Almost 60 per cent of people in Vancouver are expected to be a visible minority by 2031, according to projections released yesterday by Statistics Canada.

The study found that the city’s visible minority population could more than double to around 2 million people, up from 910,000 — or 42 per cent — in 2006.

It would make Vancouver the second most ethnically diverse city in the country after Toronto.

The largest visible minority group in Vancouver is expected to be Chinese, with that population expected to double to 809,000 over the next two decades, from 396,000 in 2006.

Their share of Vancouver’s demographic would rise to 23 per cent from 18 per cent, and is expected to be bolstered by immigration and a high fertility rate.

Henry Yu, an associate history professor at the University of B.C., said minorities already make up a large part of our population.

“The projection is of trends that are already here and have already changed the country ... The fastest-growing segment of Canadians under 30 are visible minorities,” said Yu.

He said the new Canada is Pacific-, South Asian- and Caribbean-oriented, and people from these regions are settling in and shaping Canada’s biggest cities.

By 2031, as much as 96 per cent of visible minorities are expected to be living in one of the 33 census metropolitan areas.

Jeffrey Reitz, a professor of ethnic and immigration studies at the University of Toronto, said the history of immigration shows that diversity comes to the cities first, though that may change over time.

Newcomers to Canada, he said, tend to settle in larger cities not only because the sheer size means more job opportunities, but also because there are built-in communities of people with similar backgrounds.

“This sort of new Canada, this urban (Asian) Canada, is the present and future of Canada,” said Yu.

“The challenge for us now is to actually come up with a vision for the future, and of our past, that represents and reflects the reality that these stats show.”
With files from The Canadian Press

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