Recent Immigrants in Metropolitan Areas: Winnipeg—A Comparative Profile Based on the 2001 Census

Part A: Immigrants and Recent Immigrants

109,400 immigrants in the Winnipeg Census Metropolitan Area

According to the 2001 Census, there were 109,400 immigrants living in the Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) of Winnipeg (that is, the Winnipeg Census Metropolitan Area or Winnipeg for short) in 2001. The immigrant population in Winnipeg has declined somewhat over the 15 years ending in 2001. Over the period 1986 to 2001, the number of immigrants living in Winnipeg decreased by 3,300 or 3%. In comparison, Winnipeg’s Canadian-born population increased by 43,900 or 9%.

Table A-1: Immigrants, Canadian-born and total population, Winnipeg Census Metropolitan Area, Manitoba and Canada, 1986, 1996 and 2001
  Census of Population
  1986 1996 2001
 Immigrants 112,680 111,690 109,390
 Canadian-born 505,120 545,300 548,980
Population 617,800 660,060 661,730
 Immigrants 142,230 135,940 133,660
 Canadian-born 907,100 960,690 965,520
Population 1,049,320 1,100,300 1,103,700
 Immigrants 3,908,150 4,971,060 5,448,490
 Canadian-born 21,113,860 23,390,330 23,991,910
Population 25,022,010 28,528,130 29,639,040
  1986-1996 1996-2001 1986-2001
 Immigrants -990 -1% -2,300 -2% -3,290 -3%
 Canadian-born 40,180 8% 3,680 1% 43,860 9%
Population 42,260 7% 1,670 0% 43,930 7%
 Immigrants -6,290 -4% -2,280 -2% -8,570 -6%
 Canadian-born 53,590 6% 4,830 1% 58,420 6%
Population 50,980 5% 3,400 0% 54,380 5%
 Immigrants 1,062,910 27% 477,430 10% 1,540,340 39%
 Canadian-born 2,276,470 11% 601,580 3% 2,878,050 14%
Population 3,506,120 14% 1,110,910 4% 4,617,030 18%

Note: In Table A-1, population totals for 1996 and 2001 include non-permanent residents as well as immigrants and the Canadian-born. Non-permanent residents are not included in Table A-1 for 1986 nor are they included in any population figures elsewhere in this report.

Winnipeg’s immigrant population has declined since 1986 and so has the immigrant population of Manitoba. To take the most recent five-year period as an example, between 1996 and 2001 the number of immigrants in both Winnipeg and Manitoba as a whole fell by 2%, respectively. In contrast, the total number of immigrants living in Canada increased by 477,400 or 10% during the same five years.

In 2001, Winnipeg was the place of residence of 2.2% of the population of Canada, slightly less than the 2.5% of 1986. The city was home to 2.0% of Canada’s five million immigrants, compared to 2.9% fifteen years earlier. Winnipeg’s share of the country’s 24 million Canadian-born persons fell to 2.3% in 2001 from 2.4% in 1986.

In 2001, Winnipeg was the place of residence of 60% of Manitoba's population, 82% of the province’s immigrants and 57% of its Canadian-born population. These shares were one to two percentage points higher than in 1986.

A stable share of the population

The immigrant share of Winnipeg’s population has remained stable at 17% since 1996. The immigrant share of the population of Manitoba has stayed at 12% since 1996. The immigrant share of Canada's population, in contrast, has increased steadily since 1986, reaching 18% in 2001. The proportion of immigrants in Winnipeg’s population is virtually the same as the proportion in the country overall.

Figure A-1: Immigrants as a percentage of the population, Winnipeg Census Metropolitan Area, Manitoba and Canada, 1986, 1996 and 2001

Figure A-1

One-third of immigrants landed after 1985

Almost two-thirds of Winnipeg’s immigrant population—69,700 people—landed in Canada prior to 1986. One-third of the immigrant population of Winnipeg—39,700 people—landed in the fifteen years before the 2001 Census. Manitoba has a similar pattern. In contrast, 46% of Canada’s immigrant population landed in Canada over the same period.

Table A-2: Immigrants by period of immigration, Winnipeg Census Metropolitan Area, Manitoba and Canada, 2001 (number and percentage)
Period of immigration Winnipeg Manitoba Canada
Before 1961 22,470 21% 29,120 22% 894,470 16%
1961-1970 15,300 14% 18,540 14% 745,570 14%
1971-1980 22,680 21% 26,630 20% 936,280 17%
1981-1985 9,240 8% 11,590 9% 380,330 7%
Earlier immigrants 69,680 64% 85,870 64% 2,956,630 54%
1986-1990 13,300 12% 15,440 12% 661,180 12%
1991-1995 12,990 12% 14,810 11% 867,360 16%
1996-2001 13,420 12% 17,540 13% 963,320 18%
Recent immigrants 39,710 36% 47,790 36% 2,491,850 46%
Total 109,390 100% 133,660 100% 5,448,490 100%

Very high share of Manitoba's immigrants live in Winnipeg

In 2001, 2.0% of Canada’s 5.4 million immigrants were living in Winnipeg. Recent immigrants to Canada were less likely to be living in Winnipeg than earlier immigrants to Canada. Of the 2.5 million immigrants who landed in Canada after 1985, 1.6% were living in Winnipeg in 2001. Of Canada’s immigrants who landed before 1961, 2.5% resided in Winnipeg.

Figure A-2: Immigrants residing in Winnipeg Census Metropolitan Area, as a percentage of Canada’s and Manitoba’s immigrant population, by period of immigration, 2001

Figure A-2

In 2001, 82% of Manitoba’s immigrants lived in Winnipeg. Of those who landed after 1995, about three-quarters resided in Winnipeg, a similar share as of those who immigrated to Manitoba prior to 1961.

Nearly forty thousand recent immigrants—6% of the Winnipeg population

In 2001, there were 39,700 recent immigrants (defined as those who landed in Canada after 1985) living in Winnipeg, representing 6% of Winnipeg’s total population. The share of the population who were recent immigrants in Manitoba was only 4%. The shares of recent immigrants in Winnipeg's and Manitoba's populations are low in comparison with the proportion of recent immigrants in Canada’s population. In 2001, post-1985 immigrants accounted for 8% of Canada’s population.

Table A-3: Immigrants as a percentage of the population, Winnipeg Census Metropolitan Area, Manitoba and Canada, 2001
Period of immigration Winnipeg Manitoba Canada
 1986-1990 13,300 2% 15,440 1% 661,180 2%
 1991-1995 12,990 2% 14,810 1% 867,360 3%
 1996-2001 13,420 2% 17,540 2% 963,320 3%
Immigrated 1986-2001 39,710 6% 47,790 4% 2,491,850 8%
Immigrated before 1986 69,680 11% 85,870 8% 2,956,640 10%
All immigrants 109,390 17% 133,660 12% 5,448,490 19%

In Winnipeg, very recent immigrants—those who came to Canada in the 1996 to 2001 period—numbered 13,400 and represented 2% of the total population of Winnipeg. In Canada as a whole, very recent immigrants numbered close to one million, representing 3% of the population.

More than four out of five eligible recent immigrants are Canadian citizens

By 2001, a large majority of Winnipeg’s immigrants who landed in Canada during the 1986-1995 period—84%—had become Canadian citizens. Immigrants who landed between 1986 and 1995 from most countries are becoming Canadians in high proportions, from 70% to close to 100%. More than 90% of immigrants who landed during the 1986-1995 period from Hong Kong, El Salvador, Viet Nam and China (among the top countries of birth for Winnipeg) had obtained Canadian citizenship by 2001. Between 70% and 90% of those from the Philippines and Poland had done the same (For the top ten countries of birth, see Table B-1).

A significant share of immigrants from Germany, the United States, Portugal, the United Kingdom and India are postponing or forgoing Canadian citizenship. The rate of acquisition of Canadian citizenship by persons who immigrated to Canada from these countries during the 1986-1995 period is less than 70%, the lowest being 53% for Germany. For Western European countries especially, the rate of naturalization has dropped significantly from levels above 80% for earlier immigrants.

Immigrants from European countries may want to keep open the option of returning to their country of birth, or retaining the right to settle in any member state of the European Union. Depending on policies in countries of birth, people may not be able to retain their original nationality if they become Canadian citizens. As well, children born in Canada while the immigrant parents are still citizens of their country of birth may be citizens of that country, but not if their parents have become Canadian citizens.

Overall, however, the rate at which recent immigrants become citizens of Canada is not declining. The large majority of immigrants clearly continue to opt for Canadian citizenship. Eighty-four percent of immigrants who landed six to fifteen years before May 2001 had become Canadian citizens by that date, compared to 82% of the comparable cohort at the time of the 1996 Census.

One in eight immigrants who landed during the 1986-1995 period had acquired Canadian citizenship while retaining the citizenship of another country. Dual citizenship was more common among recent immigrants than among earlier immigrants. Among Winnipeg’s immigrants who landed in Canada before 1986, 9% reported dual citizenship in 2001. The incidence of dual citizenship among immigrants who landed six to fifteen years before the census was lower in 2001 (12%) than in 1996 (14%).

Table A-4: Acquisition of Canadian citizenship by country of birth, Winnipeg Census Metropolitan Area, 2001
More than 90 percent of Winnipeg's immigrants who landed in Canada during 1986-1995 and were born in these countries have become Canadian citizens: Less than 70 percent of Winnipeg's immigrants who landed in Canada during 1986-1995 and were born in these countries have become Canadian citizens: More than one-quarter of Winnipeg's immigrants who landed in Canada during 1986-1995 and were born in these countries have dual citizenship:
Russian Federation
Hong Kong
Bosnia and Herzegovina
El Salvador
Viet Nam
China, People's Republic of
United States
United Kingdom
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Russian Federation
United Kingdom
Percent of immigrants with Canadian citizenship (including those with dual citizenship) Percent of immigrants with dual citizenship
Immigrated before 1986 90% Immigrated before 1986 9%
Immigrated 1986-1995 84% Immigrated 1986-1995 12%

Note: Countries of birth are listed from highest to lowest rate of Canadian citizenship in column one, lowest to highest citizenship rate in column two, and highest to lowest rate of dual citizenship in column three. Citizenship refers to a person’s legal citizenship status, as reported in the 2001 Census. In Canada, there is a residence requirement of three years before Canadian citizenship can be acquired. As a result, many immigrants who landed in Canada between 1996 and 2001 were not yet eligible for Canadian citizenship at the time the census was carried out in 2001. For this reason, this group is not considered here. Instead, focus is on persons who immigrated between 1986 and 1995.

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