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Carried out on the initiative of Canadian Heritage, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada and Citizenship and Immigration Canada, the projections presented in this document are primarily intended to describe the evolution of the ethnocultural diversity of the Canadian population from 2006 to 2031. The results show that regardless of the scenario of future change considered, the ethnocultural diversity of the population will continue to increase significantly over the next two decades, especially within certain census metropolitan areas. Three Canadians in ten could be a member of a visible minority group in 2031, and the corresponding proportion in the Toronto and Vancouver Census metropolitan areas (CMAs) could be two times greater.

The projections also shed light on the process by which ethnocultural diversity is increasing. While the face of the foreign-born Canadian population was already diversified in 2006, the projections also show that this diversity is likely to increase rapidly within the Canadian-born population, notably within the so-called second generation, composed of the children of immigrants. And finally, regardless of future levels and diversity of immigration to Canada, the ethnocultural diversity will grow as a result of the fertility of immigrants already settled in Canada and the transmission of some of their characteristics to their Canadian-born children.

The projections have a number of limitations that should be kept in mind. These projections are in no case an attempt to predict the future, but are instead based on a number of assumptions and scenarios regarding future change that were carefully developed and selected for their plausibility and utility. The databases used, while producing high quality parameters subject to little sampling variability, do have some limitations with respect to the coverage of the target populations and the variables that they make available for analysis. Despite these limitations, the projections presented in this document are a useful and relevant tool for estimating future demographic changes in support of program and policy development.

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