Canadian immigrant population at highest level for 85 years

New data released shows that the proportion of Canadians born overseas is at its highest level for 85 years.

According to 2016 census figures released yesterday, 21.9 per cent of Canadians report being or having been an immigrant or permanent resident, nearly matching the record high of 22.3 per cent in 1921. This was up from 19.8 per cent in 2006.

Approximately, 7.7 million Canadians now belong to a visible minority, representing 22.3 per cent of the population. That is up from just 4.7 per cent in 1981 and could rise to about one-third by 2036. South Asians are the largest visible minority group at 25.1 per cent of the total. Another 20.5 per cent of visible minorities are Chinese, while 15.6 per cent are black.

Canada welcomed 1.2 million new immigrants between 2011 and 2016, with 60.3 per cent of them being admitted as ‘economic’ immigrants — nearly half of those through the skilled workers program.

The prairie provinces saw the largest share of new immigrants in this period, with Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta all recording noticeable increase. However, Ontario still remains the most popular province for newcomers with 39 per cent of all immigrants settling there. Although this is significantly down from the 55.9 per cent of newcomers who settled in the province in 2001.

Urban centres in the Prairies have also welcomed disproportionately large numbers of new immigrants. Nevertheless, 56 per cent of them live in and around Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, while these centres are home to just over one-third of all Canadians.

In terms of source countries, the largest individual source of new immigrants is the Philippines (15.6 per cent), followed by India (12.1 per cent) and China (10.6). Close to 3 per cent of new immigrants come from the United States, while Canada’s former colonial masters, France and the United Kingdom, combine for 4 per cent of all new immigrants.

Article published 26th October 2017