It’s a good idea to keep checking the Statistics Canada web site. You never know what you’ll find. Included among today’s releases by the national statistical agency is a report Projections of the Diversity of the Canadian Population.

This compares the likely ethno-cultural make-up of the country in 2031 versus what it was in 2006. The data is fascinating.

The background research for this report used both low growth and high-growth population scenarios, depending on assumptions about fertility rates, immigration levels, births and deaths. More interesting, and less affected by the growth rates, are the percentage composition figures.
The following are some of the highlights:

  • By 2031, three Canadians in ten (or 30%) will be a member of a visible minority group. Depending on the high or low population-growth-rate assumption, the actual number will range from 11.4 million to 14.4 million.
  • Among all visible minority groups, South Asians and Chinese will be largest. The South Asian population will number between 3.2 and 4.1 million (versus 1.3 million in 2006). The Chinese population will move up to between 2.4 million and 3.0 million (versus 1.3 million in 2006). The Chinese birth rate is much lower than the South Asian birth rate. (South Asia refers mainly to the Indian sub-continent.)
  • In 1981, 90% of Canada’s population had a Christian religion. By 2006, this figure had dropped to 75%. In 2031, it will be 66%. Among those having a non-Christian religion, 50% will be Muslim in 2031 (versus 35% in 2006).
  • Individuals with a mother tongue other than English or French were only 10% of Canada’s population in 1981. By 2006, that proportion had risen to 20%. In 2031, the non-English-or-French component of the country’s total population will be 30%.
  • By 2031, 36% of the population aged 14 and under will belong to a visible minority. In 2006, the proportion was 21%.
Here is a longer synopsis of Statistics Canada’s report that I've written for my blog.

The information on the ethno-cultural make-up of Canada’s largest three cities is especially interesting.

-Alex Carrick, CanaData chief economist