Recent Immigrants in Metropolitan Areas: Halifax—A Comparative Profile Based on the 2001 Census

Part A: Immigrants and Recent Immigrants

24,400 immigrants in the Halifax Census Metropolitan Area

According to the 2001 Census, there were 24,400 immigrants living in the Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) of Halifax (that is, the Halifax Census Metropolitan Area or Halifax for short) in 2001. The immigrant population in Halifax has increased over the 15 years ending in 2001 at nearly the same pace as the Canadian-born population. Over the period of 1986 to 2001, the number of immigrants living in Halifax increased by 4,000 or 19%. In comparison, Halifax’s Canadian-born population increased by 57,000 or 21%.

A part of the change in the total and immigrant population of Halifax between 1996 and 2001 is due to a change in the boundaries of the Halifax CMA. Subdivisions F, G and H (Sable Island) and Sheet Harbour, with a combined 1996 population of 10,450 including 130 immigrants, were added to the CMA. Without this increase in area, the population of the Halifax CMA grew by 5% between 1996 and 2001 and by 18% between 1986 and 2001.

Table A-1: Immigrants, Canadian-born and total population, Halifax Census Metropolitan Area, Nova Scotia and Canada, 1986, 1996 and 2001
  Census of Population
  1986 1996 2001
Halifax
Immigrants 20,430 23,630 24,390
Canadian-born 272,640 305,150 329,610
Population 293,070 329,750 355,950
Nova Scotia
Immigrants 40,470 41,960 41,320
Canadian-born 823,690 856,400 853,660
Population 864,150 899,970 897,570
Canada
Immigrants 3,908,150 4,971,060 5,448,490
Canadian-born 21,113,860 23,390,330 23,991,910
Population 25,022,010 28,528,130 29,639,040
  Change
  1986-1996 1996-2001 1986-2001
Halifax
Immigrants 3,200 16% 760 3% 3,960 19%
Canadian-born 32,510 12% 24,460 8% 56,970 21%
Population 36,680 13% 26,200 8% 62,880 21%
Nova Scotia
Immigrants 1,490 4% -640 -2% 850 2%
Canadian-born 32,710 4% -2,740 0% 29,970 4%
Population 35,820 4% -2,400 0% 33,420 4%
Canada
Immigrants 1,062,910 27% 477,430 10% 1,540,340 39%
Canadian-born 2,276,470 11% 601,580 3% 2,878,050 14%
Population 3,506,120 14% 1,110,910 4% 4,617,030 18%

Note: In Table A-1, population totals for 1996 and 2001 include non-permanent residents as well as immigrants and the Canadian-born. Non-permanent residents are not included in Table A-1 for 1986 nor are they included in any population figures elsewhere in this report.

Halifax’s immigrant population has grown at a faster pace than the immigrant population in Nova Scotia, yet not nearly as fast as that of Canada. The immigrant population of Nova Scotia was quite stable throughout the 15 years before 2001, increasing by a mere 2%. By comparison, the total number of immigrants living in Canada increased by 39% during the same 15 years.

In 2001, Halifax was the place of residence of 1.2% of the population of Canada, the same share as in 1986, and 40% of the population of Nova Scotia. The city was home to 0.4% of Canada’s five million immigrants, compared to 0.5% fifteen years earlier.

Immigrant share of the population remaining stable

The proportion of immigrants in Halifax’s population has remained stable at 7% of the population since 1986. The immigrant share of the population of Nova Scotia, 5%, has also remained stable over the same period. This is in contrast with the increasing proportion of immigrants in Canada, which increased from 16% in 1986 to 18% in 2001. The proportion of immigrants in Halifax’s population is much lower than the proportion in the country overall.

Figure A-1: Immigrants as a percentage of the population, Halifax Census Metropolitan Area, Nova Scotia and Canada, 1986, 1996 and 2001

Figure A-1

Four in ten immigrants landed after 1985

Forty percent of Halifax’s immigrant population—9,700 people—landed in Canada in the 15 years before the 2001 Census. By comparison, 33% of Nova Scotia’s immigrant population and 46% of Canada’s immigrant population landed during the same period.

Table A-2: Immigrants by period of immigration, Halifax Census Metropolitan Area, Nova Scotia and Canada, 2001 (number and percentage)
Period of immigration Halifax Nova Scotia Canada
Before 1961 4,480 18% 9,550 23% 894,470 16%
 1961-1970 3,910 16% 7,060 17% 745,570 14%
 1971-1980 4,470 18% 8,150 20% 936,280 17%
 1981-1985 1,810 7% 2,790 7% 380,330 7%
Earlier immigrants 14,670 60% 27,550 67% 2,956,630 54%
 1986-1990 2,220 9% 3,490 8% 661,180 12%
 1991-1995 3,070 13% 4,550 11% 867,360 16%
 1996-2001 4,430 18% 5,750 14% 963,320 18%
Recent immigrants 9,720 40% 13,780 33% 2,491,850 46%
Total 24,390 100% 41,320 100% 5,448,490 100%

An increasing share of Nova Scotia’s immigrant population

Halifax’s share of immigrants in all of Canada is much the same for various periods of immigration. In 2001, 0.4% of Canada’s 5.4 million immigrants were living in Halifax.

Figure A-2: Immigrants residing in Halifax Census Metropolitan Area as a percentage of Canada’s and Nova Scotia’s immigrant population, by period of immigration, 2001

Figure A-2

On the other hand, the more recent their landing, the larger the share of Nova Scotia’s immigrants lived in Halifax. In 2001, three-quarters of Nova Scotia’s population of very recent immigrants lived in Halifax. Of Nova Scotia’s immigrants who landed before 1961, less than half lived in Halifax.

9,700 recent immigrants—a small share of the Halifax CMA population

In 2001, there were 9,700 recent immigrants (defined as those who landed in Canada after 1985) living in Halifax, representing 3% of Halifax’s total population. The share of recent immigrants in Halifax’s population is high in comparison with Nova Scotia, but low compared to Canada.

Table A-3: Immigrants as a percentage of the population, Halifax Census Metropolitan Area, Nova Scotia and Canada, 2001
Period of immigration Halifax Nova Scotia Canada
 1986-1990 2,220 0.6% 3,490 0.4% 661,180 2.2%
 1991-1995 3,070 0.9% 4,550 0.5% 867,360 2.9%
 1996-2001 4,430 1.2% 5,750 0.6% 963,320 3.3%
Immigrated 1986-2001 9,720 3% 13,780 2% 2,491,850 8%
Immigrated before 1986 14,670 4% 27,540 3% 2,956,640 10%
All immigrants 24,390 7% 41,320 5% 5,448,490 18%

In Halifax, very recent immigrants—those who came to Canada in the 1996 to 2001 period—numbered 4,400 and represented 1.2% of the total population of Halifax. In Canada as a whole, very recent immigrants numbered close to one million, representing 3% of the population.

Three out of four eligible recent immigrants have become Canadian citizens

By 2001, a large majority of Halifax’s immigrants who landed in Canada during the 1986-1995 period—77%—had become Canadian citizens. Immigrants who landed between 1986 and 1995 from most countries are becoming Canadians in high proportions, from 70% to close to 100%. More than 90% of immigrants who landed during the 1986-1995 period from Poland, China and Hong Kong (among the top countries of birth for Halifax) had obtained Canadian citizenship by 2001. Between 70% and 90% of those from Lebanon and India had done the same (For the top ten countries of birth, see Table B-1).

A significant share of immigrants from the Philippines, the United Kingdom, Viet Nam, Germany and the United States are postponing or forgoing Canadian citizenship. The rate of acquisition of Canadian citizenship by persons who immigrated to Canada from these countries between 1986 and 1995 was less than 70%, the lowest being 45% for the Philippines.

Immigrants from these countries may want to keep open the option of returning to their country of birth or, for those from Europe, retaining the right to settle in any member state of the European Union. Depending on policies in countries of birth, people may not be able to retain their original nationality if they become Canadian citizens. As well, children born in Canada while the immigrant parents are still citizens of their country of birth may be citizens of that country, but not if their parents have become Canadian citizens.

The large majority of immigrants clearly continue to opt for Canadian citizenship. Seventy-seven percent of immigrants who landed six to fifteen years before May 2001 had become Canadian citizens by that date, compared to 74% of the comparable cohort at the time of the 1996 Census.

One in eight immigrants who landed during the 1986-1995 period had acquired Canadian citizenship while retaining the citizenship of another country. Dual citizenship was less common among recent immigrants than among earlier immigrants. Among Halifax’s immigrants who landed in Canada before 1986, one in six reported dual citizenship in 2001.

The incidence of dual citizenship among immigrants who landed six to fifteen years before the census was much lower in 2001 (13%) than in 1996 (25%).

Table A-4: Acquisition of Canadian citizenship by country of birth, Halifax Census Metropolitan Area, 2001
More than 90 percent of Halifax’s immigrants who landed in Canada during 1986-1995 and were born in these countries have become Canadian citizens: Less than 70 percent of Halifax’s immigrants who landed in Canada during 1986-1995 and were born in these countries have become Canadian citizens: More than one-quarter of Halifax’s immigrants who landed in Canada during 1986-1995 and were born in these countries have dual citizenship:
Egypt
Poland
China, People’s Republic of
Hong Kong
Philippines
United Kingdom
Viet Nam
Germany
United States
Poland
United States
Percent of immigrants with Canadian citizenship (including those with dual citizenship) Percent of immigrants with dual citizenship
Immigrated before 1986 86% Immigrated before 1986 16%
Immigrated 1986-1995 77% Immigrated 1986-1995 13%

Note: Countries of birth are listed from highest to lowest rate of Canadian citizenship in column one, lowest to highest citizenship rate in column two, and highest to lowest rate of dual citizenship in column three. Citizenship refers to a person’s legal citizenship status, as reported in the 2001 Census. In Canada, there is a residence requirement of three years before Canadian citizenship can be acquired. As a result, many immigrants who landed in Canada between 1996 and 2001 were not yet eligible for Canadian citizenship at the time the census was carried out in 2001. For this reason, this group is not considered here. Instead, focus is on persons who immigrated between 1986 and 1995.

Date Modified: