This came up in chat where it was claimed that about 20% of Canadians are not born in the country itself, is that true?

20% of Canadians were not born in Canada


1 Answer 1


In 2006 the number was very close to this:

  • "The census enumerated 6,186,950 foreign-born in Canada in 2006. They represented virtually one in five (19.8%) of the total population, the highest proportion since 1931, when 22.2% of the population was foreign-born. In 2001, the foreign-born represented 18.4% of the population."

The full details of this information is available from Statistics Canada, which is an official federal department of the Canadian Government:

  Immigration in Canada: A Portrait of the Foreign-born Population, 2006 Census:
  Immigration: Driver of population growth
  Proportion of foreign-born highest in 75 years

The Canadian Government conducts a "Census" regularly, which Canadians are required by law to answer fully and truthfully. The information is assumed to be accurate, and the questionnaire is short and easy to understand (I'm Canadian, and I just filled one out recently after receiving it in the mail). That information I just quoted is based on official Census data.

  • 6
    Although this is a good answer, it technically doesn't quite match the statement as written: "20% of Canadians were not born in Canada." It would be more correct to say "20% of residents of Canada were not born in Canada." That census page states that the majority (85.1%) of the foreign-born who were eligible for Canadian citizenship in 2006 had become naturalized. So the real percentage of Canadians not born in Canada is somewhat less than 17% (not sure how many of those foreign born enumerated in the census aren't yet citizens because they weren't eligible…)
    – ghoppe
    Jun 8, 2011 at 8:45
  • 3
    @ghoppe: Good point (+1), but might you be overlooking the fact that there are some (I'm not sure how many) Canadian-born Canadian citizens whose primary residence is outside of Canada? Jun 8, 2011 at 16:36

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