By 2036, nearly one in two Canadians could be a first- or second-generation immigrant, according to new projections from Statistics Canada.
Two reports released Wednesday by StatsCan suggest that changing immigration patterns are contributing to a shift in the ethnocultural and linguistic makeup of Canada, with more newcomers from Asia than ever before.
Projections for 2036 indicate that Asian immigrants to Canada will represent between 55.7 per cent and 57.9 per cent of the immigrant population while between 15.4 per cent and 17.8 per cent would be people born in Europe.
According to 2011 census numbers, immigrants from Asia (Chinese, Indian and Filipino being the three main groups) made up 44.8 per cent of the immigrant population, while those born in Europe represented no more than 31.6 per cent.
In 1986, 62.2 per cent of immigrants living in Canada were born in Europe, with only 18.4 per cent born in Asia.
Overall, the number of first-generation immigrants could reach between 24.5 per cent and 30.0 per cent in 2036, compared to 20.7 in 2011.
Toronto, Montréal and Vancouver are projected to remain the top destinations for most immigrants.
Estimates suggest that Toronto could be home to 33.6 per cent to 39.1 per cent of all immigrants in Canada, with Montreal between 13.9 per cent to 14.6 per cent and Vancouver around 12.4 per cent to 13.1 per cent.
Meanwhile, StatsCan’s Language Projections for Canada, 2011 to 3036, suggests that the population whose mother tongue at home is neither English nor French will increase between 26.1 per cent and 30.6 per cent or between 10.7 million and 13.8 million people, by 2036. That would be about a 10 per cent increase compared to 2011’s numbers in which the census estimated that 20% of the population spoke languages other than English or French at home.
The language study also suggests that spoken French will begin a decline by 2036. Of the two official languages, it’s expected that those who speak English as an individuals first spoken language will rise from 2011’s 75.4 per cent of the population to approximately 78 per cent in 2036.
Those speaking French as a primary language is predicted to see a decline from 23 per cent of the Canadian population in 2011 to less than 21 per cent.