OTTAWA — A new study from Statistics Canada says that almost half the country’s population could be an immigrant or the child of an immigrant within the next 20 years.
The study suggest that the proportion of immigrants in Canada’s population could reach up to 30 per cent in 2036 — compared to 20.7 per cent in 2011 — and a further 20 per cent of the population would be the child of an immigrant, up from the 17.5 per cent recorded in 2011.
The numbers are a far cry from the country’s first census of the population in 1871 — four years after Confederation — when 16.1 per cent of the 3.7 million people in Canada were born abroad, with Britain, the United States and Germany as the most likely countries of origin.
The population projections released today show that immigration will alter the country’s cultural landscape under all scenarios Statistics Canada explored as part of an ongoing project to map out Canada’s future as the nation turns 150 years old.
Researchers concluded more than half of the country’s immigrants will be of Asian origin within the next two decades with a corresponding decline in the number of European immigrants.
Visible minority populations would make up a growing percentage of the working age population, defined as people between the ages of 15 and 64, potentially doubling their share to 40 per cent of the age cohort, up from the almost 20 per in 2011.
The projections also suggest that by 2036, between 13 and 16 per cent of the population would be people from a non-Christian religion, up from the nine per cent recorded in 2011. Within this group, Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs would see their numbers grow most quickly.
The upward trend in the number of immigrants to Canada would also have an effect on the languages spoken at home. Up to 30 per cent of Canadians in 2036 could have a mother tongue that is neither English nor French, a potential 10 point jump from 2011.