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Chinese Community In Canada – 2016 Census Findings

As multicultural marketers, we always try to find the data that can help understand the Chinese community in Canada. Starting August 2017, Statistics Canada released the 2016 Canada Census data covering language, Immigration, and ethnocultural diversity. To get insights about Chinese community, we went through all the dataset and variables including the Chinese languages as the Mother Tongues and the Language Spoken at Home, and Chinese as a Visible Minority.

The findings below are grouped into three key areas, the Chinese community as a market (population, growth potentials), languages they speak, and the income. They not only give a status check on the current situation but also provide key hints for the potential and future.

1. In Canadian diversified multi-culture market, Chinese community is the biggest in term of size and continues to grow

Visible minority as Chinese reported 1.6 million counts in 2016 Census (1,577,065), accounting for 4.6% of the total Canadian population. Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta are the top three provinces, reporting 755,545, 508,480 and 158,200 counts respectively. Chinese as Visible minority accounted for 11.2% of the total population in British Columbia, the largest proportion among the provinces and territories (Ontario: 5.7%, Alberta: 4.0%)

1.2 Million people speak Chinese languages in total. From the report Linguistic diversity and multilingualism in Canadian homes (2016 Census), Mandarin ranks 1st on the immigrant mother tongues, 610,835 people and followed by the people whose mother tongue are Cantonese (594,030).

After the year of 2000, Mandarin speakers are the main driver for Chinese community increase. The immigrants whose mother tongues are Chinese Languages remain stable since 2001. Compared to the spike driven by Cantonese speakers during 1991 to 2000, the population was largely driven by the Mandarin speakers from 2001 to 2016.

Age pyramid of Chinese shows the population is steadily growing. Based on the age pyramid data, the Chinese as a visible minority continues to grow steadily as it displays close to equal percentages across age cohorts and a larger percentage of the population in the younger age group.

2. Chinese language and culture are deep in their hearts.

Majority of Chinese are still first-generation immigration. In the data table that combines Visible Minority and Generation Status, 73% of the Chinese are the first generation, 24% of the total Chinese (as a visible minority) are the second generation.

Close to half of the Chinese speakers speak their month tongue at home. 45% of Chinese speakers only spoken Chinese at home. However, younger age group tent to speak multiple languages at home (72%).

Close to one-fifth of the Chinese speakers don’t know English or French. 19% of the Chinese speakers (Mother tongue as Chinese Languages) speak neither English nor French

3. Income indexed low, but that may not be the truth

Chinese indexed lower in total income against overall visible minority (index 81, based on average), and indexed lower than overall visible minority for the group with wages, salaries, and commissions (index 96, based on average)

However, there are some circumstances that a certain level of overseas income is not included in Canada’s census data. It’s common that some immigrate families have multiple income sources, Census data may not capture all of them. Thus, even Chinese as a visible minority index lower than the overall visible minority in charts, it may not be the case in the real world.

Data Source: Statistics Canada, 2016 Census