Population projections of visible minority groups, Canada, provinces and regions 2001-2017

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Link: http://www.statcan.ca/english/freepub/91-541-XIE/91-541-XIE2005001.pdf
By: A. Bélanger and É. Caron Malenfant, L. Martel, Y. Carrière, C. Hicks and G. Rowe
Org: Statistics Canada, Demography Division
Date: 2005

This study suggests that roughly one out of every five people in Canada, or between 19% and 23% of the nation's population, could be a member of a visible minority by 2017.

This report is the result of a project initiated in 2004 by the Multiculturalism and Human Rights Program at the Department of Canadian Heritage. Its goal was to prepare a portrait of the ethno-cultural diversity of the Canadian population in 2017, the 150th anniversary of Confederation.

Under the scenarios considered for these projections, Canada would have between 6.3 million and 8.5 million visible minorities in 2017. Depending on the growth scenario, this would be an increase ranging from 56% to 111% from 2001, when their number was estimated at about 4.0 million. In contrast, the projected increase for the rest of the population was estimated at between only 1% and 7% between 2001 and 2017.

In 2001, 13% of the population identified themselves as belonging to a visible minority group as defined in the Employment Equity Act. Data from past censuses showed that the visible minority population is growing much faster than the total population. Between 1996 and 2001, the total population increased 4% while the visible minority population rose 25% or six times faster.

The study showed that regardless of the scenario (low growth or high growth) the visible minority population would continue increasing at a faster pace than the rest of the population between now and 2017. The same would be true for Canada's populations of immigrants, allophones and non-Christian religious denominations.

This report projects the ethno-cultural diversity of the Canadian population using five scenarios.

  1. A low-growth scenario assumes relatively low immigration and fertility, along with levels of migration inside the country that are consistent with those found by the 2001 Census.
  2. A high-growth scenario assumes relatively high levels of fertility and immigration.
  3. A third scenario, the reference scenario, reflects the effects on projected population of recent trends in the components of demographic changes.
  4. A fourth uses slightly different assumptions on internal migration.
  5. A fifth illustrates the impact that a higher level of immigration (equivalent to 1% of the total population) might have on the size, age structure and ethno-cultural composition of the population.

According to the reference scenario, the immigrant population could number 7,686,000 in 2017. Immigrants would then account for 22.2% of Canada"s population, equivalent to the highest level observed in the twentieth century, namely the 22% observed between 1911 and 1931. Immigrants made up some 18% of Canada"s population in 2001.

The projection results concerning the geographic distribution of cultural diversity show that diversity is likely to remain concentrated in a small number of urban areas. Under the scenarios used, for example, most visible minority persons will be living in the Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, Ottawa-Gatineau (Ontario part only), Calgary, Edmonton, Hamilton, Winnipeg, Windsor and Kitchener census metropolitan areas in 2017. In Toronto and Vancouver, around 50% of the population would belong to a visible minority in 2017.

This study is available for download in Adobe Acrobat PDF format (520 KB, 86 pages).