potential, and community resilience. It's also essential to confront and remedy the underlying social and economic issues making these neighborhoods vulnerable in the first place.