The 2006 Census enumerated 654,300 visible minorities in Quebec, the third highest number after Ontario and British Columbia. These individuals accounted for 8.8% of Quebec's population, up from 7.0% in 2001 and 6.2% in 1996. Quebec ranked fifth in the proportion of visible minority population, after British Columbia, Ontario, Alberta and Manitoba.
Quebec's visible minority population rose 31.4% between 2001 and 2006, just over seven times the pace of 4.4% among the total population.
The vast majority (90.2%) of the visible minorities in Quebec lived in the census metropolitan area of Montréal. Its visible minority population of 590,400 represented 16.5% of its population.
Blacks formed the largest visible minority group in Quebec in 2006. An estimated 188,100 people reported Black as their visible minority group, up 23.6% from 152,200 in 2001. In 2006, they represented 2.5% of Quebec's population and 28.7% of its visible minority population.
Four in 10 Blacks in Quebec were born in Canada. Those who were born outside Canada came as immigrants from more than 100 different countries. Over one-quarter (27.8%) were born in an African country, but the leading source country was Haiti (52.5%) in the Caribbean. Over one‑quarter (26.0%) of the foreign-born Blacks in Quebec came to Canada since 2001.
On the other hand, the fastest growing visible minority groups in Quebec were Arab and Latin American. The 2006 Census enumerated 109,000 Arabs, up 48.6% from 2001, and 89,500 Latin Americans, up 50.4%. Arabs accounted for 16.7% of the visible minority population in Quebec, the second largest visible minority group, while Latin Americans represented 13.7%, the third largest.
A majority (71.9%) of Arabs in Quebec were born outside Canada; about 37.7% of those who were foreign-born came to Canada between 2001 and 2006. The top three countries of birth for the Arab visible minority group were Morocco, the source of 26.4%, Lebanon (22.1%) and Algeria (20.1%).
Latin Americans in Quebec were also born mostly outside Canada, coming mainly from South and Central America. About one-third (32.5%) of the Latin Americans who were foreign-born came to Canada between 2001 and 2006. The leading source countries of the foreign-born Latin Americans were Colombia, El Salvador, Peru and Mexico.
The two most frequently reported ancestries in Quebec were Canadian and French. In 2006, three-fifths (60.2%) of the people in Quebec reported Canadian as their ethnic origin, alone or with other origins. In addition, 28.9% of the province's population reported French origin, and 1.9% reported Québécois origin. The vast majority who reported these origins were born in Canada.
The ethnic origins of the population in Quebec who were born outside Canada reflect the main sources of immigration to the province. In 2006, the most frequently reported origin in terms of total responses among the foreign-born population in Quebec was Italian. About 9.8% of the foreign-born population reported Italian origin, alone or with other origins. It was followed by French origin (9.0%), Chinese (7.5%), Haitian (5.7%) and Spanish (4.2%).