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More than half of Canada’s Black population calls Ontario home

February 28, 2022, 2:00 p.m. (EST)
Profile image of a Black man and woman, with a dark background.

The vast majority of Canada’s Black population lives in large urban areas. In 2016, 94.3% of Black people lived in a census metropolitan area (CMA), compared with 71.2% of the country’s total population.

With over 200 ethnic and cultural origins reported, more than half (52.4%) of the total Black population in Canada called Ontario home.

The province’s capital had the largest Black population in the country in 2016. In fact, 442,015 people  (36.9% of Canada’s Black population) reported living in Toronto. Black people represented 7.5% of the city’s total population, the highest proportion among CMAs. Montréal (6.8%) and Ottawa–Gatineau (6.0%) had the second- and third-highest proportions.

Although close to half of the province’s Black population was born in Canada, Black immigrants in Ontario came from 150 different countries. About one-half were born in the Caribbean, with Jamaica (33.9%) as the leading source country. Jamaican was also the most frequently reported origin of those born in Canada. Nigeria, Trinidad and Tobago, Somalia, Ghana, and Ethiopia were the five other most frequently reported countries for Black immigrants.

Ontario had the largest Black population. Nonetheless, the fastest growing Black population in Canada was in the Prairies, where it more than quadrupled in size over 20 years, from 39,955 in 1996 to 174,655 in 2016.

There are more than 170 different places of birth for Black immigrants in Canada, and the source regions of immigration continue to grow and change over time.

Statistics Canada will be releasing ethnocultural data from the 2021 Census in October.

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