Statistics Canada released the sixth round of the Census data report today, providing an updated statistical portrait of the immigrants population. The report shows that immigrants account for nearly 1 in 4 of the Canadian population, the highest proportion in more than 150 years.
More than 8.3 million people, or about 23.0% of the population, were or will be landed immigrants or permanent residents in Canada in 2021. It was the greatest proportion since Confederation, surpassing the previous 22.3% set in 1921, and the most among the G7 countries.
Learn about Canada’s new demographic and the impact of immigration on the economy and understand how census data is used.
For the first time, India topped the rankings
The percentage of immigrants who initially entered Canada temporarily on employment or study visas or asylum seekers before being approved as permanent residents was particularly high among recent immigrants who settled since 2016 (36.6%).
Most recent immigrants (62.0%) were born in Asia, which includes the Middle East. However, India is the leading nation of birth for recent immigrants to Canada, accounting for nearly one in five (18.6%) of all new immigrants.
India is followed by the Philippines (11.4%) and China (8.9%) among the top source of countries. Asia has risen to the top position as a source of new immigrants over time, and this trend persisted in 2021. Additionally, there were more new immigrants from Africa.
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Report summary and demographics of the new immigrants
Almost one in every four persons (23.0%) counted in the 2021 Census is or has been a landed immigrant or permanent resident in Canada. This percentage was the greatest proportion since Confederation, surpassing the previous record of 22.3% in 1921, and the highest proportion among G7 countries.
The highest number of recent immigrants counted in a Canadian census was a little over 1.3 million, who arrived in Canada to live permanently between 2016 and 2021.
Additionally, the number of recent immigrants settling in Atlantic Canada tripled in the last 15 years, increasing from 1.2% in 2006 to 3.5% in 2021.
In addition, more than 50 percent of recent immigrants residing in Canada were accepted under the economic category. Just over one-third (34.5%) of these 748,120 economic immigrants were chosen through skilled worker programs, while another third (33.6%) were chosen through the Provincial Nominee Program.
The majority of immigrants to Canada historically originated in Europe. Comparatively, the proportion of recent European immigrants decreased from 61.6% in 1971 to 10.1% in 2021. However, the percentage of new immigrants born in Asia (including the Middle East) has increased while the percentage of new immigrants born in Europe has decreased during the past 50 years.
Almost all recent immigrants (92.7%) can engage in a conversation in either English or French.
Second-generation Canadians (children of immigrants) under the age of 15 with at least one parent born abroad increased from 26.7% in 2011 to 31.5% in 2021.
The impact of immigration on Canada’s economy
Immigration is currently the major cause of population increase in Canada since its aging population and fertility rates are below the required level for population growth.
Canada’s population might be between 29.1% and 34.0% of immigrants by 2041, according to Statistics Canada’s most current demographic forecasts, if these trends continue.
The COVID-19 pandemic brought to light immigrants’ impact on Canada’s labour economy. Immigration is now more important than ever to the labour market. With the aging working population, job openings increased by 80 percent in late 2021 compared to pre-pandemic levels.
Recent immigrants make up a strong labour force that can reduce the effects of labour shortages in various industries and locations around the nation because of their younger age distribution than the overall population.
Moreover, immigrants drove four-fifths of the increase in the labour force between 2016 and 2021. In addition, more and more immigrants have lived in Canada before residing permanently, and most of the recent immigrants were selected for their ability to boost the country’s economy.
How is this census data used?
The census is one of the most comprehensive sources of data on immigration in Canada, allowing for comparison over time and region.
Federal, provincial, territorial and municipal governments, paired with non-governmental and community organizations, use this information to create and evaluate immigration policies and programs and to plan and implement education, health care, housing and other services.
Moreover, public decision-makers, employers and healthcare providers use this data to meet the needs of new immigrants.
Source: Statistics Canada
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