Canada Immigrant Population by Country and Race


One question people usually ask is: where are the most immigrants coming from in Canada? Indigenes and foreigners, whether within or outside Canada, are interested in knowing Canada’s immigrant population by country.

Asides from just being curious to know Canada’s immigration statistics, the figures are helpful to both the government and individuals.The government and other organizations use the statistics when planning their services to the residents and visitors.

On the other hand, individuals may sometimes use the figures to determine what regions in Canada they can move to based on the influx of other foreigners to the location, especially those from their locality or country.

Immigrant Population in Canada

Since the past decade, Canada has been the highlight of significant immigration activities, especially those involving the influx of foreigners from other countries for residential or other purposes.

When comparing the number of immigrants to the already resident population in a country, Canada has one of the highest immigration rates in the whole world, with about 300,000 foreigners moving into the country every year.

More than 21% of Canada’s total population are permanent residents. When you add the number of foreigners who are already citizens and those who are just visitors, the population of immigrants in Canada becomes even higher.

In fact, the large number of immigrants sometimes makes it challenging to give the closest estimates in figures of the total number of foreigners in the country.

The latest population census in Canada was in 2016. Therefore, most of the statistics and figures included in this page will be referenced from the census, except when there are more recent statistics.

Canada Immigrant Population by Country

Population of Blacks in Canada

During the 2016 Canada population census, the total number of Black Canadians (citizens and permanent residents who were black) totalled 1,198,540. The figures included all kinds of blacks: Caribbeans, African Americans, and those of pure African descent.

Blacks make up 3.5% of the population in Canada. Among the immigrant population in Canada, blacks form the third largest group after the South Asians and the Chinese.

An interesting fact about Canada is that it ranks the most tolerant nation in the world racially. Hence, residents of colour are rarely discriminated against.

The highest accumulation of the black population in Canada is in the province of Ontario, particularly the Greater Toronto Area. You will find blacks most concentrated in Preston, Halifax.

Although the population may not be as high as that of blacks in Toronto, 69.4% of residents in this community are blacks.

They first settled there after the American Revolution as Black Loyalists. Other provinces with a significant black population are Quebec, Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, and Nova Scotia. Cities in Canada with the highest population of black immigrants are:

  • Toronto
  • Montreal
  • Ottawa
  • Calgary
  • Vancouver
  • Edmonton
  • Hamilton
  • Winnipeg
  • Halifax
  • Oshawa

Population of Asians in Canada

Asians, notably South Asians, account for the largest immigrant population by country. During the 2016 census, 6,095,235 people identified as Asians. This figure represents 17.7% of Canada’s total population.

Every year, Canada reports more Asian immigration than any other continent of the world. Canada is famous for its quality standard of education, thereby pulling immigrant students from all over the world.

Asian students are benefiting most from these educational opportunities as they readily make Canada their first choice of country to study in.

Countries in South Asia are India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives. Amongst these nations, Indians and Pakistans immigrate the most to Canada.

Other countries in Asia that contribute significantly to the population of Canada’s Asian immigrants are China, the Philippines, and Iran.

Asians are primarily found in Southern Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Quebec. They rarely live in Northern Canada or the Atlantic regions.

Indian Population in Canada

Among the South Asians, Indians immigrate to Canada the most. About 1,374,710 Indians were in Canada during the 2016 census. This makes 4% of the total Canadian population. 39, 340 of these persons became permanent residents in 2016.

As of 2019, close to 90,000 immigrants became permanent residents of Canada. Probably, the reason for the large percentage of Indian immigrants in Canada is because the people have also recorded steady immigration from other countries asides from India, where they are already residing.

For example, Indians already in the US are known to immigrate to Canada in large numbers while searching for greener pastures.

Out of the Indian Immigrant population in Canada, about 713,330 persons are of the Sikh religion. With respect to language, the Punjabi population of Indians in Canada is the highest.

In fact, Punjabi is the third most used language in the Parliament of Canada. The population of Indians who speak the language is above 668,000.

Indians migrate to Canada mostly for education and employment purposes. Many of them first become students in the country and then become workers after their studies.

Others utilize Canada’s immigration pathways to become temporary workers, permanent residents or citizens. Indians are concentrated in Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Montreal, Abbotsford, Winnipeg, Ottawa, and Hamilton.

Filipino Population in Canada

More than 837,000 Filipinos reside in Canada, and they make the fourth-largest group of immigrants in the nation. Unlike the Indians and the Chinese, Filipinos did not begin to immigrate to Canada until the late 20th century. Yet, they have made significant establishment in the country in no time.

After Ontario, Filipinos are populated most in Alberta and British Columbia. Relative to other residents, the Filipino population in Winnipeg has the highest concentration, accounting for 8.7% of the total population in the city.

With respect to numbers, Philippine natives move to Toronto the most. In 2016, there were 256,480 persons in the city.

They immigrate mainly for work purposes and become government or private workers and businessmen and women.

Iranian Population in Canada

From the population data collected in 2016, 210,405 Iranians are residing in Canada. Over 169,000 of these persons were born outside of Canada; that is, they actively immigrated to the country from Iran or other countries where they were before. Iranians concentrate most in Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal.

Their major communities are in Southern Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia. More than half of the Iranian population live in Ontario, a quarter of the population resides in British Columbia, while about 10% live in Quebec.

Pakistani Population in Canada

Pakistanis make up 0.57% of Canada’s total population. This is about 202,260 individuals. 149,000 of them are in Ontario alone, and a little over 29,000 live in Alberta.

Pakistan is known to share many things in common with India, including language and religion. Most Pakistanis in Canada with Punjabi like most of the Indian residents, although some speak Urdu, Pashto, Sindhi, as well as French and English.

Most Pakistan residents in Canada are Muslims. However, there are different Islam sects and minority religions such as Hinduism, Sikhism, and Christianity. Currently, the growth rate of Pakistanis in Vancouver is the fastest in the country.

Russian Population in Canada

There are 622,445 Russians in Canada. Russians are unique in their immigration pattern to Canada in that they reside more in Western Canada, especially the prairies.

Hence, they mostly populate the province of Saskatchewan, and then British Columbia, Ontario, Alberta, and Quebec. About 150,000 Russians live in Saskatchewan.

Over 100,000 live in British Columbia and Ontario. In Alberta and Quebec also, the figures are close.

Sri Lankan Population in Canada

Sri Lankans in Canada are about 153,000. They are found mainly in Toronto and Montreal, where many have learned to speak English or French, respectively. During the 2016 census, No Sri Lankan province was recorded in Prince Edward Island, while almost 90,000 lived in Ontario.

Lebanese Population in Canada

Lebanese are the largest Arabic population in Canada. They also have the highest number of immigrants to Canada from Africa.

About 219,555 were living in Canada as of 2016, with Quebec, Ontario, British Columbia, Nova Scotia, and Alberta the provinces they concentrate in.

Lebanese have learnt to speak French. Hence, they prefer to settle down in Quebec than in any other province.

However, the highest population of Lebanese immigrants is in Ottawa, Ontario. In Quebec, they are scattered across most of the communities and cities.

Where are the Most immigrants in Canada?

Ontario hosts the highest number of immigrants in Canada. In the province, immigrants accumulate most in Toronto, the capital of the province and then Ottawa.

Other provinces in Canada where foreigners immigrate the most are Quebec, Alberta, British Columbia, and Manitoba. Cities with the highest Canadian immigrant population are:

  • Toronto
  • Montreal
  • Vancouver
  • Calgary
  • Edmonton
  • Winnipeg
  • Ottawa

Frequently Asked Questions

Which Country has the Most Immigrants in Canada?

India. Most of Canada’s immigrants are from the South Asian nation of India. Out of the 341,000 foreigners that immigrated to Canada in 2019, 85,585 of them were Indians.

This is about a quarter of the total population of immigrants in the country that year. China closely follows as the country that has the most immigrants in Canada.

Which city has the most immigrants in Canada?

Toronto, Ontario, has the most immigrants in Canada.

What Percentage of Canada’s Population is Foreign Born?

The total number of foreign immigrants in Canada accounts for about 21.5% of the whole population. This is about one-fifth of the persons residing in Canada.

What Country has the Highest Percentage of Foreign Born Population?

The United States, with about 48.2 foreign immigrants, has the highest percentage of foreign born population.

What Province has the Most Immigrants in Canada?

Ontario has the most immigrants in Canada. Other provinces are Quebec, Alberta, British Columbia, and Manitoba.



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