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Immigration in Canada: A Portrait of the Foreign-born Population, 2006 Census: Driver of population growth

Proportion of Canada's foreign-born population second to Australia

Among the Western countries that were also major immigrant-receiving countries, the proportion of the foreign-born population in Canada was exceeded in one other country: Australia. According to the Census conducted in 2006 by the Australia Bureau of Statistics, 22.2% of Australia's population was foreign-born, unchanged from 1996.

However, the proportion of Canada's foreign-born population was much higher than that of the United States of America. According to the American Community Survey in 2006, the foreign‑born represented 12.5% of the U.S. population.

Australia and the United States also saw increases in immigration during the first five years of the new millennium.

Canada has been the country of choice for many immigrants. Asked about their immigration decision, virtually all newcomers (98%) in the Longitudinal Survey of Immigrants to Canada reported that they did not have any other country in mind when they put in their application to come to Canada. They also reported positive impressions of their move to the country. Asked why they came to Canada, the largest proportion of them cited improving the future for their family and reuniting with family and close friends.1

Asked four years later why they planned to stay in Canada permanently, these newcomers most frequently cited the quality of life here and the positive future prospects for their family.2


  1. Statistics Canada, 2003, Longitudinal Survey of Immigrants to Canada: Process, Progress and Prospects, Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 89-611.
  2. Statistics Canada, 2007, Canadian Social Trends. Statistics Canada, Catalogue no. 11-008. Special edition.

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