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Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 December 2007, 01:42 GMT
One-fifth of Canadians immigrants
Airport queue at Pearson airport, Toronto - 16/11/2007
Most immigrants are now from Asia and the Middle East
Twenty per cent of people living in Canada are foreign-born, the highest proportion for 75 years, new census data reveal.

The 2006 census counted more than 6m foreign-born people out of Canada's population of 31.2m, the highest ratio of immigrants since the 1930s.

The immigrant population grew four times as fast as the Canadian-born population between 2001-2006.

Nearly 60% of the newcomers came from Asia and the Middle East.


The new data illustrate that Canada is experiencing another great wave of immigration-led population growth.

Canada's statistics office, Statistics Canada, has previously reported that Canada experienced the highest population growth rate of the Group of Eight industrialised countries from 2001 to 2006.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer - 2/12/2007
The traditional Anglo-European face of Canada is changing
But unlike the great waves of migrants from Britain and Europe in the early- and mid-20th Century, this time non-Europeans are in the majority.

In 1971, Europeans accounted for 61.6% of immigrants, while in 2006 they accounted for 16.1% of recent immigrants - the second-largest group.

Combined with declining birth rates, the census data points to significant ethnic and cultural changes as Canada looks due to become reliant on immigration for population growth by around 2030.

People speaking neither French nor English as their native language now make up 20% of the total population, the highest recorded in the recent past.

Chinese languages are now the third most commonly spoken, followed by Italian, German, Punjabi, Spanish, Arabic, Tagalog and Portuguese.

The three largest cities of Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver continue to attract the bulk of new immigrants, at nearly 70%.

Country profile: Canada
23 Oct 07 |  Country profiles
Timeline: Canada
23 Oct 07 |  Country profiles

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