Majority Of Canada’s Visible Minorities Live In Just Two Cities

Majority of Canada's visible minorities live in just two cities

Meagan Fitzpatrick
Canwest News Service
Published: Wednesday, April 02, 2008

OTTAWA – Toronto and Vancouver are home to a majority of Canada's visible minorities, according to Statistics Canada's latest release of 2006 census data.

In its report titled Canada's Ethnocultural Mosaic, released Wednesday, Statistics Canada says six in 10 visible minorities live in those two cities.

Visible minorities also make up large shares of the populations in Toronto and Vancouver – about 43 per cent and 42 per cent respectively, the numbers revealed.

Visible minorities are defined in the Employment Equity Act as “persons, other than Aboriginal peoples, who are non-Caucasian in race or non-white in colour.”

“Visible minorities had a strong presence in Canada's largest census metropolitan areas,” the report states. Almost all visible minorities – 95.9 per cent – lived in Canada's CMAs, compared with 68.1 per cent of Canada's total population.

After Toronto and Vancouver, Abbotsford, B.C., took the third spot for the largest proportion of visible minorities among CMAs. Close to 23 per cent of its population was made up of visible minorities, Statistics Canada reported. “In fact, Abbotsford had the highest proportion of South Asians in all census metropolitan areas,” it said.

The last census showed that 16.3 per cent of Abbotsford's total population belonged to South Asians, more than the proportions in Toronto and Vancouver.

Calgary ranked fourth and Edmonton fifth in their proportions of visible minorities. Visible minorities comprised a little more than 22 per cent of Calgary's population and in Edmonton, it was just over 17 per cent.

The Statistics Canada report explains that a large share of recent immigrants who were visible minorities settled in Toronto between 2001 and 2006. During that period Toronto received about 40 per cent of all newcomers to Canada, and of those more than 80 per cent belonged to a visible minority group. South Asians were the largest visible minority group counted in Toronto followed by Chinese, blacks then Filipinos.

In Vancouver, the largest visible minority group was the Chinese population, which represented about 18 per cent of that city's total population in 2006. This was the highest proportion of Chinese among all CMAs, Statistics Canada said. Almost three-quarters of Chinese people in Vancouver were born outside Canada, most in the People's Republic of China.

The Chinese make up even higher proportions of the populations in the municipalities within the greater Vancouver area. In Richmond, for example, close to 44 per cent of the population was Chinese in 2006, the highest proportion of any municipality in Canada. In addition to Chinese, Richmond had high proportions of other visible minority groups. All together they accounted for 65.1 per cent of the total population.

But Richmond was not the municipality with the highest proportion of visible minorities in Canada-this distinction belongs to Markham, Ont.

Part of the Toronto CMA, Markham had just a slight edge over Richmond, with 65.4 per cent of its population comprised of visible minorities. More than half of Markham's visible minorities were Chinese and slightly more than one-quarter were South Asian.

Montreal saw a growing visible minority population between 2001 and 2006, thanks largely to immigration, Statistics Canada said. Arabs formed one of the fastest growing visible minority groups; the number of Arab visible minorities jumped by almost 46 per cent over five years. Despite the growth, blacks were the largest minority group in Montreal, representing about 29 per cent of all visible minorities and over one-fifth of all blacks in Canada. Among all CMAs, Toronto was home to the largest number of blacks. The black population of 352,200 made up 6.9 per cent of Toronto's total population.