Introduction to the Ethnocultural Statistics
In Canada, more than 200 languages and as many ethnic origins were reported in the 2011 Census (Chui & Flanders, 2013). Language data related to the cultural diversity can be examined using ethnocultural variables that we briefly present in this section. In this regard, several data sources exist. Some of these sources include the Census of Population (1901-2006/2016), National Household Survey (2011), the Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS; 2015), the General Social Survey-Social Identity (SI; 2013), the Longitudinal Immigration Database (IMDB; 1980-2013), the Aboriginal Peoples Survey (1991-2012; APS), Aboriginal Children`s Survey (ACS; 2006), the Longitudinal Survey of Immigrants to Canada (LSIC; 2001-2005), and the Ethnic Diversity Survey (EDS; 2002).
For a complete list of ethnocultural surveys, including population estimates and projections, please see Table 2.4 for Ethnic Diversity and Immigration in the document Your Guide to Data Sources on Census Program Topics (Statistics Canada, 2013).
Users wishing to find information on ethnocultural charactersitics, immigration, and population diversity from a language policy perspective are strongly advised to first become familiar with the specific concepts and variables used at Statistics Canada. Below, we provide the brief sketches for each of those variables as well as language-relevant data tables. For more information please refer to the appropriate topic guide in the Reference Documents Section of this tab.
Ethnocultural Variables and Data Tables
Immigrant status refers to whether the respondent is a non-immigrant, an immigrant or a non-permanent resident.
Specifically, non-immigrant refers to a person who is a Canadian citizen by birth. Whereas Immigrant refers to a person who is or has ever been a landed immigrant or permanent resident. Lastly, non-permanent resident refers to a person from another country who has a work or study permit or who is a refugee claimant, and any non-Canadian-born family member living in Canada with them (NHS Dictionary, 2011).
Immigrants are not a homogeneous group. Some immigrants have resided in Canada for a number of years, while others have arrived recently. Some immigrants are Canadian citizens, while others are not. Most immigrants are born outside Canada, but a small number are born in Canada. In the 2011 National Household Survey, the group of Immigrants includes those who landed in Canada prior to May 10, 2011.
- Immigrant Category (16) World Area (8) Knowledge of Official Languages (6) Education Qualifications (6) Income Type (6) Statistics (4) and Sex (3) for Canada [1981-2013] (Cat. CANSIM table 054-0002)
Generation status refers to whether or not the person or the person's parents were born in Canada. It identifies persons as being first generation, second generation or third generation or more. (NHS Dictionary, 2011: 30). The academic literature also identifies ‘generation 1.5’, that is, those who came to Canada as children.
Within the generation status variable, the three main categories are defined as follows. First generation includes persons who were born outside Canada. For the most part, these are people who are now, or have ever been, immigrants to Canada. Second generation includes persons who were born in Canada and had at least one parent born outside Canada. For the most part, these are the children of immigrants. Third generation or more includes persons who were born in Canada with both parents born in Canada. (NHS Dictionary, 2011)
Ethnic Origin refers to the ethnic or cultural origins of the respondent’s ancestors, where an ancestor is someone more distant than a grandparent. Other than Aboriginal persons, most people can trace their origins to their ancestors who first came to this continent. A person may have only a single ethnic origin, or may have multiple ethnicities. There are over 200 ethnic origins reported in the 2011 NHS survey. (Ethnic Origin Reference Guide, 2011)
- Ethnic Origin (264) Single and Multiple Ethnic Origin Reponses (3) Generation Status (4) Age Groups (10) and Sex (3) for Canada, Provinces and Territories, and Metropolitan areas. (Cat. 99-010-x2011028)
- Ethnic Origin (101) Age Groups (10) Sex (3) Selected Demographic, Cultural, Labour Force, Educational, and Income Characteristics (327) [including Mother Tongue, Home Language, Knowledge of Official Languages, Language of Work] for Canada, Provinces and Territories, and Metropolitan areas. (Cat. 99-010-X2011036)
Visible minority refers to whether a person belongs to a visible minority group as defined by the Employment Equity Act. The Employment Equity Act defines visible minorities as 'persons, other than Aboriginal peoples, who are non-Caucasian in race or non-white in colour.' The visible minority population consists mainly of the following groups: South Asian, Chinese, Black, Filipino, Latin American, Arab, Southeast Asian, West Asian, Korean and Japanese. (NHS Dictionary, 2011)
- Visible Minority (15) Generation Status (4) Age Groups (10) and Sex (3) for Canada, Provinces, Territories, and Metropolitan areas.
- Visible Minority (15) Age Groups (10) Sex (3) and Selected Demographic, Cultural, Labour Force, Educational and Income Characteristics (315) [including Mother Tongue, Home Language, Knowledge of Official Languages, and Language of Work] for Canada, Provinces, Territories, Metropolitan areas.
Religion refers to the person's self-identification as having a connection or affiliation with any religious denomination, group, body, sect, cult or other religiously defined community or system of belief. Religion is not limited to formal membership in a religious organization or group. Persons without a religious connection or affiliation can self-identify as atheist, agnostic or humanist, or can provide another applicable response. Some examples include: Roman Catholic, United Church, Anglican, Baptist, Lutheran, Muslim, Presbyterian, Pentecostal, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, Sikh, Greek Orthodox, etc. (NHS Dictionary, 2011: 48). The 2011 NHS identifies 108 different religions.
- Religion (108) Immigrant Status and Period of Immigration (11) Age Groups (10) and Sex (3) for Canada, Provinces and Territories, and Metropolitan areas. (Cat. 99-010-X2011032)
- Religion (19) Age Groups (10) Sex (3) Selected Demographic, Cultural, Labour Force, and Educational Characteristics (268) [including Mother Tongue, Home Language, Knowledge of Official Languages, and Language of Work] for Canada, Provinces, Territories, Metropolitan areas.
Aboriginal identity refers to whether the person reported being an Aboriginal person, that is, First Nations (North American Indian), Métis or Inuk (Inuit) and/or being a Registered or Treaty Indian (that is, registered under the Indian Act of Canada) and/or being a member of a First Nation or Indian band. Aboriginal peoples of Canada are defined in the Constitution Act, 1982, section 35 (2) as including the Indian, Inuit and Métis peoples of Canada. (NHS Dictionary, 2011: 19) (Aboriginal Peoples Technical Report, 2014: 11)
- Aboriginal identity (8) Age Groups (20) Area of Residence: Inuit Nunangat (7) and Sex (3) for Canada, Provinces and Territories, Metropolitan areas (Cat. 99-011-X2011027)
- Detailed Knowledge of Aboriginal Languages (79) Knowledge of Languages: Single and Multiple Language Responses (3) Aboriginal Identity (8) Registered or Treaty Indian Status (3) Aboriginal Mother Tongue (11) Area of Residence: On Reserve (3) Age Groups (8) for Canada, Provinces and Territories (Cat. 99-011-X2011030)
- Knowledge of Inuit Languages (10) Knowledge of Languages: Single and Multiple Language Responses (3) Aboriginal Identity (8) Mother Tongue – Detailed Inuit Languages (15) Area of Residence: Inuit Nunangat (7) Age Groups (8) for Canada, Provinces and Territories (Cat. 99-011-X2011031)
Place of Birth
Place of birth refers to the name of the province, territory or country in which the person was born. It may refer to a province or territory if the person was born in Canada. It refers to a country if the person was born outside Canada.
The geographic location is specified according to boundaries current at the time the data are collected, not the boundaries at the time of birth. For example, respondents born in an area which, at the time of their birth, was part of the Northwest Territories but which is now part of the territory of Nunavut were asked to write 'Nunavut'; respondents born in an area which, at the time of their birth, was part of the USSR but which is now part of Kazakhstan were asked to write 'Kazakhstan'. (NHS Dictionary, 2011: 45). This variable can be used to calculate the foreign-born and Canadian-born population. To see how this is done please see the figure below taken from the NHS Dictionary, 2011.
Foreign Born Population
Place of Birth (236) Citizenship (5) Immigrant Status and Period of Immigration (11) Age Groups (10) and Sex (3) for Canada, Provinces and Territories, Metropolitan areas (Cat. 99-010-X2011026)
Citizenship refers to the legal citizenship status of a person. Citizenship can be by birth or naturalization. A person may have more than one citizenship. A person may be stateless, that is, they may have no citizenship. Canadian by naturalization refers to the process by which an immigrant is granted citizenship in Canada under the Citizenship Act (NHS Dictionary, 2011)
Process of Determining Canadian Citizenship
Countries of Citizenship (178), Single and Multiple Responses for Citzenship (3), Immigrant Status (4) and Sex (3) for Canada, Provinces and Territories, Metropolitan Areas (Cat. 99-010-X2011035)
- Bernard, A. (2008) Immigrants in the hinterlands. Perspectives on Labour and Income.
- Bonikowska, A., and Hou, F. (2016) Educational and Labour Market outcomes of Childhood Immigrants by Admission Class. Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series. (Cat. 11F0019M No.377)
- Chui, T., and Flanders, J. (2013) Immigration and Ethnocultural Diversity in Canada. NHS in Brief, Statistics Canada.
- Corbeil, J.P. and , R. (2010) Statistical portrait of French-speaking immigrant population outside Quebec (1991-2006) Statistics Canada . (Cat. 86-641-X)
- Derrick, T. (2009) Immigrants in Canada who work in a language other than English and French. Canadian Social Trends.
- Derrick, T. (2009) The impact of working in a non-official language on the occupations and earnings of immigrants in Canada. Canadian Social Trends.
- Dobson, J., Maheux, H., and Chui, T. (2013) Generation status: Canadian-born children of immigrants. NHS in Brief, Statistics Canada.
- Houle, R., (2011) Recent evolution of immigrant-language transmission in Canada. Canadian Social Trends.
- Maheux, H. (2014) Mixed unions in Canada. NHS in Brief, Statistics Canada.
- Maheux, H., and Flanders, J. (2013) Obtaining Canadian citizenship. NHS in Brief, Statistics Canada.
- McMullen, K. (2006) Literacy skills among Canada’s immigrant population . Education Matters: Insights on Education, Learning and Training in Canada.
- Myles, J., and Hou, F. (2003) Neighbourhood attainment and residential segregation among Toronto’s visible minorities. Business and Labour Market Analysis Division.
- Ng, E., Pottie, K., and Spitzer, D. (2011) Official Language Proficiency and self-reported health among immigrants to Canada. Health Reports
- Statistics Canada (2016) A Statistics Canada Minute-Immigration and Diversity ([Video] Cat. 11-629-X)