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Canada's Ethnocultural Mosaic, 2006 Census: National picture

Three in 10 visible minorities were Canadian-born

Immigration patterns explained to a large extent the proportion of Canadian-born in the visible minority population. Generally, groups that have long histories in Canada and relatively little recent immigration have higher proportions of persons born in Canada.

In 2006, three in 10 of visible minorities were born in Canada. In comparison, visible minorities who came to Canada as immigrants made up two-thirds (66.3%) of the visible minority population.1

Japanese had the highest proportion of Canadian-born among all the visible minority groups. Among the 81,300 individuals who said they belonged to the Japanese visible minority group, almost two-thirds (63.2%) were born in Canada.

Blacks were another visible minority group that had a relatively high proportion of Canadian-born, 44.3%. Some of them had ancestors who migrated to Canada a few hundred years ago and others were children of immigrants who only came in recent decades.

Slightly over one-half (52.5%) of Blacks were foreign-born. Of those who were foreign-born, most came from the Caribbean and Africa, such as Jamaica (25.8%), Haiti (14.9%), Trinidad and Tobago (5.2%), Ethiopia (4.5%), Somalia (4.4%), Ghana (4.4%), Guyana (3.5%), Nigeria (3.3%), Barbados (3.2%) and the Democratic Republic of Congo (3.1%).

Close to one-third (31.2%) of the Southeast Asian visible minorities were born in Canada and two-thirds were foreign-born who came as immigrants. Viet Nam, Cambodia and Laos were the top source countries of the foreign-born Southeast Asians.

Although the Chinese and South Asian visible minority groups have had long histories in Canada, recent immigration has also fuelled their growth. Therefore, in comparison with Japanese and Blacks, Chinese and South Asian visible minorities had a smaller proportion of their population born in Canada. In 2006, 29.3% of South Asian visible minorities, and 25.5% of Chinese, were Canadian-born.

A majority of the foreign-born South Asians came from countries in the Indian subcontinent, such as India (48.8%), Pakistan (14.6%), Sri Lanka (11.7%) and Bangladesh (3.6%). The other leading source countries of birth among the foreign-born South Asian visible minorities were Guyana (4.2%), Trinidad and Tobago (2.5%), Fiji (2.4%), the United Republic of Tanzania (1.9%), Kenya (1.8%) and the United Kingdom (1.6%).

While the People's Republic of China and Hong Kong (Special Administrative Region) were the top two birthplaces among the foreign-born Chinese visible minorities, at 52.9% and 24.2%, respectively, Taiwan (7.4%) and Viet Nam (5.7%) were the other two countries where a relatively large proportion of the foreign-born Chinese came from.

Lebanon (24.1%) and Egypt (13.2%) were the top two birthplaces among the foreign-born Arab visible minorities.

El Salvador (18.6%), Colombia (15.1%) and Mexico (10.3%) were the top three birthplaces among Latin American visible minorities who came to Canada as immigrants.

West Asians had the smallest proportion of Canadian-born, at 14.8%, among all the visible minority groups. The top two birthplaces among the foreign-born West Asian were Iran (59.2%) and Afghanistan (23.9%).

Figure 2 Percentage of Canadian-born among visible minority groups, Canada, 2006

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