Visible minorities now the majority in 5 B.C. cities

There are now five B.C. cities and one regional district where visible minorities make up the majority of the population, according to the latest census data.

Richmond is now more than three quarters non-white and Coquitlam is just over half, census says

The latest census figures show a steady increase in the number of visible minorities in B.C.'s biggest cities. (CBC)

There are now five B.C. cities and one regional district where visible minorities make up the majority of the population, newly released census figures show.

More than three quarters of Richmond residents said they were a visible minority in response to the census last year, the highest proportion of any city in B.C.

Other cities in B.C. where visible minorities are in the majority are Burnaby, Surrey, Vancouver, Electoral Area A (which includes the University of B.C.) and for the first time in 2016, Coquitlam.

In that city, the proportion of visible minorities in the city grew to just over 50 per cent in 2016, up from 44 per cent in 2011.

Mayor Richard Stewart can't explain the demographic changes, but noted that public transit to Coquitlam has improved and the city remains relatively affordable.

"Coquitlam is seen by many as more affordable than Vancouver and Burnaby, but of course less affordable than the Fraser Valley."

The other four cities also saw growth in the visible minority population, with the exception of Vancouver, which remained constant at 52 per cent.

Elsewhere in Metro Vancouver, the proportion of visible minorities ranged from 14 per cent in Langley City to 39 per cent in New Westminster.

Outside Metro Vancouver, visible minorities typically accounted for 15 per cent of the population or less.

This compares with 30 per cent for B.C. overall and 22 per cent for Canada, according to Statistics Canada.

With files from Meera Bains