For the First Time Ever, More Than Half of People in Toronto Identify as Visible Minority

Toronto has always been regarded as one of the most – if the the most – culturally diverse cities in the world (shoutout to the BBC for the recognition).

It’s apparent when you overhear conversations on the TTC (more than 200 languages are spoken in Toronto), or get a taste of the city’s culinary offerings. Some neighbourhoods are named after countries: Little Italy, Little Portugal, Little India, Chinatown, Greektown. For all the great things Toronto has to offer, it’s this melting pot of cultures that makes the city a truly unique metropolis.

The most recent Toronto census reveals just how multicultural a city Toronto is. According to the numbers, more than half (51.5 per cent) of Toronto residents identified as belonging to a visible minority in 2016. During the last census, in 2011, 49 per cent of respondents identified as such. In Canada overall, more than 22 per cent of people identified as a visible minority in 2016 (in 1981, when the government first started collecting this data, that number was just 4.7 per cent).

Diversity in the GTA

Across the GTA, meanwhile, almost half (48.8 per cent) of residents identified as belonging to a visible minority. Six municipalities (Markham, Brampton, Richmond Hill, Mississauga, Ajax, Toronto) boast a visible minority population that actually puts them in the majority. In Markham, 79 per cent of census respondents belong to a visible minority group.

South Asians represent the largest minority group in the GTA, comprising 13 per cent of the total population, followed by Chinese at 11 per cent and those who identify as black at 9 per cent.

A multilingual population

These figures are reflected by the languages spoken in the GTA. Around 245,000 Torontonians claim Mandarin or Cantonese as their mother tongue. Tagalog, a common language in the Philippines, saw the greatest increase in speakers compared the 2016 census. Around 44% of Toronto residents say their first language is neither English or French.

Growing trend

With the Liberals’ plan to reach a population of 100 million by 2100, boosted largely by immigration, don’t be surprised to see these numbers climb in the coming years. It’s an ambitious goal, of course – without significant policy changes, Canada’s population is expected to reach around 53 million people by 2100.