Gateways to immigration in Canada, 2016 Census of Population

Release date: October 25, 2017
Infographic: Gateways to immigration in Canada, 2016 Census of Population
Description: Gateways to immigration in Canada, 2016 Census of Population

On May 10, 2016, Canada was home to 5.7 million immigrants who had settled in Canada between 1980 and 2016.

There are three main ways immigrants are admitted as permanent residents

Percentage distribution of immigrants living in Canada by admission categories
 Year of immigration Economic immigrants Immigrants sponsored by family Refugees
1980 38% 33% 28%
1981 50% 33% 17%
1982 46% 36% 18%
1983 33% 45% 21%
1984 35% 41% 23%
1985 36% 41% 22%
1986 38% 38% 24%
1987 44% 34% 21%
1988 48% 29% 21%
1989 45% 30% 24%
1990 41% 35% 23%
1991 36% 39% 24%
1992 36% 42% 20%
1993 39% 44% 15%
1994 42% 42% 15%
1995 46% 37% 16%
1996 52% 33% 15%
1997 56% 30% 13%
1998 51% 31% 16%
1999 53% 30% 17%
2000 57% 29% 14%
2001 59% 28% 13%
2002 57% 29% 13%
2003 53% 32% 14%
2004 54% 29% 15%
2005 57% 28% 13%
2006 53% 32% 13%
2007 54% 31% 13%
2008 58% 29% 11%
2009 59% 29% 11%
2010 65% 24% 10%
2011 62% 25% 11%
2012 63% 27% 9%
2013 59% 31% 9%
2014 62% 27% 10%
2015 61% 25% 13%
2016 51% 24% 24%

1. Economic immigrants

Close to 3 million immigrants were admitted under economic programs and still lived in Canada in 2016

Percentage of immigrants admitted under economic progams by period of immigration
  1980 to 1990 1991 to 2000 2001 to 2010 2011 to 2016
Provincial and territorial nominees 0% 84% 11% 27%
Business programsFootnote 1 13% 15% 7% 5%
Worker programsFootnote 2 87% 84% 81% 67%
Footnote 1

Entrepreneurs, investors, self-employed

Return to footnote 1 referrer

Footnote 2

Skilled workers, caregivers, Canadian experience class, skilled trades workers

Return to footnote 2 referrer

2. Immigrants sponsored by family

About 1.8 million immigrants were sponsored by their family since 1980 and still lived in Canada in 2016

Number of immigrants sponsored by their family since 1980
  Female Male
Sponsored spouses or partners 664,420 417,490
Sponsored parents or grandparents 275,420 207,950
Sponsored children 73,155 71,315
Other immigrants sponsored by family 41,410 31,330

3. Refugees

Close to 860,000 refugees were admitted since 1980 and still lived in Canada in 2016

Top countries of birth of refugees
Country of birth Number of refugees
2011 to 2016
Syria 26,550
Iraq 15,505
Afghanistan 6,105
Eritrea 5,125
Democratic Republic of the Congo 5,020
2001 to 2010
Colombia 25,685
Afghanistan 19,005
Iraq 14,770
China 14,555
Sri Lanka 14,160
1991 to 2000
Sri Lanka 29,920
Bosnia and Herzegovina 22,590
Poland 13,145
Iran 13,135
Afghanistan 12,155
1980 to 1990
Viet Nam 50,450
Poland 42,845
El Salvador 17,645
Cambodia 12,775
Iran 9,765

Source: Statistics Canada, 2016 Census of Population.

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