Key highlights from latest release of 2016 census data

October 25, 2017

By CBC News |

Statistics Canada released the latest findings from the 2016 census Tuesday, this time focusing on Indigenous Peoples, immigration and housing. Some selected highlights:

Canada’s Foreign-Born Population

  • In 2016, 7.5 million people — about 21.9 per cent of the total population — reported being foreign-born individuals who immigrated to Canada. In 1921, the census reported that proportion at 22.3 per cent, the highest since Confederation. Statistics Canada projects that proportion could reach between 25 and 30 per cent by 2036.
  • The census counted 1,212,075 new immigrants who permanently settled in Canada between 2011 and 2016, 3.5 per cent of the total population last year.
  • 60 per cent entered under the economic category, 26.8 per cent to join family already in Canada and 11.6 per cent as refugees. During the first four months of 2016, refugees accounted for one-quarter of all immigrants admitted to Canada, thanks to an influx of refugees from Syria.
  • Asia, including the Middle East, remains the largest source of recent immigrants to Canada at 61.8 per cent, followed by Africa at 13.4 per cent. Europe — once dominant in this category at 61.6 per cent in 1971 — ranked third at 11.6 per cent.
  • More immigrants have been settling in the Prairies. The percentage of new immigrants living in Alberta reached 17.1 per cent in 2016, compared with 6.9 per cent in 2001; In Manitoba, it went to 5.2 per cent, up from 1.8 per cent, and four per cent in Saskatchewan, up from one per cent in 2001.
  • Visible minorities numbered 7.7 million in 2016, 22.3 per cent of Canada’s population. 30 per cent were born in Canada.
  • In 1921, more than 70 per cent of the foreign-born population reported English or French as a mother tongue, while fewer than 30 per cent reported a different language. In 2016, the precise opposite was true: more than 70 per cent reported a different mother tongue, compared to less than 30 per cent for English or French.
  • In 2016, nearly 2.2 million children under 15 — 37.5 per cent of all children in Canada — were either foreign-born themselves or had at least one foreign-born parent.
  • Some 1.9 million people reported being of South Asian heritage, fully one-quarter of the visible minority population. Chinese was the second-largest group at 1.6 million or 20.5 per cent of visible minorities, while blacks — surpassing the one-million mark for the first time — were third at 1.2 million, a share of about 15.6 per cent. Filipinos and Arabs rounded out the top five.

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