Ethnic Origin and Visible Minorities
This factsheet looks at data on ethnic origin and visible minorities from the 2006 Census released by Statistics Canada.
Ontarians Reported More Than 200 Ethnic Origins
- Ethnic origin refers to the ethnic or cultural origins of the Census respondent’s ancestors.
- In the 2006 Census, English was the largest ethnic origin in Ontario. Around 3 million people reported English as their only ethnic origin or in combination with other origins. Of these individuals, more than 1 in 5 (639,830) reported English as their only origin, while the rest (2.3 million) reported it in combination with other origins.
- Canadian was the second largest ethnic origin, reported by 2.8 million Ontarians. Most individuals who reported Canadian had English or French as a mother tongue and were born in Canada.
- Other most reported ethnic origins in Ontario were Scottish (2.1 million), Irish (2 million), French (1.4 million), German (1.1 million), Italian (867,980), Chinese (644,465), East Indian (573,250) and Dutch (490,995).
Over Half of Canada's Visible Minorities Live in Ontario
- The 2006 Census enumerated an estimated 2.7 million Ontarians that identified themselves as a member of the visible minority population.
- These individuals comprised 22.8% of Ontario’s total population; represented more than half of Canada’s total visible minorities (5.1 million); and, 2.2 million live in the Toronto Census Metropolitan Area (CMA).
- Between 2001 and 2006, Ontario’s visible minority population increased more than four times faster than the population as a whole (27.5% vs. 6.6%). Ontario’s 242,495 people who self-identified as aboriginal are not counted as part of the visible minority population.
South Asian was the Largest Visible Minority
- South Asians remained the largest visible minority group in Ontario in 2006. Its population of 794,170 accounted for 28.9% of all visible minorities in the province.
- The 2006 Census counted more than half a million (576,980) Ontarians who reported they were Chinese, Ontario’s second largest visible minority group. They accounted for 21% of all visible minorities. Blacks were the third largest minority group (473,760 or 17.3%).
Visible Minorities in Ontario's CMAs
- In 2006, nearly all (98.1%) of Ontario’s visible minorities lived in Census Metropolitan Areas (CMAs). They comprised 28.4% of the province’s total CMA population.
- The Toronto CMA was home to 2.2 million visible minorities which accounted for 42.9% of its population. This represented 79.2% or nearly 4 in 5 of Ontario’s total visible minorities (2.7 million).
- Ottawa-Gatineau (Ontario part) had the second highest proportion (19.4%) of visible minorities among all the 15 CMAs of the province.
- Windsor ranked third in the proportion of visible minorities (16%), followed by Kitchener (13.8%) and Guelph (12.7%).
South Asians, Chinese and Blacks: Toronto CMA's Largest Visible Minorities
- South Asians, Chinese and Blacks were the three largest visible minorities in Toronto. The 2006 Census counted 684,070 South Asians, 486,325 Chinese and 352,220 Blacks.
- South Asians in Toronto represented 31.5% (or nearly a third) of all visible minorities in the CMA and 13.5% of the total population. They accounted for 86.1% of all South Asians in Ontario
- The Chinese made up 22.4% of Toronto’s visible minorities and 9.6% of the total population, while Blacks made up 16.2% of the CMA’s visible minorities and 6.9% of the total population.
Markham and Brampton had the Highest Proportion of Visible Minorities Among CSDs (Municipalities)
- The town of Markham had the highest proportion of visible minorities in Canada. They accounted for 65.4% of its population, of which over half (52.4%) were Chinese and over a quarter (26.4%) were South Asian.
- In Brampton, visible minorities represented 57% of the population, the second highest among Ontario’s Census Subdivisions (CSDs). South Asians comprised more than half (55.6%) of the visible minorities.
- Nearly half (49%) of Mississauga’s population were identified as visible minorities, of which 41.3% were South Asians.
Contact Paul Lewis (416) 325-0821 / Victor Caballero (416) 325-0825.
Office of Economic Policy
Labour and Demographic Analysis Branch