Blog

A dozen incredible measurement sets on Canada's changing ethnic mix

0 1758 Market Intelligence

Alex Carrick

Positions:
Alex Carrick is Chief Economist for Reed Construction Data. He specializes in economic forecasting and statistical services.

Economists

It’s a good idea to keep checking the Statistics Canada web site. You never know what you’ll find. Included among today’s releases by the national statistical agency is a 78-page report entitled Projections of the Diversity of the Canadian Population. This compares the likely ethno-cultural make-up of the country in 2031 versus what it was in 2006. The data is fascinating.

It’s a good idea to keep checking the Statistics Canada web site. You never know what you’ll find. Included among today’s releases by the national statistical agency is a 78-page report entitled Projections of the Diversity of the Canadian Population. This compares the likely ethno-cultural make-up of the country in 2031 versus what it was in 2006. The data is fascinating.

The background research for this report used both low growth and high-growth population scenarios, depending on assumptions about fertility rates, immigration levels, births and deaths. More interesting, and less affected by the growth rates, are the percentage composition figures.

In what follows, “visible minorities” are defined under the Employment Equity Act as “persons other than Aboriginal peoples who are non-Caucasian in race or non-white in colour.” The dramatic changes that are underway in Canada are the result of the very high levels of Canadian net immigration since the late 1980s (mostly between 200,000 and 250,000 people annually).

1) Individuals with a mother tongue other than English or French were only 10% of Canada’s population in 1981. By 2006, that proportion had risen to 20%. In 2031, the non-English-or-French component of the country’s total population will be 30%.

2) In 1981, 90% of Canada’s population had a Christian religion. By 2006, this figure had dropped to 75%. In 2031, it will be 66%. Among those having a non-Christian religion, 50% will be Muslim in 2031 (versus 35% in 2006).

3) In 1981, 16% of Canada’s total population was foreign-born (a.k.a. first-generation Canadian). By 2006, the figure climbed to nearly 20%. In 2031, it will be 25% to 28%.

4) In 1981, 67% of the foreign-born population in the country was from Europe and 14% was from Asia. In 2006, the proportions were almost equal, with Europe accounting for 37% and Asia 41%. By 2031, the proportions will be Europe 21% and Asia much higher at 55%. As a further note, by 2031 Africa will be the country of origin of 10% of foreign-born Canadians (versus 6% in 2006 and a negligible level in 1981).

5) By 2031, three Canadians in ten (or 30%) will be a member of a visible minority group. Depending on the high or low population-growth-rate assumption, the actual number will range from 11.4 million to 14.4 million.

6) Among all visible minority groups, South Asians and Chinese will be the largest. The South Asian population will number between 3.2 million and 4.1 million (versus 1.3 million in 2006). The Chinese population will move up to between 2.4 million and 3.0 million (versus 1.3 million in 2006). The Chinese birth rate is much lower than the South Asian birth rate. (South Asia refers mainly to the India-Pakistan sub-continent region.)

7) In 2006, the proportion of Canada’s total population belonging to a visible minority was 16%. That figure will nearly double to 31% by 2031. Furthermore, the visible minority proportion will be much higher in lower age groupings. For example, in 2006 only 21% of the population in the 14-years-of-age and under demographic belonged to a visible minority. This will climb to 36% or more than one in three in 2031.

8) By 2031, 71% of all visible minorities in Canada will live in one of Canada’s three largest census metropolitan areas (CMAs), Toronto, Vancouver or Montreal. Three individuals in five (60%) will belong to a visible minority in Toronto and Vancouver by 2031. In Montreal, the proportion will be about half as large at 30%.

9) Toronto’s population will increase from 5.3 million in 2006 to almost 9 million by 2031. The Chinese share of the total will grow from 9.6% to 12.4%, while the South Asian share will increase from 13.5% to 23.8%. The third largest visible minority group will be black, moving from 6.9% to 8.0%.

10) The population level of 2.2 million people in Vancouver in 2006 will grow to 3.5 million in 2031, with the Chinese share moving from 18.2% to 23.2%. At the same time, the South Asian proportion will increase from 9.9% to 13.7%. The third largest visible minority group in Vancouver in 2031 will be Filipino at 5.9%, up from 3.8% in 2006.

11) The population of Montreal in 2031 will be close to five million, up from 3.7 million in 2006. The two largest visible minorities will be black (7.8% in 2031 versus 4.7% in 2006) and Arab (7.5% in 2031 versus 2.7% in 2006). Latin American, South Asian and Chinese will each form about 4% of the city’s total population in 2031.

12) And finally, in 2031, only 50% of Canadians aged 15 and over will come from a family in which all forebears have been settled in Canada for at least three generations.

These statistics weave together the incredibly diverse threads of the national fabric. No wonder a key theme of the Vancouver Olympics was “the new” Canada versus the old. The new Canada is hardly recognizable. It will present enormous challenges for government to deal with conflicting traditions and cultural expectations. But it also presents exceptional learning opportunities through working co-operatively and finding means to advance the general good. Canada, perhaps more than any other nation, is becoming a microcosm of the world.

Alex Carrick

Find Canadian construction-related economic articles in Canadian Construction Market News and in the Economic Outlook section of Daily Commercial News. Mr. Carrick also has a lifestyle blog that can be reached by clicking here.

by Alex Carrick

Leave a comment

Or register to be able to comment.