Canada's immigrant population reaches highest level in decades

By Ray Downs  |  Oct. 26, 2017 at 5:30 AM
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Oct. 26 (UPI) -- Canada's immigrant population has risen to 22 percent -- the highest number in more than 80 years, according to census figures released Wednesday.

The number marks a significant increase since 2006, when Canada's immigrant population was just under 20 percent. It's also the highest level since 1921, when Canada's immigrant population was at 23 percent, the CBC reported.

With a current total population of about 36 million, Canada accepted 1.2 million immigrants between 2011 and 2016, with approximately 30 percent arriving through the country's skilled worker program.

Almost half of Canada's immigrant population -- 48 percent -- came from Asia, according to Statistics Canada. Europeans accounted for 21 percent. Latin America, the Caribbean and Africa made up another 21 percent. Seven percent came from the British Isles and 3 percent came from the United States.

In addition to more than 20 percent of the population being foreign-born, 37.5 percent of Canadians under the age of 15 have a parent who is foreign-born, as well. That's about a 3 percent increase since 2011, and the number is expected to grow.

"This population of children with an immigrant background could continue to grow and could represent from 39.3 percent to 49.1 percent of children under the age of 15 by 2036," the organization said.

Canadian immigration attorney David Cohen told the Canada Immigration Newsletter that the numbers make an argument in favor of cultural diversity.

"With two-in-five residents of Canada now coming from an immigrant background, either as a first- or second-generation immigrant, Canada's success as a multicultural nation serves as a reminder to the world that there is another way to do things -- a way that eschews ethno-nationalism in favour of openness and growth," Cohen said.

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