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Canada's Ethnocultural Mosaic, 2006 Census: National picture

South Asians surpass Chinese as the largest visible minority group

The South Asians became Canada's largest visible minority group in 2006, surpassing Chinese for the first time. The populations of both were well over 1 million.

The census enumerated an estimated 1,262,900 individuals who identified themselves as South Asian, a growth rate of 37.7% from 917,100 individuals in 2001. They represented one-quarter (24.9%) of all visible minorities, or 4.0% of the total population in Canada.

In contrast, the number of individuals who identified themselves as Chinese increased 18.2% from 1,029,400 to 1,216,600 during this five-year period. Chinese accounted for about 24.0% of the visible minority population and 3.9% of the total Canadian population. 

The number of those identifying themselves as Black, the third largest visible minority group, rose 18.4%, from 662,200 individuals in 2001 to 783,800. They accounted for 15.5% of the visible minority population and 2.5% of the total population in 2006.

Other visible minority groups included Filipinos, who represented 8.1% of the visible minority population, Latin Americans (6.0%), Arabs (5.2%), Southeast Asians (4.7%), West Asians (3.1%), Koreans (2.8%) and Japanese (1.6%). Combined, these groups made up nearly one-third (31.6%) of the visible minority population and 5.1% of the total population in 2006.

There was also a small proportion (4.0%) of individuals who reported that they belonged to more than one visible minority group or other visible minorities such as Pacific Islanders.

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