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

Part A: Immigrants and Recent Immigrants

154,700 immigrants in the Hamilton Census Metropolitan Area

According to the 2001 Census, there were 154,700 immigrants living in the Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) of Hamilton (that is, the Hamilton Census Metropolitan Area or Hamilton for short) in 2001. The immigrant population in Hamilton has increased substantially over the 15 years ending in 2001, though less than the Canadian-born population. Over the period of 1986 to 2001, the number of immigrants living in Hamilton increased by 20,200 or 15%. In comparison, Hamilton’s Canadian-born population increased by 77,700 or 19%. Immigrants accounted for one-fifth of Hamilton’s total population growth between 1986 and 2001.

Table A-1: Immigrants, Canadian-born and total population, Hamilton Census Metropolitan Area, Ontario and Canada, 1986, 1996 and 2001
  Census of Population
  1986 1996 2001
Hamilton
Immigrants 134,480 145,650 154,660
Canadian-born 417,080 469,290 494,830
Population 551,560 617,810 655,060
Ontario
Immigrants 2,081,200 2,724,490 3,030,080
Canadian-born 6,919,980 7,844,370 8,164,860
Population 9,001,170 10,642,800 11,285,550
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
Hamilton
Immigrants 11,170 8% 9,010 6% 20,180 15%
Canadian-born 52,210 13% 25,540 5% 77,750 19%
Population 66,250 12% 37,250 6% 103,500 19%
Ontario
Immigrants 643,290 31% 305,590 11% 948,880 46%
Canadian-born 924,390 13% 320,490 4% 1,244,880 18%
Population 1,641,630 18% 642,750 6% 2,284,380 25%
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.

Hamilton’s immigrant population has grown at a slower pace than the immigrant population in Ontario and Canada. To take the most recent five-year period as an example, between 1996 and 2001 the number of immigrants in Hamilton increased by 9,000, or 6%. By comparison, the total number of immigrants living in Canada increased by 477,400 or 10% during the same five years.

In 2001, Hamilton was the place of residence of 2.2% of the population of Canada, the same as in 1986. As well, Hamilton was home to 2.8% of Canada’s five million immigrants, a somewhat smaller share than the 3.4% of fifteen years earlier. Hamilton’s share of the country’s 24 million Canadian-born persons was 2.1% in 2001, slightly more than the 2.0% of 1986.

In 2001, Hamilton’s share of Ontario’s population was 5.8%, down slightly from 6.1% fifteen years earlier, its share of the province’s immigrants dropped to 5.1% from 6.5% in 1986, and its share of the province’s Canadian-born population, as in 1986, was 6.0%.

A stable share of the population

The proportion of Hamilton’s population comprised of immigrants has remained stable since 1986 at 24%. The proportion of immigrants in Ontario and Canada has increased over the same period. The proportion of immigrants in Hamilton remains above that of Canada but below that of Ontario.

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

Figure A-1

One-third of immigrants landed after 1985

Many of Hamilton’s immigrants have lived in Canada for a long time. Two-thirds of the 154,700 immigrants living in Hamilton in 2001 landed in Canada more than 15 years earlier. When compared to the immigrant population living in Ontario and in all of Canada, a low proportion of recent immigrants distinguishes Hamilton’s immigrant population. Only 33% of Hamilton’s immigrants landed in Canada after 1985. In Ontario, 46% of immigrants landed after 1985 and for Canada the share is also 46%. Moreover, only 12% of immigrants living in Hamilton in 2001 landed after 1995, compared with 18% in both Ontario and Canada.

Table A-2: Immigrants by period of immigration, Hamilton Census Metropolitan Area, Ontario and Canada, 2001 (number and percentage)
Period of immigration Hamilton Ontario Canada
Before 1961 41,370 27% 502,740 17% 894,470 16%
1961-1970 30,410 20% 427,790 14% 745,570 14%
1971-1980 23,770 15% 496,680 16% 936,280 17%
1981-1985 7,990 5% 194,400 6% 380,330 7%
Earlier immigrants 103,540 67% 1,621,610 54% 2,956,630 54%
1986-1990 15,580 10% 386,100 13% 661,180 12%
1991-1995 16,860 11% 483,640 16% 867,360 16%
1996-2001 18,690 12% 538,740 18% 963,320 18%
Recent immigrants 51,130 33% 1,408,470 46% 2,491,850 46%
Total 154,660 100% 3,030,080 100% 5,448,490 100%

A decreasing share of Ontario’s and Canada’s immigrants

In 2001, 2.8% of Canada’s 5.4 million immigrants were living in Hamilton. Hamilton’s share of Canada’s immigrants varies according to the period of immigration. It has a larger share of immigrants who landed before the 1960s, 4.6%, and its share has been declining steadily to reach 1.9% for very recently landed immigrants.

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

Figure A-2

In 2001, 5% of Ontario’s immigrants lived in Hamilton. Hamilton’s share has decreased from 8.2% of those who immigrated before 1961 to 3.5% of very recent immigrants living in Ontario.

51,100 recent immigrants —8% of the Hamilton CMA population

In 2001, there were 51,100 recent immigrants (defined as those who landed in Canada after 1985) living in Hamilton, representing 8% of Hamilton’s total population. The share of recent immigrants in Hamilton’s population is the same as the proportion of immigrants in the national population but lower than the share of recent immigrants in Ontario, which stands at 13%.

Table A-3: Immigrants as a percentage of the population, Hamilton Census Metropolitan Area, Ontario and Canada, 2001
Period of immigration Hamilton Ontario Canada
1986-1990 15,580 2% 386,100 3% 661,180 2%
1991-1995 16,860 3% 483,640 4% 867,360 3%
1996-2001 18,690 3% 538,740 5% 963,320 3%
Immigrated 1986-2001 51,130 8% 1,408,470 13% 2,491,850 8%
Immigrated before 1986 103,530 16% 1,621,610 14% 2,956,640 10%
All immigrants 154,660 24% 3,030,080 27% 5,448,490 19%

In Hamilton, very recent immigrants—those who came to Canada in the 1996 to 2001 period—numbered 18,700 and represented 3% of the total population of Hamilton. In Canada as a whole, very recent immigrants numbered close to one million, also representing 3% of the population.

Four out of five eligible recent immigrants have become Canadian citizens

By 2001, a large majority of Hamilton’s immigrants who landed in Canada during the 1986-1995 period—80%—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 Viet Nam and Croatia (among the top countries of birth for Hamilton) had obtained Canadian citizenship by 2001. Between 70% and 90% of those from Poland, the Philippines, India, Portugal, Yugoslavia and Iraq had done the same (For the top ten countries of birth, see Table B-1).

A significant share of immigrants from Western Europe, the United Kingdom 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 during the 1980s is less than 70%, the lowest being 37% for immigrants from the Netherlands. For Western European countries especially, the rate of naturalization has dropped significantly from levels above 80% for earlier immigrants.

Immigrants from these countries may want to keep open the option of returning to their country of birth or 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.

Overall, the rate at which recent immigrants become citizens of Canada is not changing. The large majority of immigrants clearly continue to opt for Canadian citizenship. Eighty percent of immigrants who landed six to fifteen years before May 2001 had become Canadian citizens by that date, compared to 79% of the comparable cohort at the time of the 1996 Census.

Fifteen percent of immigrants who landed during the 1986-1995 period had acquired Canadian citizenship while retaining the citizenship of another country. Dual citizenship was more common among recent immigrants than among earlier immigrants. Among Hamilton’s immigrants who landed in Canada before 1986, 9% reported dual citizenship in 2001. The incidence of dual citizenship among immigrants who landed six to fifteen years before the census was lower in 2001 (15%) than in 1996 (20%).

Table A-4: Acquisition of Canadian citizenship by country of birth, Hamilton Census Metropolitan Area, 2001
More than 90 per cent of Hamilton’s immigrants who landed in Canada during 1986-1995 and were born in these countries have become Canadian citizens: Less than 70 per cent of Hamilton’s immigrants who landed in Canada during 1986-1995 and were born in these countries have become Canadian citizens: More than one-quarter of Hamilton’s immigrants who landed in Canada during 1986-1995 and were born in these countries have dual citizenship:
Laos
Cambodia
Greece
Afghanistan
Lebanon
Ukraine
China
Hong Kong
Kenya
Chile
Romania
Ghana
Pakistan
Viet Nam
Croatia
Taiwan
Netherlands
Ireland
United States
Mexico
South Africa
United Kingdom
Germany
South Korea
Trinidad and Tobago
Italy
Taiwan
Egypt
Lebanon
Poland
Romania
Percent of immigrants with Canadian citizenship (including those with dual citizenship) Percent of immigrants with dual citizenship
Immigrated before 1986 90% Immigrated before 1986 9%
Immigrated 1986-1995 80% Immigrated 1986-1995 15%

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: