Statistics Canada

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Spotlight: Black population

Black population in Canada: A portrait

Canada’s Black population is growing faster than the general population, and it is considerably younger, according to a new profile in Statistics Canada’s quarterly magazine Canadian Social Trends.

In 2001, the Black population was the third largest visible minority group in Canada, behind the Chinese and South Asian populations. According to the 2001 Census, 662,200 people identified themselves as Black, representing just over 2% of Canada’s total population and 17% of the visible minority population.

Between 1991 and 2001, the Black population increased 31%, three times the rate of growth of only 10% in the general population. The nation’s total visible minority population grew 58%.

In 2001, children aged 15 and under accounted for nearly 30% of the Black population, compared with just 19% of the total population. In addition, 17% of the Black population were aged between 15 and 24, compared with only 13% of the overall population. Only 5% of the Black population was aged 65 or over in 2001, less than half the proportion of 12% for the general population.

The vast majority of Canada’s Black population lived in urban areas in 2001. Nearly one-half of them lived in the census metropolitan area of Toronto.

Blacks represented 7% of Toronto’s total population in 2001, the highest proportion among metropolitan areas. More than half (57%) of the Blacks in Toronto were foreign-born, and of those, about three-quarters were born in the Caribbean or South and Central America, mainly Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana.

Black children more likely to live in lone-parent family

About 46% of Black children aged 14 and under lived with only one parent, compared with just 18% of other children. Canadian-born Black children were also more likely to live with a single parent than were their foreign-born counterparts.

Canadian-born Blacks were just as likely to be university-educated as all people aged 25 to 54 born in Canada. However, foreign-born Blacks were much less likely to have a university education than other foreign-born people.

Blacks, in particular those who were Canadian-born, were slightly less likely to be employed. They also had lower employment incomes and had higher unemployment rates than all people aged 25 to 54.

The average employment income for Blacks aged 25 to 54 in 2000 was $29,700, substantially lower than the $37,200 for all Canadian-born individuals in that age group.

You can read the article “Blacks in Canada: A long history” in the Spring 2004 edition of Canadian Social Trends.

For more information, contact Kelly Tran (613-951-1919), Housing, Family and Social Statistics Division.

Black population:
Quick glance

Number of Blacks in Canada:
(1871): 21,500
(1971): 34,400
(2001): 662,200

Before 1961: Africa 1%; Caribbean, Central and South America 72%

1991-2001: Africa 48%; Caribbean, Central and South America 47%

Place of residence:
Toronto 47%; Montreal 21%; Ottawa-Gatineau 6%

© 2004, Statistics Canada.