British Columbia

B.C. is nation's most ethnically diverse province: StatsCan

The face of Canada is changing and B.C. continues to lead the way, according to the latest census figures released by Statistics Canada.

The face of Canada is changing and B.C. continues to lead the way, according to the latest census figures released by Statistics Canada.

Overall, there are more than five million visible minorities in the country, making up more than 16 per cent of the total population.

But in B.C., 25 per cent of the population is part of a visible minority, the highest proportion in the country by province.

The 2006 census figures show Toronto is the most diverse city in the country with nearly 43 per cent of the population made up of visible minorities, but Greater Vancouver is only slightly behind, with 42 per cent, according to Jarred Dobson, an analyst with Statistics Canada.

"Vancouver is a very diverse city, there is over 200 ethnic groups reported," said Dobson.

But despite the diversity, two main groups account for around half of all visible minorities in Canada.

South Asians account for a quarter of all visible minorities in Canada, or four per cent of the total population, and those with roots in China form about another quarter of the country's visible minority population.

Both of those trends are evident in the ethnic transformation of the Lower Mainland.

"About one in five residents in the Metro Vancouver area were Chinese and basically, Vancouver has got the highest proportion of … the Chinese visible minority group among any major city in Canada," said Dobson.

The Fraser Valley community of Abbotsford has the third-highest proportion of visible minorities in Canada, at 23 per cent, boosted by a wave of recent immigrants from South Asia, who make up 72 per cent of the visible minority population there, said Dobson.

Kelowna remains one of the least diverse metropolitan areas in the nation, with a visible minority population of just five per cent.

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