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Immigration in Canada: A Portrait of the Foreign-born Population, 2006 Census: Portraits of major metropolitan centres

Montréal: The third-largest foreign-born population

The census metropolitan area (CMA) of Montréal was home to the third-largest foreign-born population in Canada. According to the 2006 Census, Montréal has 740,400 foreign-born residents, accounting for 12% of the country's total foreign-born population. Montréal trailed only Toronto (37.5%) and Vancouver (13.4%).

In the Montréal CMA, the foreign-born population is growing faster than the Canadian-born population. Between the 2001 and 2006 censuses, Montréal's foreign-born population increased by 19%, nine times the growth rate of Montréal's Canadian-born population (2.1%).

Montréal: Second-leading gateway for recent immigrants

After Toronto, Montréal was the census metropolitan area (CMA) that received the second-largest number of newcomers between 2001 and 2006. Of the 1.1 million recent immigrants to Canada, 40.4% chose to settle in Toronto, compared with 14.9% in Montréal and 13.7% in Vancouver.

In fact, Montréal's share of recent immigration to Canada (14.9%) is greater than its share of Canada's total population (11.5%).

According to 2006 Census data, the Montréal CMA was home to 165,300 recent immigrants, the highest number in the last 25 years. In the recent past, the population of new immigrants was relatively smaller in Montréal. For example, there were 70,100 recent immigrants according to the 1981 Census, compared with 134,500 in 1996 and 114,300 in 2001.

In proportional terms, recent immigrants made up 22.3% of Montréal's immigrants and 4.6% of Montréal's total population in 2006.

About two-thirds (64.6%) of the Montréal CMA's newcomers were between the ages of 25 and 54, compared with 43.3% of its Canadian-born residents. Recent immigrants made up 6.5% of the working-age population in Montréal.

According to the 2006 Census, of the 526,200 children aged 5 to 16 in the Montréal CMA, one in 10 was born in another country, and one in 20 immigrated to Canada between 2001 and 2006.

Of the 28,000 recent school-age immigrants in the Montréal CMA, half usually spoke a language other than English or French at home, and a third spoke French most often at home.

Montréal's recent immigrants tend to come from francophone countries

New immigrants who settle in the Montréal CMA come from every part of the world, especially francophone countries.

As was the case for several cities across Canada in 2006, Asia (including the Middle East) was the leading source of recent immigrants for Montréal. On the other hand, while most newcomers to Toronto and Vancouver were from Asia (69.8% and 78.2% respectively), only one-third (31%) of the new immigrants living in Montréal were from that part of the world.

Among immigrants born in Asia and the Middle East, the most commonly reported countries of birth were the People's Republic of China (16,200), Lebanon (5,300) and Pakistan (4,300). In 2006, People's Republic of China topped the list of birthplaces of recent immigrants to Montréal for the first time, with 9.8%.

The Montréal CMA was home to 60% of all newcomers to Canada with French as their only mother tongue. Moreover, six of the 10 leading birthplaces of new immigrants to Montréal are countries where French is spoken: Algeria (8.7%), Morocco (7.6%), Romania (7.2%), France (6.3%), Haiti (5.2%) and Lebanon (3.2%).

More African-born recent immigrants settled in Montréal than in other census metropolitan areas. Of all the African-born immigrants who arrived in Canada between 2001 and 2006, 37% decided to live in the Montréal metropolitan area, while 22.1% chose Toronto and 4.1% Vancouver.

According to the 2006 Census, African immigrants made up more than one-quarter (26%) of Montréal's newcomers, which made Africa the second-largest source of recent immigration to Montréal.

Montréal is a preferred destination for certain groups of immigrants from Africa. For example, of the 16,200 Algerian-born newcomers living in Canada in 2006, 88.6% were in Montréal. The Montréal area was also home to a large proportion of recent immigrants from Morocco (85%), Tunisia (77.3%), Guinea (69.1%), Côte d'Ivoire (66.2%) and Cameroon (66.1%).

There are still European immigrants in Montréal, though the leading sources of immigration are different from those of previous decades. In 1981, recent immigrants to Montréal were primarily from Western Europe (France and United Kingdom) and southern Europe (Italy and Greece).

In 2006, France was still a major country of birth among immigrants to Montréal, accounting for more than 10,400 newcomers between 2001 and 2006. However, increasing numbers of recent immigrants are from East European countries such as Romania (12,000) and Bulgaria (2,900).

Overall, European immigrants made up 22.5% of Montréal's total recent immigrant population in 2006.

The other major source of recent immigration to Montréal was from the Americas. In 2006, one in five newcomers were born there, up from 16.7% in 2001. The leading sources of recent immigration from that region were Haiti, Colombia, Mexico and the United States.

Most recent immigrants live in the City of Montréal

In 2006, three-quarters (76.3%, or 126,200 individuals) of the recent immigrants to Montréal census metropolitan area (CMA) were living in the City of Montréal. The city was also home to two-thirds (66.2%) of the Montréal CMA's foreign-born population and 38.1% of the Montréal CMA's Canadian-born population. In comparison, the cities of Vancouver and Toronto had a much smaller proportion of their respective CMA's new-immigrant population: 28.7% for Vancouver and 59.8% for Toronto.

New immigrants living in the City of Montréal came from about 100 different countries around the world. The top five birthplaces were the People's Republic of China (10.3%), Algeria (10.3%), Morocco (8.5%), Romania (6.2%) and France (5.8%).

While three-quarters (75.2%) of the recent immigrants had a mother tongue other than English or French, most of them (94.4%) reported that they were able to carry on a conversation in English or French.

A growing number of immigrants settled in Montréal's surrounding municipalities

According to 2006 Census data, the other municipalities with more than 1% of the new-immigrant population of the Montréal CMA were Laval (5.4%), Longueuil (4.7%), Brossard (2.3%), Côte-Saint-Luc (1.4%) and Dollard-des-Ormeaux (1.2%). 

Together, those five municipalities attracted 15% of all the Montréal CMA's recent immigrants in 2006, up from 11.2% in 2001. Laval and Longueuil had the largest increases.

Laval was the second-largest municipality in the Montréal CMA in terms of population. Its foreign-born population rose from 52,500 in 2001 to 73,600 in 2006, or 40.1%, much faster than the foreign-born population of Montréal (14.2%) or the Canadian-born population of Laval (1.5%).

Laval also attracted twice as many new immigrants. In 2001, 4,200 immigrants who arrived between 1996 and 2001 had settled in Laval, while in 2006, there were 8,900 immigrants who arrived in Canada between 2001 and 2006.
Laval's newcomers were from various parts of the globe. The leading birthplaces were Romania, Haiti, Lebanon, Morocco and Colombia.

Longueuil was home to 28,800 foreign-born people in 2006, an increase of 8,500 from 2001. Between the two censuses, Longueuil's foreign-born population grew by 41.8%, while its Canadian-born population dropped by 3%.

The number of recent immigrants in Longueuil also more than doubled, rising from 3,100 in 2001 to 7,800 in 2006.

The five leading countries of birth of newcomers were Romania, the People's Republic of China, Algeria, Morocco and Colombia.

Côte-Saint-Luc: Montréal's municipality with the largest proportion of foreign-born

Of the 1.6 million people living in the City of Montréal, 490,200 — 30.8% of its population — were born in another country.

Only four municipalities in the Montréal CMA had a higher proportion of foreign-born population than the City of Montréal. The municipality of Côte-Saint-Luc led with nearly half (45.4%) of its population born in other countries, followed by the municipalities of Dollard-des-Ormeaux (37.1%), Mont-Royal (34.9%) and Brossard (33.4%).

Montréal CMA. Recent immigrant population in 1981 to 2006 censuses by 2006 Census Tracts (CTs)

Montréal CMA. Recent immigrants as a percentage of total population by 2006 Census Tracts (CTs): Map 1 of 2

Montréal CMA. Recent immigrants as a percentage of total population by 2006 Census Tracts (CTs): Map 2 of 2

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