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Canada's Ethnocultural Mosaic, 2006 Census: Provinces and territories

The ethnocultural portrait of Canada's provinces and territories reflects both the historical and current settlement patterns of the different waves of immigration to the country. The following sections provide a statistical portrait of the various regions of Canada in terms of ethnic origin and the visible minority population.

Atlantic region: More than half reported British Isles origins

The four Atlantic provinces share similar ethnocultural characteristics. Many of the region's residents can trace their ancestors back to the first settlements in Canada.

Canadian was the most frequently reported ancestry among residents of the Atlantic region. In 2006, almost one-half (46.2%) of the population reported Canadian as their only ethnic origin or in combination with other origins. British Isles and French were the other most often reported origins.

Prince Edward Island had the highest proportion of all the provinces reporting British Isles origins; nearly seven in 10 people (68.1%) reported at least some heritage from the British Isles.

Over one-quarter (28.7%) of New Brunswick's population reported French origins, either alone or with other origins. This was the highest proportion of all four Atlantic provinces, and second only to Quebec nationally.

The 2006 Census enumerated 58,600 visible minorities in the Atlantic region. They accounted for 2.6% of the region's population of about 2.3 million residents, well below the national average of 16.2%.

Nonetheless, the visible minority population rose in all four Atlantic provinces. In fact, the growth of visible minorities offset the overall population decline in Newfoundland and Labrador. Between 2001 and 2006, the total population in Newfoundland and Labrador dropped slightly from 508,100 to 500,600. However, the province's visible minority population rose from about 3,900 to 5,700.

In Nova Scotia, visible minorities accounted for 4.2% of the population, the highest proportion in the Atlantic region. Blacks, many of whom have a long history in Nova Scotia, accounted for just over one-half of its visible minority population. The 2006 Census enumerated 19,200 people belonging to the Black visible minority group. The vast majority (91.7%) of these individuals were Canadian-born.

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