It has been 10 years since Canada has had a comprehensive census. This year the results have been trickling out from StatsCan, and today the stats that I have been waiting for all year were finally released: immigration. Some high level findings:
- 250 ethnic groups
- 1 in 5 Canadians are foreign-born
- 2 in 5 kids have an immigrant background
The Globe and Mail also did a breakdown on Aboriginal and Immigrant demography across the country.
My community: Kelowna
I dug into the Kelowna data to find out how my city has changed over the last decade. Kelowna has a reputation for being “old and white,” but the consensus over the past few years has been that this is changing. Now we have the numbers, let’s see if this bears out.
StatCan says that the immigrant population of Kelowna is 13.9%.
Compared to 2006, this is has actually dropped. Back then it was 14.8%.
Let’s take a look at how this compares with other communities (the Kelowna CMA is pretty broad, and includes West Kelowna and Peachland, so I broke it out in the following table):
Interesting to compare the ratio between Kelowna and its neighbours to the North and to the South. Vernon has its Vernon and District Immigrant and Community Services Society, and Penticton has its South Okanagan Immigrant and Community Services.
Why does Kelowna have no immigrant services center?
Immigrants can be hard to see
Maybe the reason that people feel like there are more immigrants here is being there are more visible minorities? That certainly is true: in 2006 visible minorities were a mere 5.2%. In 2016 visible minorities have increased by half to 7.8%. Kelowna proper (ie. not the West side or outlying regions) has a 9.5% ratio of visible minorities. Here is a chart showing the ethnic origin of the Kelowna population in 2016:
So things are getting a little less white. However, this cannot all be attributed to new immigrants. When looking at a where immigrants are coming from, you can see some interesting trends:
Normally we get a lot of immigrants from the UK and US, which likely affects the visibility of our immigrant communities. Philippines-based immigration has shot up recently, as has Jamaica(?). South Korea has a really strong showing, as has Mexico. Germany is way down. And for all the furor, Syrian refugees are a tiny minority.
Addendum on Japanese immigrants
I would like to focus on the Japanese immigrants for a moment (for obvious personal reasons). If you break them down by gender you will see something interesting about this community:
|1981 to 1990
|1991 to 2000
|2001 to 2005
|2006 to 2010
|2011 to 2016
The Japanese immigrant community differs from other Asian communities on a few different variables, but one major one is international marriage. Japanese immigrants here are overwhelmingly female (70%), and from my experience are married to white dudes. Someday I will write more about how this impacts the community and the services it requires.