Canada's Black population: Growing in number and diversity

Release date: February 6, 2019
Canada's Black population: Growing in number and diversity
Canada's Black population: Growing in number and diversity

Canada's Black population: Growing in number and diversity

In 2016, the Black population reached close to 1.2 million, representing 3.5% of the total Canadian population.

Black population in Canada
  Black population % of Canada's population
1996 573,860 2.0
2001 662,210 2.2
2006 783,800 2.5
2011 945,665 2.9
2016 1,198,540 3.5

Canada's Black population doubled in size between 1996 and 2016.

In 2016, 26.6% of the Black population was less than 15 years of age, compared to 16.9% of the total Canadian population.

Similar to the total Canadian population, there were slightly more Black women (51.6%) than Black men.

Ontario was home to more than half (52.4%) of the Black population in Canada

Black population by geography
Geography Black population
Newfoundland and Labrador 2,350
Prince Edward Island 825
Nova Scotia 21,910
New Brunswick 6,995
Quebec 319,230
Ontario 627,710
Manitoba 30,340
Saskatchewan 14,925
Alberta 129,390
British Columbia 43,505
Territories 1,350

More than 4 in 10 Black people were born in Canada

  • First generation (Persons who were born outside Canada): 56.4%
  • Second generation (Persons who were born in Canada and had at least one parent born outside Canada): 35.0%
  • Third generation or more (Persons who were born in Canada with both parents born in Canada): 8.6%

In Nova Scotia, 71.8% of the Black population was third generation or more.

The source regions of Black immigrants changed over time

Source regions of Black immigrants
  Before 1981 1981 to 1990 1991 to 2000 2001 to 2010 2011 to 2016
percentage
Caribbean and Bermuda 83.3 64.0 46.6 29.0 27.3
Rest of the Americas 6.7 5.4 3.9 4.6 3.5
Europe 5.1 2.4 2.0 2.8 3.4
Africa 4.8 27.7 46.8 62.7 65.1
Asia and Oceania 0.1 0.5 0.6 0.9 0.8

The majority of Black immigrants who came to Canada before 1981 were born in Jamaica and Haiti.

Top birth countries of Black newcomers (2011 to 2016): Haiti, Nigeria, Jamaica, Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Sources: Statistics Canada, Census of Population, 1996, 2001, 2006 and 2016; 2011 National Household Survey.

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