Hamilton-Burlington immigration not keeping pace with Ontario: StatsCan

The rate of immigrants coming to Hamilton has not kept up with a growth in immigrants coming to Ontario, 2016 census data shows.

New census data also shows growth in Indigenous population, updates housing affordability rates

As the percentage of households in which English is not the primary language declines, Hamilton's immigration numbers still seem to be far below the provincial average. (Adina Bresge/The Canadian Press)

The share of immigrants in Hamilton remained steady at nearly one-quarter of the population, according to 2016 census figures released Wednesday.

But Hamilton's immigrant proportion has not kept up with a growth in immigrants coming to Ontario, according to an analysis of the census numbers by the Social Planning and Research Council of Hamilton (SPRC). 

The foreign-born population in Hamilton, Burlington and Grimsby measured 24.1 per cent of the total population, or 177,075 people. The share of immigrants to total population in the Hamilton census area has been relatively steady over the last several censuses. 

While Hamilton's immigrant population has stayed steady, Ontario's has grown from 26 per cent of the population in 1996 to 29 per cent in 2016, SPRC found.

About 10 per cent of the immigrants reported in the 2016 census have come to Hamilton in the last five years.

Between 2011 and 2016, 17,420 people who reported in the census that they were born in another country moved to Hamilton, Burlington or Grimsby.

The same numbers showed the share of immigrants in Canada reached its highest level in almost a century.

The census figures show 21.9 per cent of Canadians report being or having been an immigrant or permanent resident, nearly matching the high of 22.3 per cent in 1921 and up from 19.8 per cent in 2006. The number was slightly higher than 21.9 per cent in 1931 too.

The latest data set from the 2016 census released Wednesday focuses on the population related to immigration, ethnocultural diversity, housing and Indigenous people.

Housing costs and homeownership

Hamilton's homeownership rate has declined slightly to 70.4 per cent of households that own their home, from 71.4 per cent in 2011 and 71.7 per cent in 2006. The share of renter households has grown in that same time.

Hamilton's home ownership rate was higher than the national and Ontario averages. The national home ownership rate in 2016 was 67.8 per cent. In Ontario, 69.7 per cent of households owned their home. 

One in four Hamilton households spends more than 30 per cent of its income on housing costs. In Toronto, one-third of households spend higher than that threshold for a place to live.

Hamilton's 25.2 per cent of households paying more than 30 per cent was higher than the national average. Across Canada, the proportion of households paying more than 30 per cent for housing costs was 24.1 per cent in 2016. 

In Hamilton, the burden of unaffordability is carried much more heavily by renters than homeowners.

The proportion of tenant households paying more than 30 per cent of their income on housing costs was 45.2 per cent. For homeowners, it was 16.8 per cent.

Indigenous population

The census counted more Indigenous people living in Hamilton in 2016 than in 2011.

In 2016, 14,440 people living in the Hamilton area said they were Indigenous, accounting for nearly 2 per cent of the population.

That's up from 2011, when 11,980 people represented 1.7 per cent of the population. 

Across the country, the Indigenous population growth is continuing to rapidly outpace the growth of the rest of the country.

The census counted 1.67 million Indigenous people in Canada in 2016, accounting for 4.9 per cent of the total population — up from 3.8 per cent in 2006 for a growth rate of 42.5 per cent over the last 10 years, four times the rate of the non-Indigenous population.

With files from Éric Grenier, Jorge Barrera, Canadian Press