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Immigrants make up largest share of Canada’s population in country's history; India takes top spot

India is the leading country of birth for recent immigration to Canada, according to the country's 2021 census.

For the first time, India took the top spot as the primary place of birth of new immigrants to Canada- 18.6% of recent immigrants from 2016 to 2021 - meaning almost one in five recent immigrants were born in India, data released by Statistics Canada, in its report Portrait of Immigration to Canada, showed.

In 2021, more than 8.3 million people, or almost one-quarter (23%) of the population, were, or had ever been, a landed immigrant or permanent resident in Canada.

This is the largest immigrant share of Canada’s population since the country was founded as a country in 1867.

While in the past, majority of immigrants in Canada came from Europe, over the past 50 years, the share of new immigrants from Europe has declined, with the share of new immigrants who were born in Asia (including the Middle East) increasing.

The most popular immigration streams

Over half of recent immigrants living in Canada were admitted under the economic category. Of these 748,120 economic immigrants, just over one-third (34.5%) were selected through skilled worker programs and another one-third (33.6%) through the Provincial Nominee Program.

The proportion of immigrants who first came to Canada temporarily on work or study permits or as asylum claimants before being admitted as permanent residents was especially high among recent immigrants who settled since 2016 (36.6%).

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