OTTAWA—By 2031, nearly 40 per cent of children under the age of one in Canada will belong to a visible minority group, Statistics Canada projects.
This is an increase from 22 per cent only six years ago — a trend that is similar to an increase in foreign-born and visible minorities in the United States.
The U.S. Census Bureau on Thursday spotlighted a landmark demographic shift, reporting that for the first time more than half of children being born in the United States belonged to ethnic or racial minorities.
Assessing similar trends in Canada, StatsCan projects that the visible minority population in this country will continue to be bolstered by sustained immigration and slightly higher fertility rates in the next 15 years or so.
By 2031, Canada could be home to 14.4 million people belonging to a visible minority group, more than double the 5.3 million reported in 2006. The rest of the population, in contrast, is projected to increase by less than 12 per cent during that period, the federal statistical agency projects.
The South Asian population, which would still be the largest visible minority group in 2031, could more than double from roughly 1.3 million in 2006 to 4.1 million by then. The Chinese population is projected to grow from 1.3 million to 3 million, StatsCan estimated.
Also, diversity will grow among the Canadian-born population, the agency said. By 2031, 47 per cent of second-generation Canadians will belong to a visible minority group, nearly double the proportion of 24 per cent in 2006. “Second generation” refers to those who are Canadian-born and have at least one parent born outside Canada.
In Toronto and its surrounding municipalities, visible minorities could more than double in the next two decades, making up 63 per cent of the area’s total population by 2031.
StatsCan projects that the number of visible minorities in the Toronto area could grow from 2.3 million in 2006 to 5.6 million in 2031. The rest of the area’s population is projected to rise by only 8 per cent.
For this study, the agency used the census metropolitan area of Toronto, which reaches from Oshawa in the east to Burlington in the west and Barrie in the north.
The projections, StatsCan’s most recent demographic estimates, were produced last year. On May 29, the agency will release new data on Canadians’ age and sex based on the 2011 census.