Black History Month 2022... by the numbers


  • In 2016, close to 1.2 million people in Canada reported being Black.
  • In 20 years, the Black population has doubled in size, going from 573,860 persons in 1996 to 1,198,540 persons in 2016.
  • The Black population now accounts for 3.5% of Canada's total population and 15.6% of the population defined as a visible minority.
  • According to the population projections from Statistics Canada, the Black population could increase in the future and might represent between 5.0% and 5.6% of Canada's population by 2036.
  • The Black population is younger than the total population in Canada. In 2016, the median age for the Black population was 29.6 years, versus 40.7 years for the total population.
  • Children under 15 years old represented 26.6% of the Black population, and 16.9% of the total population. At the other end of the age spectrum, 7.3% of the Black population were aged 65 years and over, compared to 15.9% of the total population.



  • Discrimination or unfair treatment means treating people differently, negatively or adversely because of their race, age, religion, sex, and other characteristics. In 2020, approximately 63% of Canada’s Black population reported experiencing discrimination 5 years prior to the beginning of the pandemic or during the pandemic, nearly double the proportion of the White population (32%).
  • Black youth aged 15 to 34 were more likely to report experiencing discrimination compared to adults aged 35 and 54 and 55 and older (73%, 62% and 48%, respectively). However, the Canadian Black populations’ self-reported experiences of discrimination did not vary significantly by gender.
  • The Black population born outside Canada were significantly less likely to report discrimination or unfair treatment (57%) than Canadian-born Blacks (83%).
  • Experiencing discrimination could have adverse impacts on a number of social and psychological outcomes.
    • Approximately 62% of the Black population who did not report experiencing discrimination rated their life satisfaction as 8 or above on a 10-point scale, compared to 45% of those that reported experiencing discrimination.
    • Similarly, 42% of the Canadian Black population who experienced discrimination felt proud or very proud of Canada’s treatment of all groups in society, compared with 68% of their counterparts who did not report experiencing discrimination.
    • Furthermore, discrimination was associated with lower levels of confidence in public institutions. Compared to members of the Black population who did not report experiencing discrimination or unfair treatment, those who experienced discrimination were less likely to have a great deal or some confidence in the Federal Parliament (45% vs. 73%), the justice system and courts (46% vs. 73%), the police (42% vs. 80%), and the school system (56% vs. 79%).



  • In 2021, the employment rate of Black men aged 25 to 54 was 83.1%, compared with 86.4% for other men (excluding Indigenous men) —a difference of 3.3 percentage points.
  • The employment rate for Black women was comparable overall to that of other women (excluding Indigenous women) (67.1% and 66.1% respectively). The employment rate among Black immigrant women was 68.7% in 2021, 4.3 percentage points higher than all other immigrant women (64.4%).
  • In 2021, Black female workers were mostly concentrated in the health care and social assistance industry, as 33.8% of them had a job in this industry —11.3 percentage points more than the rest of the employed female population (22.5%). Among immigrant women, this gap was even wider, as 37.9% of Black immigrant women worked in the health care and social assistance industry, compared with 21.6% of other immigrant women.
  • In 2021, Black Canadians in the core-aged group of 25- to 54-year-olds were more likely to hold a bachelor's degree or higher (41.1%) than Canadians in the same age group who were not a visible minority and not Indigenous (34.2%).


  • Statistics Canada. Labour Force Survey Supplement, custom tabulation


  • In 2021, Black Canadians in the core age group (25 to 54 years) were more likely to hold a bachelor's degree or higher (41.1%) than people in the same age group who did not belong to a visible minority and were not Indigenous (34.2%).
  • In 2016, 71,365 Black Canadians 25 years and older had a postsecondary certificate, diploma or degree in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).
  • In 2016, almost 7 in 10 Black adults had a postsecondary diploma.
  • In 2016, although 94% of Black youth aged 15 to 25 said that they would like to get a bachelor’s degree or higher, 60% thought that they could.



  • In 2018, 52% of Black people (695,900) in Canada lived in rented dwellings, which was higher than the rate for the total population (27%, 9,749,700).
  • Among Black people who rented their dwellings, 57% (395,200) reported being satisfied (or very satisfied) with their dwelling. This was lower than the rate of satisfaction for all renters (69%, 6,681,700) in the total population.
  • Black people who lived in rented dwellings were also more likely to live in unsuitable housing (30%, 209,800) compared to the total population who lived in rented dwellings (19%, 1,808,900).


Place of birth and ethnic origin

  • Canada is the top place of birth of the Black population. In 2016, more than 4 in 10 Black people living in Canada were born in Canada.
  • Black newcomers now come from approximately 125 different countries. Jamaica and Haiti are the main countries of birth for Black immigrants in Canada. The top countries of birth for Black immigrants admitted between 2011 and 2016 were Haiti, Nigeria, Jamaica, Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
  • Overall, more than 200 ethnic or cultural origins were reported by the Black population in Canada. The 10 most frequently reported origins among the Black population were: Jamaican, African, Haitian, Canadian, English, Somali, Nigerian, French, Ethiopian and Scottish.



  • In 2016, when both single and multiple responses were considered, English was the mother tongue (defined as the language first learned at home in childhood and still understood) of 59.8% of the Black population, while French was the mother tongue of 19.6%.
  • Creole languages, Somali, Amharic and Niger-Congo languages not included elsewhere were the other top mother tongues most frequently reported. Overall, more than 100 languages were reported as a mother tongue by the Black population in the country.
  • A higher percent of people within the Black population (28.0%) speak French at home compared to the total population (23.3%).


The Census of Population provides high-quality information on key socioeconomic trends and analysis that help decision makers plan services and make informed choices that affect our families, our neighbourhoods and our businesses. Statistics Canada will start releasing 2021 Census results on February 9, 2022. To find out more, visit the census website.