If current immigration trends continue, in two decades, nearly half of Canada’s population will be made up of immigrants and their children, estimates a new Statistics Canada population projection study.
According to the report entitled Immigration and Diversity: Population Projections for Canada and its Regions, 2011 to 2036, immigrants and their children combined, could account between 44.2 and 49.7 per cent in 2036 of Canada’s population, up from 38.2 per cent in 2011, says Statistics Canada demographer Jean-Dominique Morency.
The composition of the immigrant population, which began to shift in 1970s away from majority of European-born immigrants towards an increasingly stronger Asian component, will continue this shift, Morency says. Between 55.7 and 57.9 per cent of Canada’s immigrant population would be Asian-born, compared to 44.8 per cent in 2011, Morency says.
China, India and the Philippines are expected to remain the main source countries for Canada’s immigration population.
At the same time, the share of European immigrants will decline from 31.6 per cent in 2011 to between 15.4 and 17.8 per cent in 2036, Morency says.
With the larger share of Asian immigrants, the number of people with a non-Christian religion could almost double by 2036, but would still account for no more than 16 per cent of Canada’s population, compared with nine per cent in 2011.
All regions of Canada will see an increased share of immigrant population, but there will be very dramatic regional differences, Morency says.
The majority of immigrant population will still be concentrated in Canada’s three largest cities: Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal, with Toronto and Vancouver having the highest proportion of immigrants and their children in the country.
“For instance in Toronto about 80 per cent of population would be immigrant or children of immigrants in 2036,” Morency says. “And it would be about 70 per cent in Vancouver.”
In 2036, the share of visible minorities in the working-age population (aged 15 to 64) will reach up to 40 per cent, from 19.6 per cent in 2011. In some cities – Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary and Winnipeg, visible minorities could become the majority, with South Asians remaining the group with the most people, as in 2011. Chinese immigrants could become the second largest visible minority group in Canada.
Statistics Canada’s second report entitled Language Projections for Canada, 2011 to 2036, forecasts that if current immigration trends continue, it would contribute to the growth of the population whose mother tongue and language most often spoken at home is neither English nor French.