Asian Heritage Month 2022... by the numbers


  • In 2016, Asian countries accounted for 7 of the top 10 countries of birth of recent immigrants: the Philippines, India, China, Iran, Pakistan, Syria and South Korea.
  • Almost half of the immigrant population in Canada was born in Asia. In 2016, 48.1% of all immigrants were born in Asia (including the Middle East).
  • Asia has remained the top source continent for immigrants in recent years. From 2017 to 2019, 63.5% of newcomers to Canada were born in Asia (including the Middle East).
  • This is a slightly higher proportion than that observed from 2011 to 2016, when 61.8% of newcomers to Canada were born in Asia.
  • According to Statistics Canada population projections, by 2036, immigrants born in Asia could represent between 55.7% and 57.9% of all immigrants.


Ethnic and cultural origins

  • Immigrants from each immigration wave from Asia, as well as their Canadian-born descendants, have contributed to the ethnocultural diversity of the country's population.
  • In 2016, a total of 6,095,235 people in Canada reported having Asian origins, representing 17.7% of Canada's population.
  • Of the 20 most commonly reported ethnic and cultural origins in the Canadian population, three were Asian: Chinese (close to 1.8 million people), East Indian (approximately 1.4 million) and Filipino (837,130).


Groups designated as visible minorities

  • The population designated as visible minorities is made up of a number of groups that are, in themselves, diverse in many respects (e.g., place of birth, ethnic or cultural origins, languages, religion).
  • In 2016, the South Asian and Chinese groups were the two largest visible minority groups in Canada, each with a population exceeding 1 million.
  • Filipinos were the fourth-largest visible minority group. Similar to the Arab population, the number of Filipinos almost doubled in 10 years, and they had the highest growth rates among visible minority groups from 2006 to 2016.


Fighting anti-Asian discrimination

  • During the pandemic, the relative risk of ethnic or racial discrimination increased most among Asian groups. In the first year of the pandemic, the Chinese population was 10 times more likely to report being a victim of ethnic or racial discrimination than the population not designated as a visible minority.
  • Between 2019 and 2020, the number of police-reported crimes motivated by hatred of a race or ethnicity increased 80%, from 884 to 1,594. The East or Southeast Asian population and the South Asian population were among the population groups impacted by this increase.
  • Specifically, the number of police-reported hate crimes against the East or Southeast Asian population increased significantly from 67 incidents in 2019 to 269 incidents in 2020 (+301%).
  • Similarly, the number of police-reported hate crimes targeting the South Asian population increased from 81 in 2019 to 119 in 2020 (+47%).
  • In contrast, police reported a slight decrease in incidents targeting the Arab or West Asian population, from 125 in 2019 to 123 in 2020.


Contributions of Asian Canadians

  • Some groups are more likely to be represented among nurse aides, orderlies and patient service associates than others. For example, 11% of all workers were Filipino and 4% were South Asian.
  • In January 2021, 20% of employed Filipino Canadians worked in the health care and social assistance industry, compared with 14% of all workers.
  • Children of immigrant parents from Asian regions (East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, West Central Asia and the Middle East) are more likely to obtain a postsecondary certificate, diploma or degree than children of third- (or higher) generation immigrants.
  • Second-generation Asian Canadians have very high levels of education. For example, 72.6% of second-generation Chinese women had completed a university degree in 2016, compared with an average of 45.9% for all second-generation women.


Employment and income

  • In 2020, the poverty rate of those who belonged to visible minority groups was higher (8.0%) than that of those who did not (5.8%). Given the diversity of visible minority groups, the rate varied.
  • In 2020, the poverty rates for the three largest visible minority groups in Canada were higher than the national average: South Asian (7.5%); Chinese (9.6%); and, Black (7.5%). A notable difference was Filipino, with a poverty rate below the national average, at 3.6%, in 2020.
  • In March 2022, the employment rate for Filipino aged 25 to 54 years old was 88.3%, the highest among all visible minority groups. It was also higher than the rate for non–visible minority Canadians in the same age group, which was at 84.8%.
  • Among the different population groups, Filipinos (4.2%), Koreans (4.3%) and Southeast Asian (4.5%) had among the lowest unemployment rates in the population aged 25 to 54 in March 2022.


Note to the reader

Some of the data in this document are from the 2016 Census. However, the 2021 Census releases will occur throughout 2022 to include more recent statistics on these groups. Please consult our Census release schedule.

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