This factsheet looks at immigration and citizenship information released by
Statistics Canada as part of the 2011 National Household Survey (NHS)1.
Proportion of Foreign-born Highest in Ontario
- The 2011 National Household Survey estimated
3,611,365 foreign-born individuals in Ontario,
representing 28.5% of total population, the highest
proportion among the provinces. (British Columbia was
second highest at 27.6%.) In 1961, foreign-born
individuals accounted for 21.7% of Ontario’s population.
- Ontario accounted for 53.3% of Canada’s foreign-born
population (6.8 million) in 2011.
- Between 2006 and 2011, Ontario’s foreign-born
population increased by 6.3%, slightly faster than the
Canadian-born population which grew by 4.6%.
- Ontario continued to attract a significant share (43.1%) of
the 1.2 million newcomers who arrived to Canada during
the 2006-2011 period, albeit down from 52.3% during
- According to the National Household Survey, 501,060
immigrants arrived in Ontario between January 1, 2006
and May 10, 2011. These recent newcomers made up
13.9% of the foreign-born population, and 4.0% of total
Recent Immigrants Mainly from Asia
- Asia (including the Middle East) remained Ontario’s
largest source of immigrants. Between 2006 and 2011,
63.1% of newcomers arrived from the region, down from
64.6% during the 2001-2006 period.
- Newcomers born in Europe made up the second largest
group at 12.0% of recent immigrants, down from 14.6%
during the previous five-year period.
- There was an increase in the combined share of
immigration from Africa, Caribbean, Central and South
America during the past five years (20.4% in 2011
versus 18.2% in 2006).
- India was the leading source country of newcomers from
Asia to Ontario between 2006 and 2011 at 13.4% of
recent immigrants, followed by China (10.8%) and the
- The leading countries of newcomers from Europe were
the United Kingdom and the Russian Federation.
Toronto is Canada’s Major Immigrant Gateway
- The NHS survey estimated 2,537,410 foreign-born
individuals in Toronto CMA in 2011, the largest number
of any census metropolitan area in the country. These
individuals comprised 70.3% of Ontario’s and 37.4% of
Canada’s overall immigrant populations.
- Between 2006 and 2011, the foreign-born population
grew by 9.4% in Toronto Census Metropolitan Area
(CMA), compared to 8.1% for the Canadian-born
- Toronto’s foreign-born population accounted for 46.0% of
its total population in 2011, unchanged from 2006 and
still the highest share among CMAs in Canada.
Vancouver came in second at 40.0%.
More Than Three-Quarters of New Immigrants to Ontario Settled in the Toronto CMA
- Of the 501,060 foreign-born people who immigrated to
Ontario between 2006 and 2011, an estimated 381,745,
or 76.2% chose to settle in the Toronto CMA. These
recent immigrants made up 6.9% of Toronto's total
population in 2011.
- The top two source countries for recent immigrants to
Toronto were India and China. Combined, these two
countries accounted for nearly three out of every ten
newcomers to the Toronto CMA.
- Between 2006 and 2011, immigrants from India
outnumbered the immigrants from China settling in
Toronto. About 59,670 immigrants or 15.6% of all
newcomers settling in the Toronto CMA were from India.
An additional 46,255 newcomers, or 12.1% of the total,
arrived from China.
High Share of Foreign-born in Municipalities Surrounding the City of Toronto
- The City of Toronto (or Toronto CSD) was home to the
largest number of foreign-born people in 2011 among
Ontario municipalities. However, other municipalities
surrounding the city have higher shares of foreign-born.
- In Markham, more than half (57.9%) of residents in 2011
were born outside Canada, the highest proportion in
Ontario and up from 56.5% in 2006.
- The other Ontario municipalities with high shares of
foreign-born were Richmond Hill (54.9%), Mississauga
(52.9%), Brampton (50.6%) and Toronto (48.6%).
- Among these municipalities, only Toronto recorded a
decline in the share of foreign-born in total population,
from 50.0% in 2006 to 48.6% in 2011.
1 Comparability between the 2006 Census and the 2011 NHS estimates:
When comparing estimates over time, two key differences should be
considered: 1. The NHS is a voluntary survey and may be subject to
potentially higher non-response error than the 2006 Census. 2. The two
sources represent different populations ̶ the 2006 Census includes
residents in collective dwellings and persons living abroad, while the NHS
excludes these groups.
Contact: Edisa Kozo(416) 326-7062
Office of Economic Policy
Labour and Demographic Analysis Branch