The Daily — Aboriginal peoples in Canada: Key results from the 2016 Census

The Daily’s summary of the Census findings regarding Indigenous peoples (assume StatsCan will eventually shift to that term):

Today, Statistics Canada is releasing its first results on First Nations people, Métis and Inuit from the 2016 Census of Population. Information about past and future releases from the census can be found through the 2016 Census Program release schedule.

Aboriginal peoples have lived in what is now Canada long before the arrival of the first European settlers. Indeed, the history of Canada would be incomplete without the stories of First Nations people, Métis and Inuit. The same is true of its future.

Past censuses have emphasized two key characteristics of the Aboriginal population: that Aboriginal peoples are both young in age and growing in number. The 2016 Census reaffirmed these trends. New data also reveal both the changing nature and the diversity of the First Nations, Métis and Inuit populations.

In 2016, there were 1,673,785 Aboriginal people in Canada, accounting for 4.9% of the total population. This was up from 3.8% in 2006 and 2.8% in 1996.

Since 2006, the Aboriginal population has grown by 42.5%—more than four times the growth rate of the non-Aboriginal population over the same period. According to population projections, the number of Aboriginal people will continue to grow quickly. In the next two decades, the Aboriginal population is likely to exceed 2.5 million persons.

Two main factors have contributed to the growing Aboriginal population: the first is natural growth, which includes increased life expectancy and relatively high fertility rates; the second factor relates to changes in self-reported identification. Put simply, more people are newly identifying as Aboriginal on the census—a continuation of a trend over time.

The First Nations, Métis and Inuit populations continue to be significantly younger than the non-Aboriginal population, with proportionally more children and youth and fewer seniors. However, they too are aging—in 2016, those 65 years of age and older accounted for a larger share of the Aboriginal population than in the past.

The data provide a portrait of the rich diversity of First Nations, Métis and Inuit populations. More than 70 Aboriginal languages were reported in the 2016 Census. Growth was observed in the Aboriginal population in urban areas, as well as First Nations people living on reserve and Inuit in Inuit Nunangat. Aboriginal children were more likely to live in a variety of family settings, such as multi-generational homes, where both parents and grandparents are present.

Rapid population growth among First Nations people, Métis and Inuit

The Aboriginal peoples of Canada—First Nations people, Métis and Inuit—include a diverse range of histories, cultures and languages.

The First Nations population—including both those who are registered or treaty Indians under the Indian Act and those who are not—grew by 39.3% from 2006 to reach 977,230 people in 2016.

The Métis population (587,545) had the largest increase of any of the groups over the 10-year span, rising 51.2% from 2006 to 2016.

The Inuit population (65,025) grew by 29.1% from 2006 to 2016.

The Aboriginal population is young but also aging

The Aboriginal population is young. The average age of the Aboriginal population was 32.1 years in 2016—almost a decade younger than the non-Aboriginal population (40.9 years).

Chart 1  Chart 1: Share (in percentage) of the population aged 0 to 14 years and 65 years and over by Aboriginal identity, Canada, 2016
Share (in percentage) of the population aged 0 to 14 years and 65 years and over by Aboriginal identity, Canada, 2016

Chart 1: Share (in percentage) of the population aged 0 to 14 years and 65 years and over by Aboriginal identity, Canada, 2016

As shown in the 2016 Census release on age and sex, seniors outnumbered children for the first time in Canada. This was not the case among Aboriginal peoples.

Around one-third of First Nations people (29.2%) were 14 years of age or younger in 2016—over four times the proportion of those 65 years of age and older (6.4%). For Métis, 22.3% of the population was 14 years of age or younger, compared with 8.7% who were 65 years of age and older. Among Inuit, one-third (33.0%) were 14 years of age or younger, while 4.7% were 65 years of age and older.

While the Aboriginal population is younger than the rest of the population in Canada, it is also aging. In 2006, 4.8% of the Aboriginal population was 65 years of age and older; by 2016, this proportion had risen to 7.3%. According to population projections, the proportion of the First Nations, Métis and Inuit populations 65 years of age and older could more than double by 2036.

First Nations population growing both on and off reserve

First Nations people possess a rich cultural heritage of diverse languages, histories and homelands. There are more than 600 unique First Nations/Indian Bands in Canada. The First Nations population includes those who are members of a First Nation/Indian Band and those who are not, as well as those with and without registered or treaty Indian status under the Indian Act.

The number of First Nations people with registered or treaty Indian status rose by 30.8% from 2006 to 2016. There were 744,855 First Nations people with registered or treaty Indian status in 2016, accounting for just over three-quarters (76.2%) of the First Nations population. The other 23.8%, which did not have registered or treaty Indian status, has grown by 75.1% since 2006 to 232,375 people in 2016.

Among the 744,855 First Nations people with registered or treaty Indian status, 44.2% lived on reserve in 2016, while the rest of the population lived off reserve. There was growth for both on reserve (+12.8%) and off reserve (+49.1%) First Nations populations from 2006 to 2016.

Over half of First Nations people live in the western provinces

The First Nations population was concentrated in the western provinces, with more than half of First Nations people living in British Columbia (17.7%), Alberta (14.0%), Manitoba (13.4%) and Saskatchewan (11.7%). By comparison, 30.3% of the non-Aboriginal population lived in the western provinces.

Almost one-quarter (24.2%) of the First Nations population lived in Ontario, the largest share among the provinces, while 9.5% lived in Quebec.

A further 7.5% of the First Nations population lived in the Atlantic provinces and 2.1% lived in the territories.

While First Nations people accounted for 2.8% of the total population of Canada, they accounted for one-tenth of the population in Saskatchewan (10.7%) and Manitoba (10.5%), and almost one-third of the population in the Northwest Territories (32.1%).

First Nations people accounted for a smaller share of the population in Quebec (1.2%), Ontario (1.8%) and the Atlantic provinces (3.2%).

Chart 2  Chart 2: First Nations population by provinces and territories, Canada, 2016
First Nations population by provinces and territories, Canada, 2016

Chart 2: First Nations population by provinces and territories, Canada, 2016

First Nations population doubles in Atlantic Canada

While the First Nations population in the Atlantic provinces is relatively small (73,655 or 7.5% of the total First Nations population), it more than doubled (+101.6%) from 2006 to 2016. A significant part of this increase most likely stemmed from changes in self-reported identification, that is, people newly identifying as First Nations on the census.

Over this 10-year period, the First Nations population grew by 48.7% in Ontario and 37.5% in Quebec.

While the First Nations population grew at the slowest pace in Western Canada (+32.2%), the region saw the largest total increase in the First Nations population (+134,550) in Canada.

Ontario has the largest Métis population

Métis hold a unique cultural and historic place among the Aboriginal peoples in Canada, with distinct traditions, culture and language (Michif). Today, the Métis population is present in every province, territory and city in Canada.

There were 587,545 Métis in Canada in 2016, accounting for 1.7% of the total population.

Most (80.3%) of the Métis population lived in Ontario and the western provinces. For the first time, Ontario had the largest Métis population in Canada at 120,585, up 64.3% from 2006 and accounting for one-fifth (20.5%) of the total Métis population.

The Métis population grew by 32.9% in the western provinces from 2006 to 2016, to 351,020 people.

Alberta had the largest Métis population in the western provinces, accounting for 19.5% of the total Métis population. About the same number of Métis lived in Manitoba and British Columbia (15.2%), while Saskatchewan was home to 9.9% of the Métis population.

There were 69,360 Métis living in Quebec in 2016, accounting for 11.8% of the total Métis population. Meanwhile, 7.2% of the Métis population lived in the Atlantic provinces and 0.8% lived in the territories.

Chart 3  Chart 3: Métis population by provinces and territories, Canada, 2016
Métis population by provinces and territories, Canada, 2016

Chart 3: Métis population by provinces and territories, Canada, 2016

The Métis population grew at the fastest pace in Quebec (+149.2%) and the Atlantic provinces (+124.3%) from 2006 to 2016. Meanwhile, the Métis population grew by 64.3% in Ontario and by 32.9% in the western provinces. In the territories, the size of the Métis population was relatively unchanged from 10 years earlier.

Nearly two-thirds of Métis live in a metropolitan area

Of the three Aboriginal groups, Métis were the most likely to live in a city, with 62.6% living in a metropolitan area of at least 30,000 people.

There were eight metropolitan areas with a population of more than 10,000 Métis in 2016: Winnipeg, Edmonton, Vancouver, Calgary, Ottawa–Gatineau, Montréal, Toronto and Saskatoon. Combined, these areas accounted for just over one-third (34.0%) of the entire Métis population.

Winnipeg had the largest Métis population at 52,130 in 2016, up 28.0% from a decade earlier.

Almost three-quarters of Inuit live in Inuit Nunangat

Inuit are the original people of the North American Arctic. In Canada, Inuit have inhabited communities stretching from the westernmost Arctic to the eastern shores of Newfoundland and Labrador for uncounted generations. This area, known as Inuit Nunangat, refers not only to the land, but also to the surrounding water and ice, which Inuit consider to be integral to their culture and way of life. For more information, please visit the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami website.

There were 65,025 Inuit in Canada in 2016, up 29.1% from 2006. Close to three-quarters (72.8%) of Inuit lived in Inuit Nunangat.

Map 1  Thumbnail for map 1: Inuit population by residence inside or outside Inuit Nunangat, 2016
Inuit population by residence inside or outside Inuit Nunangat, 2016

Thumbnail for map 1: Inuit population by residence inside or outside Inuit Nunangat, 2016

Among Inuit in Inuit Nunangat, the majority (63.7% or 30,140) lived in Nunavut in 2016, while one-quarter (24.9%) lived in Nunavik, whose communities encircle the western, northern and northeastern coastlines of Quebec. Another 6.6% lived in the Inuvialuit region, which is located in the Western Arctic, while 4.8% lived in the communities of Nunatsiavut, along the northeastern coast of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Chart 4  Chart 4: Inuit population by Inuit area of residence, 2006 and 2016
Inuit population by Inuit area of residence, 2006 and 2016

Chart 4: Inuit population by Inuit area of residence, 2006 and 2016

Inuit population growing inside and outside Inuit Nunangat

From 2006 to 2016, the Inuit population grew by 20.1% inside Inuit Nunangat. Outside of Inuit Nunangat, the Inuit population grew by 61.9%.

Among the four regions of Inuit Nunangat, the Inuit population grew the fastest in Nunavik (+23.3%) and Nunavut (+22.5%) over the 10-year period. In Nunatsiavut, the Inuit population grew by 6.0%, while in the Inuvialuit region the population was relatively unchanged.

Outside of Inuit Nunangat, the highest proportion of Inuit lived in the Atlantic provinces (30.6%). Most Inuit in the Atlantic provinces lived in Newfoundland and Labrador (23.5%), which accounted for almost one-quarter of the population of Inuit outside of Inuit Nunangat.

Over one in five Inuit (21.8%) outside of Inuit Nunangat lived in Ontario, while 28.7% lived in the western provinces. Just over 1in 10 (12.1%) lived in Quebec, while 6.8% lived in the Northwest Territories (not including the Inuvialuit region) and Yukon.

Many Inuit, outside of those living in Inuit Nunangat, lived in a city. Outside of Inuit Nunangat, 56.2% of Inuit lived in a metropolitan area of at least 30,000 people. Of Inuit living outside of Inuit Nunangat, the largest Inuit populations were in Ottawa–Gatineau (1,280), Edmonton (1,110) and Montréal (975).

The Aboriginal population living in metropolitan areas is growing

The increase in the urban population of Aboriginal peoples has been taking place for decades in Canada. This change has often been misunderstood simply as the movement by First Nations people away from reserves and into cities. In fact, the First Nations population continues to grow both on and off reserve.

Like the overall population growth of First Nations people, Métis and Inuit, the urbanization of Aboriginal peoples in Canada is due to multiple factors—including demographic growth, mobility and changing patterns of self-reported identity.

In 2016, 867,415 Aboriginal people lived in a metropolitan area of at least 30,000 people, accounting for over half (51.8%) of the total Aboriginal population. From 2006 to 2016, the number of Aboriginal people living in a metropolitan area of this size increased by 59.7%.

The census metropolitan areas (CMAs) of Winnipeg (92,810), Edmonton (76,205), Vancouver (61,460) and Toronto (46,315) had the largest Aboriginal populations. Among all CMAs, Aboriginal people accounted for the highest proportion of the population in Thunder Bay (12.7%), Winnipeg (12.2%) and Saskatoon (10.9%).

Chart 5  Chart 5: Number of First Nations people, Métis and Inuit by selected census metropolitan areas, 2016
Number of First Nations people, Métis and Inuit by selected census metropolitan areas, 2016

Chart 5: Number of First Nations people, Métis and Inuit by selected census metropolitan areas, 2016

The Aboriginal population more than doubled in seven CMAs from 2006 to 2016: St. John’s, Halifax, Moncton, Québec, Saguenay, Sherbrooke and Barrie. Among all CMAs, the Aboriginal population grew the fastest in St. John’s (+237.3%), Halifax (+199.0%) and Moncton (+197.9%).

Over the same period, Aboriginal population growth was slowest in Regina (+26.4%), Winnipeg (+37.1%) and Saskatoon (+45.4%). However, even in Regina, where Aboriginal population growth was the slowest among all CMAs, the Aboriginal population grew at a faster pace than the non-Aboriginal population.

Aboriginal children more likely to live in a family with at least one grandparent

Understanding the characteristics of young children aged 0 to 4 years is important, as early childhood experiences influence not only current but also future well-being.

There were 145,645 Aboriginal children aged 0 to 4 years enumerated in the 2016 Census, accounting for 8.7% of the total Aboriginal population. Of this group, 60.1% lived with two parents.

Just over one-third (34.0%) of Aboriginal children aged 0 to 4 years lived with a lone parent. First Nations children aged 0 to 4 years (38.9%) were the most likely to live with a lone parent, followed by Métis (25.5%) and Inuit (26.5%) children in the same age group. However, many children living with a lone parent also lived with grandparent(s). In 2016, 10.5% of Aboriginal children aged 0 to 4 were living with a lone parent and grandparent(s).

About one in six (17.9%) Aboriginal children aged 0 to 4 lived with grandparent(s) in 2016, either with a parent present or without. Inuit children in this age group were most likely to live with grandparent(s) (22.8%), followed by First Nations (21.2%) and Métis (10.5%) children.

For more information on the family characteristics of young Aboriginal children, see the article “Diverse family characteristics of Aboriginal children aged 0 to 4“.

More than 70 Aboriginal languages reported

Language both shapes and is shaped by the culture to which it belongs. Aboriginal languages—grouped into 12 language families—have been central to the history of First Nations people, Métis and Inuit in Canada and continue to play a vital role to this day.

There is a great diversity of Aboriginal languages in Canada. There were more than 70 distinct Aboriginal languages reported in the 2016 Census, more than 30 of which had at least 500 speakers.

There were 260,550 Aboriginal people who could speak an Aboriginal language in 2016, up 3.1% from 2006.

In general, the number of First Nations people, Métis and Inuit who could speak an Aboriginal language was higher than the number with an Aboriginal mother tongue. This suggests that people are learning an Aboriginal language as a second language.

The article “The Aboriginal languages of First Nations people, Métis and Inuit” contains more information on the diversity of Aboriginal languages in Canada.

Source: The Daily — Aboriginal peoples in Canada: Key results from the 2016 Census

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The Daily — Immigration and ethnocultural diversity: Key results from the 2016 Census

On Census Day, 21.9% of the population reported they were or had ever been a landed immigrant or permanent resident in Canada. This proportion is close to the 22.3% recorded during the 1921 Census, the highest level since Confederation.

In 2016, Canada had 1,212,075 new immigrants who had permanently settled in Canada from 2011 to 2016. These recent immigrants represented 3.5% of Canada’s total population in 2016.

The majority (60.3%) of these new immigrants were admitted under the economic category, 26.8% were admitted under the family class to join family already in the country, and 11.6% were admitted to Canada as refugees.

For the first time, Africa ranks second, ahead of Europe, as a source continent of recent immigrants to Canada, with a share of 13.4% in 2016. Asia (including the Middle East) remains, however, the top source continent of recent immigrants. In 2016, the majority (61.8%) of newcomers were born in Asia.

Toronto, Vancouver and Montréal are still the place of residence of over half of all immigrants and recent immigrants to Canada. More immigrants are settling in the Prairies and in the Atlantic provinces.

In addition to contributing to the social and economic development of the country, immigrants and their descendants play a significant role in shaping and enriching the ethnic, cultural and linguistic composition of the Canadian population. The 2016 Census results released today show the various facets of diversity in Canada.

More than one in five Canadians are foreign-born

According to the 2016 Census, there were 7,540,830 foreign-born individuals who came to Canada through the immigration process, representing over one-fifth (21.9%) of Canada’s total population. This proportion is close to the 22.3% recorded during the 1921 Census, the highest level since Confederation.

The proportion of the foreign-born population was much lower from 1951 to 1991, when it ranged from 14.7% to 16.1%. Since then, this proportion has been continually rising, to 19.8% in the 2006 Census and 20.6% in the 2011 National Household Survey.

This increasing share is due to the large number of immigrants admitted into Canada each year, the gradual rise in the number of deaths and the relatively low fertility levels in Canada.

According to Statistics Canada’s population projections, the proportion of Canada’s foreign-born population could reach between 24.5% and 30.0% by 2036.

Figure 1: Number and proportion of foreign-born population in Canada, 1871 to 2036

About 6 in 10 recent immigrants were admitted under the economic category

With the 2016 Census, it is now possible to classify immigrants admitted to Canada since 1980 by various admission categories.

In Canada, immigrants are selected based on three main objectives: to enhance and promote economic development; to reunite families; and to fulfill the country’s international obligations and uphold its humanitarian tradition.

Among recent immigrants living in Canada in 2016, approximately 6 in 10 were admitted under the economic category, when principal applicants, spouses and dependants were taken into account. Almost half (48.0%) of recent economic immigrants were admitted through the skilled workers program and more than a quarter (27.3%) under the provincial and territorial nominees program.

Furthermore, nearly 3 in 10 recent immigrants were admitted under the family class to join family already in the country, and approximately 1 in 10 recent immigrants were admitted to Canada as refugees.

Refugees accounted for a higher proportion (24.1%) of immigrants admitted from January 1 to May 10, 2016, as a result of the many Syrian refugees who landed during this period.

The situation is different for immigrants who were admitted during the 1980s and were still living in Canada in 2016. A smaller proportion were economic immigrants: 4 in 10 immigrants were admitted under this category, while over 3 in 10 immigrants were sponsored by family, and approximately 2 in 10 immigrants were refugees.

Figure 2: Distribution (in percentage) of immigrants living in Canada, by admission category and year of immigration, 2016

Additional information is available in the infographic “Gateways to Immigration in Canada” as well as in data products and reference products.

More immigrants are settling in the Prairies

Over the past 15 years, the share of recent immigrants in the Prairie provinces has more than doubled. The percentage of new immigrants living in Alberta rose from 6.9% in 2001 to 17.1% in 2016, a higher share than in British Columbia (14.5%). In Manitoba, the percentage increased from 1.8% to 5.2% during the same period. Saskatchewan’s share also grew, from just under 1.0% in 2001 to 4.0% in 2016.

In 2016, the Atlantic provinces were home to 2.3% of all recent immigrants in Canada. Each of the Atlantic provinces received its largest number of new immigrants, which more than doubled the share of recent immigrants in this region in 15 years.

Ontario, Canada’s most populous province and the place of residence of most of the country’s immigrants, received 39.0% of recent immigrants in 2016. This share decreased from 55.9% in 2001.

British Columbia also saw its share of recent immigrants decrease over the past 15 years, from 19.9% in 2001 to 14.5% in 2016.

In 2016, 17.8% of recent immigrants lived in Quebec, a higher share than in 2006 (17.5%) and in 2001 (13.7%). Overall, Quebec had the second highest number of recent immigrants in 2016, after Ontario.

The territories had the fewest number of recent immigrants. In 2016, 2,100 newcomers, or 0.2% of all recent immigrants, settled in the territories.

Several factors can explain changes in the geographic distribution of new immigrants. For example, certain provinces received a large number of immigrants under the Provincial and Territorial Nominee Program: over 50% of recent immigrants living in Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Yukon were admitted under this program. At the national level, 16.4% of all recent immigrants were admitted under this program.

Moreover, many new immigrants chose to settle in areas with an established community from their home country.

The economic conditions in the various receiving regions undoubtedly played a major role in the geographic distribution of immigrants. According to the Labour Force Survey, Alberta had the largest employment growth from 2011 to 2016 (+7.8%) compared with the national average (+5.0%).

Figure 3: Distribution (in percentage) of recent immigrants in Canada, by provinces and territories, 1981 to 2016

Census metropolitan areas in the Prairies receiving a higher share of recent immigrants

In 2016, the Regina, Winnipeg, Calgary, Saskatoon and Edmonton census metropolitan areas (CMAs) were the place of residence of a share of recent immigrants that was almost twice that of each CMA‘s share of the total population in Canada. For example, 4.3% of new immigrants settled in Winnipeg, while 2.2% of Canada’s total population lived in this CMA.

Nevertheless, Toronto, Vancouver and Montréal, the three most populous CMAs in the country, together are still the place of residence of over half of all immigrants (61.4%) and recent immigrants (56.0%) in Canada. In comparison, just over one-third (35.7%) of Canada’s total population lived in these three CMAs.

In 2016, immigrants represented 46.1% of Toronto’s population, 40.8% of Vancouver’s and 23.4% of Montréal’s.

For the first time, Africa accounts for the second largest source continent of recent immigrants

In 2016, 13.4% of recent immigrants were born in Africa, a four-fold increase from the 1971 Census (3.2%). Africa thus ranked second, ahead of Europe, as a source continent of recent immigrants to Canada.

Nigeria, Algeria, Egypt, Morocco and Cameroon were the top five countries of birth of recent African-born immigrants in 2016.

As a result of shifts in Canada’s immigration policies and various international events relating to movements of migrants and refugees, the percentage of recent immigrants born in Europe has decreased from one census to the next, falling from 61.6% in 1971 to 16.1% in 2006 and to 11.6% in 2016.

Asia (including the Middle East) remained the top source continent of recent immigrants. The majority (61.8%) of newcomers to Canada from 2011 to 2016 were born in Asia. This is a slightly higher proportion than was observed in the 2006 Census (58.3%) and in the 2011 National Household Survey (56.9%).

Asian countries accounted for 7 of the top 10 countries of birth of recent immigrants in 2016: the Philippines, India, China, Iran, Pakistan, Syria and South Korea.

Newcomers from the Americas and Oceania represented 12.6% and 0.7%, respectively, of recent immigrants to Canada.

Almost half of the foreign-born population is from Asia

Changes in the main source countries of immigrants have transformed the overall portrait of Canada’s foreign-born population. In 2016, almost half (48.1%) of the foreign-born population was born in Asia (including the Middle East), while a lower proportion (27.7%) was born in Europe.

Furthermore, African-born immigrants represented a growing share of the foreign-born population, increasing from 1.4% in the 1971 Census to 8.5% in the 2016 Census.

In 1871, in the first census held after Confederation, the foreign-born population was mainly from the British Isles (83.6%).

One hundred years later, the 1971 Census showed that individuals born in the British Isles still accounted for the largest group of foreign-born population, but their share had decreased significantly to 29.5%. The majority of the foreign-born population were from other European countries and the United States, while 10.9% of foreign-born were from other parts of the world.

Current immigration trends—if they continue—and the aging of established cohorts of immigrants mean that from 55.7% to 57.9% of all immigrants would be born in Asia by 2036, and from 15.4% to 17.8% would be born in Europe. The proportion of immigrants born in Africa is projected to increase to between 11.0% and 11.9% in 2036.

Figure 4: Distribution of foreign-born population, by region of birth, Canada, 1871 to 2036

More information on recent and past trends with regard to immigration to Canada is available in the video “Welcome to Canada: 150 Years of Immigration” and in the infographic “Immigrant population in Canada“, as well as in various immigration data products.

Two in five Canadian children have an immigrant background

First- and second-generation children of immigrants contribute to the renewal of the population and to the diversity of Canada’s population.

According to the 2016 Census, almost 2.2 million children under the age of 15 were foreign-born (first generation) or had at least one foreign-born parent (second generation), representing 37.5% of all Canadian children. This is an increase from 2011, when this proportion was 34.6%. This population of children with an immigrant background could continue to grow and could represent from 39.3% to 49.1% of children under the age of 15 by 2036.

In 2016, the majority (74.0%) of these first- or second-generation children were from countries of ancestry in Asia, Africa, the Caribbean and Bermuda, Central and South America.

For more information, please see the document entitled “Children with an immigrant background: Bridging cultures” from the Census in Brief series.

The vast majority of immigrants report being able to conduct a conversation in English or French

The language composition of immigrants has changed over the past 100 years. The percentage of immigrants with English or French as a mother tongue decreased from 71.2% in 1921 to 27.5% in 2016, mirroring changes in the source countries of immigrants over the same period. Overall, statistics are presented on about 200 languages for the 2016 Census.

English and French remain the languages of convergence and integration into Canadian society. In 2016, the vast majority of the 7.5 million immigrants (93.2%) were able to conduct a conversation in English or in French. This means that only 6.8% of immigrants reported not being able to conduct a conversation either in English or in French.

More detailed analyses of immigrants and language are available in the document “Linguistic integration of immigrants and official language populations in Canada” in the Census in Brief series.

Over 250 ethnic origins

Past and recent sources of immigration have strongly influenced the current ethnic and cultural make-up of Canada’s population.

Many ethnic origins were reported in the 2016 Census. The list of origins includes different groups associated with Aboriginal peoples. It also includes European groups that first settled in Canada, as well as various groups that subsequently settled in this country. Overall, statistics are available for over 250 ethnic origins.

More detailed analyses are included in the document on “Ethnic and cultural origins of Canadians: Portrait of a rich heritage” from the Census in Brief series.

Growth of the visible minority population

The increase in the number of immigrants from non-European countries, as well as their children and grandchildren born in Canada, has contributed to the growth of the visible minority population in Canada.

In 2016, 7,674,580 individuals were identified as belonging to the visible minority population as defined by the Employment Equity Act. They represented more than one-fifth (22.3%) of Canada’s population. Of this number, 3 in 10 were born in Canada.

The visible minority population has grown steadily since the 1981 Census, when data for the four Employment Equity groups (women, Aboriginal peoples, visible minorities and persons with disabilities) were first derived. At that time, the 1.1 million people belonging to a visible minority represented 4.7% of the total Canadian population.

If current trends continue, the visible minority population would continue to grow and could represent between 31.2% and 35.9% of the Canadian population by 2036.

Figure 5: Number and proportion of visible minority population in Canada, 1981 to 2036

The visible minority population is made up of a number of groups, which themselves are diversified in many respects.

South Asians, Chinese and Blacks were the three largest visible minority groups, each with a population exceeding one million.

According to the 2016 Census, 1,924,635 people reported being South Asian, representing one-quarter (25.1%) of the visible minority population and 5.6% of the entire Canadian population.

Chinese was the second largest visible minority group, with 1,577,060 individuals, representing 20.5% of the visible minority population.

The Black population in Canada surpassed the one-million mark for the first time in 2016. This visible minority group, the third largest in terms of number, comprised 1,198,540 individuals (15.6% of the visible minority population) in 2016, compared with 945,670 in 2011.

The fourth and fifth largest visible minority groups, Filipinos and Arabs, almost doubled their numbers in 10 years and had the highest growth rates among visible minority groups from 2006 to 2016.

They were followed by Latin Americans, Southeast Asians, West Asians, Koreans and Japanese.

Source: The Daily — Immigration and ethnocultural diversity: Key results from the 2016 Census

Who Put The ‘Hispanic’ In Hispanic Heritage Month? : NPR

Interesting history and example of how political level, civil organizations and officials responded to needed change:

And then by 1980, the term Hispanic shows up for the first time on a census form. How did that happen?

One wouldn’t necessarily think of [President Richard] Nixon as a champion of Latino rights or Latino identity. But he was open to hearing Latino concerns, in part because he grew up in Southern California, in a context where he knew Mexican-Americans existed. And they were different. Their lives were different; their experiences were different from whites. In 1972, he created the first comprehensive ‘Hispanic vote’ political campaigns at the presidential level that the country had ever seen. Nixon had what he called “amigo buses” that roamed around the Southwest but also the Northeast and into Florida. Those that roamed on the East Coast played salsa and cumbia and those that roamed in the Southwest played mariachi. This was before the Democratic Party did anything close to this. And the Nixon administration also pressured the Census Bureau to create an advisory board comprised of the Mexicans and the Puerto Ricans, who were incredibly loud, and also some Cuban sympathizers that had been big contributors to Nixon. One of the biggest points of debate is: What would this group be called on the census?

How did they choose the term ‘Hispanic’?

Some of the advisory members said, “Hey, why not use ‘brown’? We don’t fit into these white, black, Asian categories. That’s not us.” Now, if you’re a demographer, if you’re a statistician, that seems like an incredible nightmare. You know, brown can mean Filipinos. Brown can be Native Americans. Brown can be South Asian Indians. This was a complete non-starter.

They went down the list. Latin American. One of the problems is that Latinos were seen as foreigners, invaders and not inherently American. And one of the jobs of the advisory board was to really show that Latinos were an American minority group, like African-Americans — a minority that stretched from coast to coast and that were patriotic, that fought in wars, that contributed to American history, that built American cities. So when a term like Latin American was used, right away, it seemed to strike discord because it was seen as too foreign.

Hispanic was never a term that everybody loved, but it was a term that got a lot of support from within Latinos in the Nixon and, later, the Ford administration.

And, then, how did they make it stick?

The Census director called all the Latino advocacy groups that were being set up in Washington, D.C. — the National Council of La Raza; the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, and said: “HELP.” NCLR set up town halls in places like Miami, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, showing people the new census form and telling them, “Look, we’re Hispanic. This is us. This is our chance. This is our category!” The second phone the Census director picked up was to Spanish-language media. At that time, the company that would later go on to be called Univision was growing rapidly. They ran documentaries, commercials, even a day-long telethon, where different performers from across Latin America came out. Each of them held out the census form and says, “Hey, remember to fill out the census. We’re Hispanic on the 1980 census. This is important for us.”

How did we get from arguing for totally separate identities like Mexican, Puerto Rican and Cuban, to me calling myself a Latina?

Because it takes on a life of its own! Once the category was made, everything from political groups to civic organizations to every other media group that would emerge, would draw on census data. As soon as the census numbers came out, Latino lobby groups could then run the numbers and say, ‘Look, this is what Latino poverty looks like; this is what Latino educational attainment looks like.’

They could go up to the Department of Education, for example, and say, “Latinos are the second-largest minority group. And yet, our educational attainment pales to that of whites. Send money to our schools.”

The same exact thing happened in the market. As soon as the numbers came out, Univision releases the first Hispanic marketing manual, in which they take figures like income, and they call it “Hispanic buying power.” And they take the census report and make pitches to McDonald’s and Kellogg’s and everybody else. And they start to slowly grow.

During the 1980s, Latino political organizations started to demand that not only should we have a Hispanic category in the census, but we damn well should have it on birth certificates. Michigan, Georgia, Louisiana — they still categorize Latinos as whites. And there was a large political push among these groups, with even Spanish-language media writing to them and saying, ‘Look, put us down as Latinos. We’re not white. We’re distinct. We’re different.’

An increasingly diverse linguistic landscape: Highlights from the 2016 Census

Excerpts from the StatsCan summary:

Immigrant languages show strong growth

“Immigrant languages” refer to languages (other than English and French – the national official languages) whose existence in Canada is originally due to immigration after English and French colonization. This expression excludes Aboriginal languages and sign languages, in addition to English and French.

The first results from the 2016 Census, released on February 8, 2017, showed once more that international migration is the key driver of population growth in Canada. As such, Canada’s linguistic landscape is constantly changing. In the 2016 Census, over 7.7 million people reported an immigrant mother tongue (alone or with other languages). This corresponds to 22.3% of the Canadian population.

Over 7.3 million people reported speaking an immigrant language at home. The main immigrant languages spoken at home by Canadians in 2016 were Mandarin (641,100 people), Cantonese (594,705 people), Punjabi (568,375 people), Spanish (553,495 people), Tagalog (Pilipino) (525,375 people) and Arabic (514,200 people). Proportionally speaking, the number of people who speak each of these languages individually represents between 1.4% and 1.9% of the Canadian population.

Some languages saw significant growth from 2011 to 2016. Among the languages spoken by at least 100,000 people, Tagalog (Pilipino) (+35.0%), Arabic (+30.0%), Persian (Farsi) (+26.7%), Hindi (+26.1%) and Urdu (+25.0%) experienced the largest increases. The number of people who spoke a Chinese language at home rose 16.8% from 2011 to 2016 (see note to readers).

Chart 2  Chart 2: Variation between 2011 and 2016 in the population who reported speaking certain immigrant languages, Canada
Variation between 2011 and 2016 in the population who reported speaking certain immigrant languages, Canada

Chart 2: Variation between 2011 and 2016 in the population who reported speaking certain immigrant languages, Canada

Conversely, some European languages were reported by fewer people as the language spoken at home, led by Italian (-10.9%), Polish (-5.5%), German (-3.3%) and Greek (-2.3%).

These trends reflect the changes that Canada has undergone in terms of the geographic origin of its immigrants. The number of people who speak languages from countries that are recent sources of immigration, primarily Asian countries, is on the rise. Meanwhile, the number of people who speak certain European languages—which reflect older waves of immigration—is declining.

Immigrant languages are more commonly spoken in Canada’s large census metropolitan areas (CMAs). The infographic Immigrant Languages in Canada gives a general overview of the main immigrant languages spoken in the different regions of Canada.

The population with an immigrant mother tongue is increasing across Canada

The population with an immigrant mother tongue rose in every region of Canada. In absolute numbers, Ontario (+352,745 people) and Western Canada (+414,260 people) saw the largest growth from 2011 to 2016.

In relative terms, the Atlantic provinces (+33.2%) and the territories (+27.6%) saw the largest increase in the population with an immigrant mother tongue, despite accounting for only 1.2% of this population in 2016. In 2011, these two regions accounted for 1.0% of this population.

The population with an immigrant mother tongue is largely concentrated in large CMAs, with nearly two-thirds living in the CMAs of Toronto (35.3%), Vancouver (14.1%) and Montréal (13.0%). These proportions were down slightly from 2011, when they were 36.3%, 14.3% and 13.3% respectively.

In relative terms, the population with an immigrant mother tongue experienced more rapid growth in the CMAs of Edmonton (+31.1%), Calgary (+28.0%) and, to a lesser extent, Ottawa-Gatineau (+15.5%). This growth was 10.3% in Toronto, 10.6% in Montréal and 11.5% in Vancouver.

The document Linguistic diversity and multilingualism in Canadian homes presents the main immigrant mother tongues in the large CMAs in Canada. In Montréal and Ottawa-Gatineau, Arabic was the main immigrant mother tongue. In Calgary and Edmonton, the three most common immigrant mother tongues were, in order, Tagalog, Punjabi and Cantonese. In Toronto and Vancouver, they were Cantonese, Mandarin and Punjabi.

Cree languages are the Aboriginal languages most commonly spoken at home

The 2016 Census of Population provides data on close to 70 Aboriginal languages.

Cree languages were the Aboriginal languages most often reported as the language spoken at home in Canada (83,985 people) in 2016. Inuktitut was spoken by 39,025 people, while 21,800 people spoke Ojibway, 13,855 people spoke Oji-Cree, 11,780 people spoke Dene and 10,960 people spoke Montagnais (Innu).

Overall, the number of people who speak an Aboriginal language at home (228,770 people) is higher than the number of people who have an Aboriginal mother tongue (213,230 people). This difference, particularly significant among youths aged 0 to 14, shows the growing acquisition of an Aboriginal language as second language. In this age group, 44,000 people have an Aboriginal language as a mother tongue, while 55,970 people speak an Aboriginal language at least on a regular basis at home.

More detailed analysis highlighting the richness and diversity of Aboriginal languages will be made available with the release of 2016 Census data on Aboriginal Peoples on October 25, 2017.

English and French are pathways of integration into Canadian societyLinguistic diversity is also measured by the growth of multilingualism in Canadian homes. Multiple languages in the homes of Canadians of all origins are becoming more common.

The proportion of the Canadian population who speak more than one language at home rose from 17.5% in 2011 to 19.4% in 2016. There were also more multiple responses to the question on mother tongue, with the proportion of people who reported more than one mother tongue rising from 1.9% in 2011 to 2.4% in 2016.

Multilingualism primarily occurs when official languages are used increasingly with an immigrant language. For more information, see Linguistic diversity and multilingualism in Canadian homes.

For example, 69.9% of people with an “other” mother tongue (reported alone) spoke English or French at home in 2016—mostly in combination with the mother tongue.

Similarly, 69.8% of people who spoke an “other language” at home (regardless of mother tongue) did so in combination with at least one of the two official languages.

Overall, 98.1% of Canadians reported that they were able to hold a conversation in at least one official language in 2016, and 93.4% spoke English or French at home at least on a regular basis.

Strong growth of Arabic in the Atlantic provinces

There was an increase in immigrant languages as mother tongue and as a language spoken at home in the Atlantic provinces. Arabic in particular saw strong growth from 2011 to 2016 and was the main immigrant language spoken at home in three Atlantic provinces.

The only exception was Prince Edward Island, where Mandarin was the main immigrant language spoken at home (2,290 people).

Montagnais (Innu) (1,505 people), an Aboriginal language, was the other language most frequently reported spoken at home in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Decline in the use of French at home in Quebec

The various linguistic indicators show an increase in other languages and in English, and a decline in French in Quebec.

Arabic was the most common immigrant language spoken at home (213,055 people) in 2016 in Quebec, up 23.7% from 2011.

English as a mother tongue rose from 9.0% in 2011 to 9.6% in 2016, and as a language spoken at home it increased from 18.3% in 2011 to 19.8% in 2016.

French saw a decline as a mother tongue (from 79.7% in 2011 to 78.4% in 2016) and as a language spoken at home (from 87.0% in 2011 to 86.4% in 2016).

Nearly half of Canadians with an immigrant mother tongue lived in Ontario in 2016

Ontario accounted for nearly half (49.5%) of Canadians whose mother tongue or language spoken at home was an immigrant language in 2016, down slightly from 2011 (50.9% for mother tongue and 51.2% for language spoken at home).

Immigrant languages spoken at home rose significantly in Ontario from 2011 to 2016, led by Arabic (+30.5%), Persian (Farsi) (+24.0%), Urdu (+21.3%), Tagalog (Pilipino) (+19.3%), Chinese languages (+17.4%) and Punjabi (+14.5%).

Asian languages see strong growth in the western provinces

Tagalog (Pilipino) is the main immigrant language spoken at home in the Prairie provinces. From 2011 to 2016, Tagalog (Pilipino) increased 123.1% in Saskatchewan, 68.3% in Alberta and 42.3% in Manitoba.

In numbers, Punjabi was the main immigrant language spoken at home in British Columbia (222,720 people) in 2016, up 10.9% from 2011, followed closely by Mandarin (202,625 people) and Cantonese (200,280 people).

Strong growth for Tagalog in the territories

The number of people who reported speaking Tagalog (Pilipino) rose sharply in Yukon (+105.4%), the Northwest Territories (+58.8%) and Nunavut (+54.5%). The main “other” languages spoken at home were Dogrib (Tlicho) in the Northwest Territories (2,005 people) and Inuktitut in Nunavut (25,405 people). From 2011 to 2016, the number of people speaking Inuktitut in Nunavut rose 12.1%.

All French linguistic indicators increased in the three Canadian territories.

Source: The Daily — An increasingly diverse linguistic landscape: Highlights from the 2016 Census

Khadr is to Trudeau what the census was to Harper: John Ibbitson

Interesting parallel and difference. Note Ibbitson’s point on the census cancellation decision:

Fast forward to this summer. When news broke that the federal government had settled Omar Khadr’s lawsuit for $10.5-million and an apology, critics angrily alleged the government had turned a confessed terrorist into a millionaire. Caught off guard, the Liberals kept changing their story. Previous governments had violated Mr. Khadr’s Charter rights and this government was simply doing right by him, Justin Trudeau maintained. When that didn’t fly, the Prime Minister insisted that the government was saving the taxpayers money by settling for a smaller amount now, instead of a larger amount later. People aren’t buying that one, either. Seven in 10 oppose the settlement, according to an Angus Reid poll.

When the census story broke in 2010, the Liberals painted Mr. Harper as a philistine prepared to destroy knowledge for the sake of a blinkered ideology. Similarly, the Conservatives are using the Khadr settlement to paint Mr. Trudeau as not only soft on terrorists, but willing to pander to one. The census charge stuck to Mr. Harper, and the Khadr charge will likely stick to Mr. Trudeau.

There is, however, one crucial difference between the census scandal and the Khadr affair. In the former case, Stephen Harper was entirely in the wrong. Although he refused to admit it, he cancelled the census to starve the government of data that could be used to justify programs that Conservatives oppose. It truly was an act of political vandalism. But Mr. Trudeau can make a much better case for his actions.

You don’t have to believe, as some do, that Omar Khadr was an innocent child who suffered terribly in Guantanamo for a crime he never committed, and whose confession was forced from him in a travesty of justice. You can instead believe that Mr. Khadr is a piece of work. It doesn’t matter. The Supreme Court ruled that his Charter rights were violated. He was going to win the lawsuit. The Liberals were simply bowing to the inevitable.

The Conservatives believe that doesn’t matter, that the government should have battled to the end and paid what the court ordered grudgingly and without an apology. Reasonable people can disagree on this point. There was no reasonable case for cancelling the census.

Still, the Liberals are going to wear this. There is nothing for Mr. Trudeau to do now but what Mr. Harper did in 2010: hunker down and wait for the agenda to move on.

If Stephen Harper could survive the census, surely Justin Trudeau can survive the Khadr affair.

Source: Khadr is to Trudeau what the census was to Harper – The Globe and Mail

Census Finds A More Diverse America, As Whites Lag Growth : NPR

Canadian immigration and diversity numbers will be released this October:

America’s diversity remains on the rise, with all racial and ethnic minorities growing faster than whites from 2015 to 2016, the U.S. Census Bureau says in a new snapshot of the national population. The agency also found the U.S. median age has risen to nearly 38.

Asian and mixed-race people are the two fastest-growing segments of the U.S. population, the U.S. Census Bureau says. Both groups grew by 3 percent from July 2015 to July 2016. In the same 12 months, the non-Hispanic white population grew by just 5,000 people.

Non-Hispanic whites remain the only segment of the U.S. population where deaths outpace births, the agency reports.

“While all other groups experienced natural increase (having more births than deaths) between 2015 and 2016,” the Census says, “the non-Hispanic white alone group experienced a natural decrease of 163,300 nationally.”

The report adds new detail to a picture that’s been coming into focus in recent years. Last summer, for instance, the Census Bureau reported a shift in America’s youngest population, as babies of color outnumbered non-Hispanic white babies.

…In terms of national diversity, here’s the Census Bureau’s rundown. We’ve reordered the agency’s list to sort the groups by growth rate:

  • The Asian population grew by 3.0 percent to 21.4 million.
  • People who identified as being of two or more races grew by 3.0 percent to 8.5 million.
  • The Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander population grew by 2.1 percent to 1.5 million.
  • The Hispanic population (including all races) grew by 2.0 percent to 57.5 million.
  • The American Indian and Alaska Native population grew by 1.4 percent to 6.7 million.
  • The black or African-American population grew by 1.2 percent to 46.8 million.
  • The white population grew by 0.5 percent to 256.0 million.
  • The non-Hispanic white alone population grew by 5,000 people, remaining at 198.0 million.

Colby Cosh: Thought Canada solved its census problems by booting Harper out of office? Think again

I found this piece by Cosh of interest as it indicates some of the less known challenges to the Census (and I am never bored by Alberta stories…):

Wow, this interim report on Alberta electoral boundaries is fascinat—

All right, I can already hear some of you saying “It’s called the NATIONAL Post, you hayseed; don’t bore us with trivia from your crummy Alberta backyard.” Well, everything happens in someone or other’s backyard. And this boundary reshuffle is an unusually consequential one—not just for the next Alberta election, but for the New Democrat cause across the country, and for the chess game of “right-wing unity” that continues to be a subplot of Canadian history.

But it really is interesting in its own right, if only for one reason. Much of the city of Fort McMurray, as you know, was destroyed by fire on May 3, 2016. The date of our country’s quinquennial census fell on May 10, 2016. This has presented an unprecedented problem for the five-person Alberta boundaries commission. And its interim report, designed to be discussed more before being finalized in October, admits that the commission does not yet have a good solution.

Door-to-door enumeration of Fort Mac on the May 10 date was impossible. A census is supposed to be a near-perfect snapshot of the country, taken at the same moment across the land. But such a snapshot of Ft. McMurray on May 10 would have returned a population of near zero, which would have obviously been useless for any policy purposes. Census respondents in the scorched city were therefore asked to report personal data pertaining to May 1, and so the figure in the census (66,573 persons) is not very realistic either—it may be little more than an accountant’s tribute to Fort Mac at a peak that it may never quite regain.

So how many Fort McMurrayites are there now? The boundaries commission asked the Alberta treasury for its own estimate—but that one is implausible too: it’s just the census figure minus about 9,000—an inference that “arises solely from the fact that 2,000 homes were destroyed in the fire.” This figure assumes that everybody who lost a home is gone from the city for good—an assumption that is patently untrue, and not much use for a commission that has to make reasonable election maps to last a decade.

So the present population of Ft. McMurray turns out to be irritatingly uncertain, and even if we knew it, no one can guess how much the city will rebound within the next year, or two, or five. The commission, trapped in a dead end of data, begs the public for “specific, reliable information upon which it could act.”

Fortunately, this problem mostly effects how two particular northern ridings will be split up, so the commission was able to devise provisional election boundaries for most of the province without worry. The rest of the report tells the typical story of a decade of Alberta population evolution. The cities of Edmonton and Calgary gain one extra seat apiece: Calgary was eligible for almost exactly one and a half, but is getting just one. The strongly Edmonton-centric NDP government will like that, but the fast-growing commuter zone between Calgary and the Rockies—a picturesque land of cowboy hipsters that is not quite “suburbia”—is also getting an extra seat.

One of the commissioners, the Carstairs businesswoman and artist Gwen Day, has filed a minority report arguing against this small (but possibly important) shift of voting power to the cities. Normally any sign of dissent within a boundaries commission is taken as a bad sign, but in this case one detects a simple determination to ignore the making of an embarrassing scene. Rural ridings everywhere in Canada often have a little extra power because of travel considerations, which ought to be weaker in abundantly-paved Alberta than they are almost anywhere else. But Day offers an entertaining novelty: “The concept of ‘one person, one vote’ is not a Canadian construct,” she argues.

She comes awfully close to saying that the votes of rural residents should count for more because rural people are more important humans. Day declares that Alberta has three kinds of economic activity: “primary industries” mostly in the countryside, “service industries” allegedly “driven by” the primary ones, and industries funded by tax dollars. I am not quite sure how department stores or Chinese restaurants fit in to this scheme, but it leads her to proclaim that “Rural Albertans control the land, access to the land and provide a significant portion of the labor force that most of our primary industries depend on.”

It is a wonder, one is left thinking, that city folk are allowed to vote at all; fortunately, the other commissioners chose not to embrace petro-agrarian fascism. I also appreciated that the majority is calling a halt to the odious practice of naming election constituencies after well-liked dead politicians, which is how we have ended up with a “Calgary-Klein” and a “Dunvegan-Central Peace-Notley” commemorating the father of the current premier.

Some Calgarians wanted to create a “Calgary-Bhullar” to commemorate Manmeet Bhullar, the young MLA killed in a road accident in 2015 while helping victims of an earlier collision. The commission said an apologetic no, noting that a school named for Bhullar is under construction, and states that electoral ridings should be given party-neutral, geographically descriptive names from now on. Manmeet Bhullar was a gem, but the commission’s suggested rule is the proper one, and its members’ resistance to sentiment should be applauded.

Don’t be like us, America: resist Trump’s war on the census

Good article by Anne Kingston:

It is never a good day for democracy when the head of the national census bureau quits. Canadians learned that in 2010 when Statistics Canada’s chief statistician, Munir Sheikh, resigned after then-industry minister, Tony Clement, falsely stated that the decision to axe the long-form census came from within StatsCan. Sheikh later said continuing budget cuts undermined the agency’s credibility.

For Americans, that day arrived this week, when U.S. Census Bureau director John H. Thompson, who’d held the job since 2013 and was expected to stay through 2017, suddenly resigned.  The back story remains a mystery. We do know the bureau, ramping up for the 2020 census was cash-strapped and under increasing political pressure. Months ago, insiders predicted a “train wreck” if the bureau didn’t get the resources it needed. Less than a week ago, Thompson stood before a combative congressional committee to request an extra $309 million for IT equipment.

Thompson’s exit, eclipsed by news of FBI director James Comey’s firing the same day, didn’t get the coverage it warranted. Yet his departure signals as potentially as big a blow to democracy.

Since taking office, the Trump administration has shredded data and threatened scientific research with a discipline absent from the general chaos that characterizes the regime. The past is being systemically deleted:  open data sets have been removedArctic climate research erased. Through it all, the president has engaged in 1984double-speak: “Rigorous science is critical to my administration’s efforts to achieve the twin goals of economic growth and environmental protection,” he said on Earth Day.

This all will be déjà vu all over again for Canadians—a warp-speed version of the data erasure witnessed during the decade-long Conservative government lead by Stephen Harper. Government funding of scientific research shrank, libraries were closed, irreplaceable research tossed, government scientists silenced, the long-form census was eliminated and key statistical studies were stopped. (Lest Canadians feel smug now, problems are ongoing even after regime change: in September 2016, Chief Statistician Wayne Smith stepped down, frustrated that Shared Services Canada held effective veto over many of the agency’s operations.)

Like Canadian scientists before them, American researchers raced to save data before the government permanently removed it. U.S. scientists have taken to the streets in protest, as Canadian scientists and citizens did before them. In tiny ways, the backlash has been successful: in January, the Trump administration dialled back its plan to delete climate-change pages on the EPA website, at least for now.

Trump’s proposed budget announced in March, however, called for brutal dismantling of scientific research (a full budget due this month still has to pass through Congress). Cuts of $7 billion in funding are destined to impede research on climate change, energy and health (it included an 18 per cent cut to the National Institutes of Health). The census bureau was one of the only federal agencies outside the Pentagon to get an increase. The $100-million bump only honoured previous commitments, however. The bureau called it insufficient, asking for a  21 percent, or $290 million, increase in 2017.

That’s small change, relatively. A properly executed census is a keystone of democracy, the largest civic action a government undertakes. Data collected provides snapshot of a nation—counting its people, their ages, where they work and live, how much money they earn, whether they live alone or with family, their marital status. It provides a baseline to measure progress or decline, particularly among the most marginalized.  The  information is necessary for governments—helping them to to make informed, fiscally-prudent decisions about where to allocate resources for schools, law enforcement, transportation, housing, social service agencies, even political campaigns. It reveals where to build roads and bridges—the “infrastructure” that was such a beloved cornerstone of Trump’s presidential campaign.

Major fault lines in the U.S. census, undertaken every 10 years, were evident in January. The U.S. Government Accountability Office put it on the “high-risk” list. That month, a leaked draft executive order revealed the government proposed the Census Bureau include a question on immigration status on the “long-form” census, or American Community Survey (ACS). The spectre of the White House using the information gleaned from the ACS and census to track down and deport undocumented immigrants triggered concerns that immigrants would be discouraged from participating.

March brought news that the government wanted to remove the first-ever question concerning sexual orientation and gender identity;  the LGBTQ community responded with accusations the government wanted  to “erase” them.   The fact the 2020 census will be the first conducted online has only ramped up cybersecurity concern amidst #Russiagate—and the need to reassure Americans that their private information will not be hacked.

If you want to thrust a nation into an autocracy, eliminating the data collection that allows it to see itself is a first step. For anyone else, including the business class of which the president remains an active member, it’s a disaster. Business depends on the census to determine where markets exist; where to step up operations and direct marketing. Business also depends on government-funded, pure-science research to stoke innovation.

“Our goal is a complete and accurate census,” Thompson said in March, when he was still director of the census bureau. Now he’s gone. Trump has the power to replace him. Given the explosive developments of the past week, many might see it as a low priority. It’s not. If you don’t measure a nation, its people no longer exist.

Source: Don’t be like us, America: resist Trump’s war on the census – Macleans.ca

New census technology under close watch as Statcan looks to the future

Looking forward to the results from the long-form census as they come out (short-form provides overview, long-form fills in many details). Makes sense to use existing government data to extent possible (CRA income data should be more reliable than self-reporting):

With just days to go before the very first release of data from the 2016 census, there is an unusual calm outside Marc Hamel’s Statistics Canada office.

A calm before the storm, perhaps.

After all, Wednesday’s release will be watched closely by federal officials, demographers and urban planners — all of whom use the data to help political leaders make myriad decisions that affect the daily lives of Canadians.

This time around, however, some of the keenest observers will be census director Hamel and his staff, watching to see if their new census data-collection methods are hitting their mark.

Statistics Canada has been quietly working on a plan for 2026 to eliminate the mandatory short-form census that goes to every household, instead using existing government databases to conduct a virtual count of the population. The plan, if successful, could mean millions in savings for federal coffers.

The closer the census numbers are to the tests being conducted by Hamel’s team, the more likely that multiple pages of the census questionnaire will be dropped during the next count in 2021, or replaced altogether one day in the future with an electronic count of the population.

This year, for instance, the agency cut two pages about income from the long-form questionnaire and replaced the questions with readily available and, arguably, more reliable Canada Revenue Agency data. Other questions, too, will eventually be replaced with information from existing administrative databases, making it easier to collect the details that comprise the census portrait.

Hamel said the challenge for his staff is to find a way to accurately reflect the Canadian population as it is at any point in time.

“The census as we run it now is very high quality, so anything that we would come up with in the future would have to be as high quality as it is today,” said Hamel.

One particular challenge for an electronic census: address information in various administrative files doesn’t always correspond to where people actually live, making it hard to be confident people are being counted in the right places.

And what about technology?

The majority of Canadians filled out their census questionnaires online, cutting down the time required to input data, and helping to speed up the release of information. Hamel said there might be other technological changes coming for future censuses, but it’s hard to predict what that might entail when census day rolls around again in 2021.

The question that guides planning for the next census and beyond is simple: will this work the same way next time?

“Four years in census terms — for me anyway — it’s short. It’s not a long time to prepare to make sure that we get it right. But at the same time, from a technological point of view, it’s fairly long,” Hamel said.

“It’s always a bit difficult to predict how technology will evolve in a short period of time and how that might have an impact on how the census might be rolled out.”

The questions on the census are also likely to change by 2021, with consultations starting this fall on what things Statistics Canada should and shouldn’t be measuring any more. One question likely to change is about sex and gender, which this year didn’t include a third option for transgender Canadians, Hamel noted.

“Society keeps evolving, so I think that from a census point of view, the census questions and questionnaire should be evolving with it.”

Source: New census technology under close watch as Statcan looks to the future | Toronto Star

Census 2016: Western provinces’ populations are the fastest-growing in Canada – The Globe and Mail

The first batch of Census 2016 results are out from the short-form with basic demographic data. Waiting for the long-form more detailed data how Canadians are doing in relation to economic and social outcomes.

Have excerpted this from the Globe analysis, showing again that population growth continues to be increasingly dependent on immigration:

census_2016__western_provinces_populations_are_the_fastest-growing_in-canada_-_the_globe_and_mail

Roughly two-thirds of the growth in population is due to migration, or the amount by which the number of new immigrants exceed the number of people who leave Canada. The other third comes from what’s known as “natural growth,” the difference between births and deaths. Some countries, such as Germany, Italy and Japan, have already seen the annual number of deaths exceed births, meaning all their growth now depends on migration. Projections show that Canada may reach the point where migration accounts for all population growth around 2050.

Source: Census 2016: Western provinces’ populations are the fastest-growing in Canada – The Globe and Mail