At least one in five Canadians is an immigrant, according to census figures of 2016 released by Canada’s statistics agency on Oct. 25. Statistics point to the fact that the country is growing increasingly diverse, with immigrants coming in from Africa, Asia and the Middle East. The share of immigrants in the country now is the highest in almost a century.
Over 1.2 million people settled in Canada between 2011 and 2016 came to the country as skilled economic migrants, according to Statistics Canada. The presence of visible minorities is over 22 per cent of the population.
If these trends continue, about 30 per cent of the country’s population could be made up of immigrants by 2036, and up to 35 per cent of the population will comprise visible minorities within 20 years.
The figures come in days before annual immigration levels are going to be discussed in the House of Commons by the government.
Almost 60 per cent of new immigrants come from Asia, with Philippines leading the count at 15 per cent, followed by India at 12.1 per cent, and China at 10.6 per cent. Africa has taken over Europe by being the second largest source of immigrants, at 13.4 per cent. Three per cent of immigrants come from the neighboring United States while those from France and the United Kingdom make up four per cent of newcomers.
According to the document, South Asians are the largest visible minority group, making 25.1 per cent of the total minorities. Chinese form 20.5 per cent, while 15.6 per cent of the visible minorities are black. The Indian-origin population in Canada may be nearing 1.5 million, and the population is estimated to comprise three-fourth of immigrants from the subcontinent.
Toronto, Canada’s largest city, is where most newcomers reside. Over 46 per cent of the city’s population consists of immigrants.
The rise in percentage of immigrants is being linked to Canada’s low birth rate and aging population. A majority of immigrants come to the country under economic immigration programs, and about three in 10 come under the family reunification category. Usually only one in 10 come to Canada as a refugee and an exception was made during the Syria crisis when over 25,000 refugees were admitted between January and May 2016. This pushed Syria as the 7th most important region for influx of immigrants.
Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal are home to more than half of all immigrants coming into the country. Quebec, on the other hand, has attracted French-speaking people, with nearly half of immigrants from Africa settled in Quebec.