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

Part A: Immigrants and Recent Immigrants

19,700 immigrants in the Québec Census Metropolitan Area

According to the 2001 Census, there were 19,700 immigrants living in the Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) of Québec (that is, the Québec Census Metropolitan Area or Québec for short) in 2001. The immigrant population in Québec has increased by 6,000 or 44% over the 15 years ending in 2001. In comparison, Québec’s Canadian-born population increased by 69,100 or 12%. The immigrant population in Canada increased by 1.5 million or 39% over the same period.

Table A-1: Immigrants, Canadian-born and total population, Québec Census Metropolitan Area, Province of Quebec, and Canada, 1986, 1996 and 2001
  Census of Population
  1986 1996 2001
Québec CMA
Immigrants 13,660 17,380 19,690
Canadian-born 582,300 644,680 651,390
Population 595,960 663,890 673,100
Province of Quebec
Immigrants 527,140 664,500 706,970
Canadian-born 5,927,360 6,339,180 6,378,420
Population 6,454,490 7,045,090 7,125,580
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
Québec CMA
Immigrants 3,720 27% 2,310 13% 6,030 44%
Canadian-born 62,380 11% 6,710 1% 69,090 12%
Population 67,930 11% 9,210 1% 77,140 13%
Province of Quebec
Immigrants 137,360 26% 42,470 6% 179,830 34%
Canadian-born 411,820 7% 39,240 1% 451,060 8%
Population 590,600 9% 80,490 1% 671,090 10%
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.

Québec’s immigrant population has increased at a somewhat more rapid pace than the immigrant population in the province of Quebec and in Canada. Between the 1996 Census and the 2001 Census, the number of immigrants in the Québec CMA increased by 2,300 or 13%. In comparison, the total number of immigrants living in the province of Quebec increased by 42,500 or 6%, and the immigrant population of Canada increased by 477,400 or 10% over the same period.

In 2001, Québec was the place of residence of 2.3% of the population of Canada, a share virtually unchanged from 2.4% in 1986, and 9.4% of the population of the province of Quebec. The city was home to 0.4% of Canada’s nearly five and one-half million immigrants, a share unchanged from fifteen years earlier.

Immigrant share increasing

The immigrant share of Québec’s population has increased from 2.3% in 1986 to 2.9% in 2001. The immigrant share of the population of the province of Quebec has increased from 8% to 10% over the same period. The proportion of immigrants in Canada has also increased, rising from 16% in 1986 to 18% in 2001. The proportion of immigrants in the population of both Québec and the province of Quebec is much lower than the proportion in the country overall.

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

Figure A-1

Just over one-quarter of immigrants landed after 1995

Fifty-seven percent of Québec’s immigrant population—11,200 people—landed in Canada during the fifteen years before the 2001 Census compared to 47% of the province of Quebec’s immigrant population and 46% of Canada’s immigrant population. Twenty-seven percent of Québec’s immigrant population landed in Canada during the five years between 1996 and 2001.

Table A-2: Immigrants by period of immigration, Québec Census Metropolitan Area, Province of Quebec and Canada, 2001 (number and percentage)
Period of immigration Québec Province of Quebec Canada
Before 1961 1,480 8% 95,250 13% 894,470 16%
 1961-1970 2,470 13% 101,560 14% 745,570 14%
 1971-1980 3,020 15% 120,730 17% 936,280 17%
 1981-1985 1,580 8% 56,120 8% 380,330 7%
Earlier immigrants 8,540 43% 373,660 53% 2,956,630 54%
 1986-1990 2,690 14% 88,410 13% 661,180 12%
 1991-1995 3,180 16% 113,250 16% 867,360 16%
 1996-2001 5,290 27% 131,660 19% 963,320 18%
Recent immigrants 11,150 57% 333,320 47% 2,491,850 46%
Total 19,690 100% 706,970 100% 5,448,490 100%

An increasing share of Québec’s immigrant population

In 2001, 0.4% of Canada’s 5.4 million immigrants were living in the Québec Census Metropolitan Area. Of the 963,300 very recent immigrants who landed in Canada during the five-year period before the census, 0.5% were living in Québec. Of the population of immigrants who landed before 1961, only 0.2% resided in Québec. Québec’s share of Canada’s immigrants is fairly constant for all immigrant cohorts across all periods of immigration.

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

Figure A-2

In 2001, 3% of the province of Quebec’s immigrants, and 4% of those who landed between 1996 and 2001 resided in Québec. Two percent of Quebec’s population of immigrants who landed before 1961 lived in the Québec Census Metropolitan Area.

Close to 11,200 recent immigrants—a small share of the population

In 2001, there were 11,200 recent immigrants (defined as those who landed in Canada after 1985) living in the Québec Census Metropolitan Area, representing 2% of the population. The share of recent immigrants in Québec’s population is lower than the share of recent immigrants in the province of Quebec and in Canada.

Table A-3: Immigrants as a percentage of the population, Québec Census Metropolitan Area, Province of Quebec and Canada, 2001
Period of immigration Québec CMA Province of Quebec Canada
 1986-1990 2,690 0.4% 88,410 1.2% 661,180 2.2%
 1991-1995 3,180 0.5% 113,250 1.6% 867,360 2.9%
 1996-2001 5,290 0.8% 131,660 1.9% 963,320 3.3%
Immigrated 1986-2001 11,150 1.7% 333,320 4.7% 2,491,850 8.5%
Immigrated before 1986 8,540 1.3% 373,650 5.3% 2,956,640 10.0%
All immigrants 19,690 2.9% 706,970 10.0% 5,448,490 18.5%

Québec’s very recent immigrants—those who became permanent residents of Canada during the 1996 to 2001 period—numbered 5,300, representing 0.8% of the population of the CMA. In Canada as a whole, very recent immigrants numbered close to one million, representing 3% of the population.

Four out of five eligible recent immigrants have become Canadian citizens

By 2001, a large majority of Québec’s immigrants who landed in Canada during the 1986-1995 period—83%—had become Canadian citizens. Recent immigrants from most countries who landed between 1986 and 1995 are becoming Canadians in high proportions, from 70% to close to 100%. Between 70% and 90% of Québec’s 1986-1995 immigrant cohort from Germany, China, Romania, El Salvador, Portugal, Haiti and Viet Nam—seven of the top ten source countries—had obtained Canadian citizenship by 2001. (See Table B-1 for the top ten countries of birth.)

A significant share of immigrants from France, the United States and Bosnia and Herzegovina are postponing or forgoing Canadian citizenship. The rate of acquisition of Canadian citizenship by persons who immigrated to Canada from these countries during the 1986-1995 period is less than 70%, the lowest being 58% for the United States.

Immigrants from these countries may want to keep open the option of returning to their country of birth or retaining the right to settle and work 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.

Table A-4: Acquisition of Canadian citizenship by country of birth, Québec Census Metropolitan Area, 2001
More than 90 percent of Quebec’s immigrants who landed in Canada during 1986-1995 and were born in these countries have become Canadian citizens: Less than 70 percent of Quebec’s immigrants who landed in Canada during 1986-1995 and were born in these countries have become Canadian citizens: More than one-quarter of Quebec’s immigrants who landed in Canada during 1986-1995 and were born in these countries have dual citizenship:
Algeria
Poland
United States
France
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Poland
Romania
Algeria
France
Morocco
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Percent of immigrants with Canadian citizenship (including those with dual citizenship) Percent of immigrants with dual citizenship
Immigrated before 1986 91% Immigrated before 1986 22%
Immigrated 1986-1995 83% Immigrated 1986-1995 23%

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, the table focuses on persons who immigrated between 1986 and 1995.

Overall, the large majority of immigrants clearly continue to opt for Canadian citizenship. Eighty-three percent of Québec’s immigrants who landed six to fifteen years before May 2001 had become Canadian citizens by that date, compared to 84% of the comparable cohort five years earlier, at the time of the 1996 Census.

Close to one-quarter of immigrants who landed during the 1986 to 1995 period had acquired Canadian citizenship while retaining the citizenship of another country. A similar share of Québec’s immigrants who landed in Canada before 1986 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 (23%) than in 1996 (26%).

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