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Canadians in Context - Immigration

Well-being Social Indicators

How many are we?

  1. Population Size and Growth

Where do we live?

  1. Geographic Distribution

What are our perceptions?

  1. Perceptions and Life Satisfaction



This section provides information on immigration. In particular, it discusses the Place of Birth of immigrants, the Foreign-born Population and the proportion of Immigrant Urban Settlement.


Immigration

According to the 2011 National Household Survey, more than 200 different ethnic origins were reported. This diversity continues to be a prominent feature of Canada. Immigration is the most important component of Canada's population growth, and changes in the origins of new immigrants suggest that Canada will continue to be a diverse country. Between 2006 and 2011, around 1.2 million foreign-born people immigrated to Canada. These recent immigrants made up 17.2% of the foreign-born population and 3.5% of the total population in Canada.


Place of Birth

The place of birth of Canada's immigrants has changed over the last half century. Before 1971, the vast majority (78.3%) came from European countries. More recent arrivals to Canada are more likely to have come from places other than Europe. Between 2006 and 2011, the majority of immigrants arrived from Asia (56.9%), while only 13.7% of immigrants came from European countries.


This Chart contains data for Place of birth of immigrants, Canada, before 1971, and 2006-2011. Information is available in table below

Source: Statistics Canada. Immigration and Ethnocultural Diversity in Canada, National Household Survey, 2011, Catalogue no. 99-010-X2011001 [cited July 2, 2013].


Warning: This data table may contain very wide content. Horizontal scrolling may be necessary.

Place of birth of immigrants, Canada, before 1971, and 2006-2011 (percent)
Before 19712006-2011
United States5.03.9
Europe78.313.7
Asia8.556.9
Africa1.912.5
Caribbean, Central and South America5.412.3
Oceania and other countries0.80.6

Foreign-born Population

The proportion of Canada's population born outside the country rose to 20.6% in 2011, the highest since 1931, when 22.2% of the population was foreign-born (meaning that a person at one time was a landed immigrant to Canada). During the past century, more than 13 million immigrants arrived in Canada, and more arrived in the 1990s than in any other decade.


This Chart contains data for Foreign-born population, Canada, selected years, 1871-2011. Information is available in table below

Source: ESDC calculations based on Statistics Canada. For 1871 to 1971, Statistics Canada. Table 075-0001 - Historical statistics, estimated population and immigrant arrivals, annual (persons), CANSIM (database); and Statistics Canada. Table 075-0022 - Historical statistics, country of birth of other British-born and foreign-born population, every 10 years (foreign-born persons unless otherwise noted), CANSIM (database); for 1991 to 2006, Statistics Canada. Immigration in Canada: A Portrait of the Foreign-born Population, 2006 Census, available from: http://www12.statcan.gc.ca/census-recensement/2006/as-sa/97-557/figures/c1-eng.cfm [cited July 2, 2013]; and for 2011, Statistics Canada. Immigration and Ethnocultural Diversity in Canada, National Household Survey, 2011, Catalogue no. 99-010-X2011001 [cited July 2, 2013].


Warning: This data table may contain very wide content. Horizontal scrolling may be necessary.

Foreign-born population, Canada, selected years, 1871-2011 (percent)
1871189119111931195119711991200120062011
16.113.322.022.214.715.316.118.419.820.6

In 2011, the proportions of foreign-born residents in Ontario (28.5%) and British Columbia (27.6%) were both higher than the national average (20.6%). The same was true for several large urban areas in those provinces. Notably, 46.0% of Toronto's population and 40.0% of Vancouver's population were foreign-born. Also, in Calgary, Alberta, 26.2% of the population was foreign-born.


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Immigrant Urban Settlement

Between 2006 and 2011, the vast majority of new immigrants settled in one of Canada's major cities. In that period, 62.5% of new immigrants settled in either Toronto (32.8%), Montréal (16.3%) or Vancouver (13.3%). This is an increase from the 1970s, when 58% of immigrants settled in these three cities.


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