For the first time in Canada’s history, visible minorities have surpassed the five million mark as a new wave of immigrants from Asia is changing the face of Canada at a staggering rate, according to new census data released yesterday by Statistics Canada.
Visible minorities now comprise more than 16 per cent of the total population as their number skyrocketed by 27 per cent between 2001 and 2006, more than five times the previous increase of 5.4 per cent.
The sharp growth in the visible minority population was largely due to the fact that three-quarters of new immigrants to Canada since 2001 were visible minorities, analysts said.
South Asians — those who hail from such countries as India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka — now slightly outnumber the Chinese, who were identified as the top visible minority group in 2001, the last time the census was taken. Nearly 1.3 million people identified themselves as South Asian in the 2006 census — a 38 per cent jump over 2001.
Blacks, Filipinos, Latin Americans, Arabs, Southeast Asians, West Asians, Koreans and Japanese round out the Top 10 visible minority groups — a list that’s relatively unchanged since 2001.
Should current immigration trends continue, Statistics Canada predicts one in five Canadians will be a visible minority by 2017, when the country turns 150 years old.