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Canada's Ethnocultural Mosaic, 2006 Census: Canada's major census metropolitan areas

Vancouver: Four in 10 belonged to a visible minority group

The census metropolitan area of Vancouver, comprised of the cities of Vancouver, Surrey, Richmond, Burnaby, Coquitlam and others, was home to the second highest proportion of visible minorities among all census metropolitan areas.

Of Vancouver's 2.1 million residents, 875,300 belonged to a visible minority group in 2006, up 20.6% from 725,700 in 2001.

These people accounted for 41.7% of Vancouver's population in 2006, second only to the 42.9% in the census metropolitan area of Toronto. Visible minorities made up 36.9% of Vancouver's population in 2001, and 31.1% in 1996.

About seven in 10 visible minorities in Vancouver were born outside Canada. In fact, nearly two-thirds (62.7%) of all visible minorities who were foreign-born came to Vancouver within the last 15 years. About 18.3% of the foreign-born visible minority population arrived in the 1980s, and 13.8% came in the 1970s. Only 5.2% consisted of immigrants who came to Canada in the 1960s or before.

One in five was Chinese, the largest visible minority group

The largest visible minority group in Vancouver was the Chinese population of 381,500, representing 18.2% of Vancouver's total population. This was the highest proportion among all census metropolitan areas. In contrast, 9.6% of Toronto's population were Chinese.

The Chinese made up an even larger proportion of individual municipalities in the Vancouver area. In the city of Richmond, 43.6% of the population was Chinese, the highest proportion of Chinese in any municipality in Canada. Chinese accounted for about 30% of the population in each of Greater Vancouver A, Burnaby and the City of Vancouver.

The Chinese population in the census metropolitan area of Vancouver grew by 11.3% between 2001 and 2006. This growth was faster than the 6.6% overall gain for Vancouver during the same period, but it was slower than in previous intercensal periods. Between 1996 and 2001, the Chinese population grew 22.8%.

Almost three-quarters of the Chinese in Vancouver were born outside Canada. Most were born in the People's Republic of China, Hong Kong (Special Administrative Region), Taiwan or Viet Nam. Among the foreign-born Chinese residents, about one in five arrived in Canada between 2001 and 2006, while 45.8% came in the 1990s.

The second largest visible minority population in the census metropolitan area of Vancouver was the South Asian community estimated at 207,200, an increase from 164,400 five years earlier. In 2006, they represented 9.9% of Vancouver's total population, compared with 8.4% in 2001.

More than half of all South Asians lived in Surrey in 2006. In fact, South Asians made up 27.5% of the total population of Surrey, the second highest proportion of South Asians among all municipalities. Only Brampton in Ontario had a higher proportion (31.7%).

Over one-third (36.3%) of South Asians in the Vancouver metropolitan area were born in Canada. Among those who were born outside the country, the top three countries of birth were India, Fiji and Pakistan.

Filipinos, the third largest visible minority group in Vancouver, had a population of 78,900 in 2006. Filipinos accounted for 3.8% of this census metropolitan area's population. This proportion was second only to Winnipeg, where Filipinos represented 5.4% of the population.

Korean, Southeast Asian, West Asian, Japanese, and Latin American were other visible minority groups, each with at least 20,000 individuals. Each group represented between 1% and 2% of the Vancouver census metropolitan area's total population.

Richmond had one of the highest proportions of visible minority groups in the country

Many municipalities within the census metropolitan area of Vancouver had much higher proportions of visible minorities than the national average of 16.2%.

In Richmond, 65.1% of the population belonged to a visible minority group in 2006. This was just below the proportion of 65.4% in Markham, Ontario. Five years earlier, 59.0% of Richmond's population belonged to a visible minority group.

In Burnaby, 55.4% of the population belonged to a visible minority group, the second highest proportion in the Vancouver area and the fourth highest proportion in the country, behind only Markham, Richmond and Brampton. In 2001, 48.6% of Burnaby's population belonged to a visible minority group. The Chinese visible minority population accounted for 30.3% of Burnaby's total population in 2006, while South Asians comprised 8.4%.

Visible minorities also accounted for high proportions of the populations of the City of Vancouver (51.0%), Surrey (46.1%), Coquitlam (38.6%) and New Westminster (29.6%).

One-third of Vancouver's population had British heritage

Vancouver was home to over 200 different ethnic origins in 2006. Despite the metropolitan area's large and ethnically diverse population, Vancouver's British and European groups have a strong presence.

The most common ethnic ancestries reported were British Isles. About 753,200 people, slightly over one-third of Vancouver's population, reported at least one British Isles ancestry. In fact, English was the most frequently reported origin in 2006: about 484,300 indicated that English was either their only origin, or was one of a number of origins. Other frequently reported British Isles origins were Scottish (337,200) and Irish (251,700). The majority of those who indicated Scottish or Irish ancestry reported multiple ethnic origins.

Also among the largest groups were other European origins such as German, Ukrainian, Italian and Dutch. People with these ancestries came in large numbers during the first half of the 20th century. About 203,700 Vancouver residents, almost one in 10, reported German as either a single or multiple ethnic origins. Those who reported at least some Ukrainian ancestry made up 3.9% of Vancouver's population.

The current wave of immigration from Asia is also reflected in the origins of the population in Vancouver. Those with Chinese, East Indian origin and Filipino ancestry were also among the 10 largest groups in the census metropolitan area.

While many Vancouver residents of Asian descent are relatively new arrivals in Canada, those with British Isles and other European origins were mainly Canadian-born.

The 2006 Census showed that 12.2% of those who reported at least one British Isles origin were born outside the country, while 24.3% who reported European origins were immigrants. In contrast, 62.2% of those who indicated East Indian ancestry, 70.5% with Filipino origin and 73.3% of those with Chinese origin were born outside Canada.

Vancouver CMA. Percentage of Visible Minorities by 2006 Census Tracts (CTs)

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