Visible Minorities in Canada
Over five million Canadians identified themselves as a member of a visible minority group in the 2006 Census, accounting for 16.2% of the total population. This was an increase from 2001 where visible minorities accounted for 13.4% of the total population; an increase from 1996 when the proportion was 11.2%; and a major increase over 1991 (9.4%) and 1981 (4.7%). The increase represents a significant shift in Canada's demographics since the advent of its multiculturalism policies.
Projections, based upon the annual immigration intake into Canada since the last census in 2006, accompanied by the steady increase in the visible minority population within Canada itself due to the higher fertility levels of minority females when compared to Canadian women of European origin, also means that by 2012, approximately 19.56% of the population in Canada will consist of individuals of non-European (visible minority) origin. The Aboriginal population within Canada based upon projections during the same year (i.e. 2012) was estimated to be 4.24%. Hence, at least 23.8% of Canada's population in 2012 was individuals of visible minority and Aboriginal heritage. Projections also indicate that by 2031, the visible minority population in Canada would represent about 33% of the nation's population thereby indicating the steady increase in the non-European component of the Canadian population.
Of the provinces, British Columbia had the highest proportion of visible minorities, representing 24.8% of its population, followed by Ontario at 22.8%. In the 2006 census, South Asian Canadians overtook ethnic Chinese as Canada’s largest visible minority group. In 2006, Statistics Canada estimated that there were 1.3 million South Asian people in Canada compared with 1.2 million Chinese. In 2001, there were approximately 1 million Chinese Canadians representing 3.5% of the country’s population, followed by South Asian Canadians (3.1%) and Black Canadians (2.2%).
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