Major Ethnic Groups of Canada

Many residents of this multicultural country consider themselves to be distinctly Canadian. Canada is a multicultural country with a total population of around 35 million, or around 0.5% of the world’s population. The most populous province is Ontario, with 13 million people, followed by Quebec, with 8 million, and British Columbia, with 4.6 million. The largest city in Canada is Toronto, followed by Montreal. Most people living in Canada self-identify as “Canadian”. However, Canada is one of the most multicultural countries in the world, and responses to ethnic origin surveys are incredibly diverse. The following is a list of the ethnicities that the largest number of Canadians self-identify as. All numbers are pulled from the 2016 Census.

Major Ethnic Groups of Canada
Major Ethnic Groups of Canada

Canadians – 32.32%

Although all Canadians are considered Canadians, many Canadians believe that this phrase better depicts their ethnicity. Canadians are the most numerous ethnic groups in Canada. Indigenous peoples (Inuit, Metis, and First Nations) resided in Canada before Europeans arrived. By the late 1850s, Canada had received a large number of immigrants from England, France, Scotland, Ireland, Germany, Italy, and China. People of many ethnic origins can identify as “Canadian.”

English – 18.34%

People of English origin, sometimes known as Anglo-Canadians, are Canada’s second biggest self-identified ethnicity. The English Canadians’ history begins with colonists in Newfoundland in the 16th century. Due to the relaxation of immigration regulations across Commonwealth countries, immigration from England is still common today.

Scottish – 13.93%

Scottish is the third most popular ethnicity with which Canadians identify. Nova Scotia, which translates to “New Scotland” from Latin, was called after the Scottish influence. Universities with Scottish roots in Canada include Dalhousie University in Halifax, McGill University in Quebec, and Queens University.

French – 13.55%

French is the second most often mentioned ethnic background in Canada, behind Scottish. Their presence in Canada dates back to the 18th century, when the French colonised portions of North America. Quebec has the greatest number of French Canadians. French Canadians are Canadians who speak French, though some are of French ancestry but do not speak the language. The majority of Quebeckers speak French as their first language.

Irish – 13.43%

Irish history in Canada dates back to 1536 when anglers from Cork arrived in Newfoundland. The Irish Canadians have been divided in two based on their beliefs, and these include the Roman Catholic and the Protestant Irish.

German – 9.64%

Another prevalent ethnic background for Canadians is German. Toronto has the most German-speaking Canadians, followed by Vancouver. Two Canadian schools where German is the predominant language are Alexander von Humboldt School Montréal and German International School Toronto.

Italian – 4.61%

Italian Canadians are another common ethnic group within Canada. Most major cities in Canada, including Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver, have prominent Italian communities whose populations grew throughout the mid-20th century.

First Nations – 4.43%

A total of 1,525,565 Canadians, or 4.43% of the overall population, identify as First Nations. First Nations are a community of indigenous Canadians who lived in what is now Canada prior to European settlement. There are 634 distinct First Nations bands recognized in Canada, from coast to coast.

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What are the Major Ethnic Groups of Canada?

Most people living in Canada self-identify as “Canadian”. However, the most common responses to ethnicity are English, French, Irish, and Scottish.

Ethnic Groups And Nationalities Of Canada

Ethnic Group Percentage of Population Self-Identifying (%)
Canadian 32.3
English 18.3
Scottish 13.9
French 13.6
Irish 13.4
German 9.6
Chinese 5.1
Italian 4.6
First Nations 4.4
Indian 4.0
Ukrainian 4.0
Dutch 3.2
Polish 3.2
Filipino 2.4
Other British Isles 1.9
Russian 1.8
Metis 1.7
Portuguese 1.4
Welsh 1.4
Norwegian 1.3

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