More Than One-Fifth of Canadians are Foreign-Born: National Household Survey

The first release of data from the 2011 National Household Survey offers a snapshot of a modern Canada that is changing in both cultural makeup and religious beliefs.

By Gloria Galloway, The Globe and Mail

Sustained levels of immigration over the past two decades have literally changed the face of Canada.

The first report of the 2011 National Household Survey reveals that the percentage of people living in this country who were born someplace else is expanding along with those who consider themselves to be members of a visible minority.

The report, which was released by Statistics Canada Wednesday, says more than 2.1 million immigrants have arrived here over the last decade, leaving Canada the country with the highest foreign-born population in all the G8.

Canada is home to 6.8 million foreign-born residents, or 20.6 per cent of the population, compared to 19.8 per cent in 2006.

It also suggests a rapidly expanding aboriginal demographic, thanks to a baby boom among the First Nations, Inuit and Metis.

In all, we are becoming a more diverse population, something that is especially true of the suburbs that surround the three largest cities – Toronto, Vancouver and, to a lesser extent, Montreal.

But we are also shedding some of the religious affiliations that served to divide previous generations.

The voluntary survey, which replaced the mandatory long-form census, is not expected to be as accurate as its predecessors but should accurately reflect broad shifts in the makeup of the population.

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