Demographics of Toronto

Demographics of Toronto

The demographics of Toronto make Toronto one of the most multicultural cities in the world. Data released by Statistics Canada as part of the 2006 census indicates that Toronto is more ethnically diverse than Miami, Los Angeles, and New York City. 49.9% of Toronto's population is foreign-born.[1]

A majority of Torontonians claim their origins from as either in whole or part from England, Scotland, Ireland and Italy. There is a significant population of Afghans, Arabs, Barbadians, Bengalis, Chinese, Colombians, Dutch, Ecuadorians, Filipinos, French, Germans, Greeks, Grenadians, Guyanese, Hungarians, Indians, Iranians, Jamaicans, Jews, Koreans, Mexicans, Pakistanis, Poles, Portuguese, Romanians, Russians, Salvadorans, Somalis, Sri Lankans, Tibetans, Trinidadians, Ukrainians, Vietnamese, and Vincentians throughout the city. Neighbourhoods such as Chinatown, Corso Italia, Little India, Greektown, Koreatown, Little Jamaica, Little Portugal and Roncesvalles are examples of these large ethno-cultural populations.[2].

Christianity is the largest faith group in Toronto's census metropolitan area, with Roman Catholics comprising 33.4% of the population. The Anglican Church and United Church of Canada account for 6.9% each. Other religious groups include Islam (5.5%), Hinduism (4.1%), Judaism (3.5%), Buddhism (2.1%), and Sikhism (1.9%). 16.6% of the population claim they have no religious affiliation.[3]

While English is the predominant language spoken by Torontonians, Statistics Canada reports that other language groups are significant, including Chinese, Portuguese, Tamil, Arabic, Persian, Pashto, Urdu, Spanish, Punjabi, Somali, Gujarati and Italian. Canada's other official language, French, is spoken by 1.4% of the population.


Basic information

Municipal population
1831 3,969
1841 14,249
1851 30,775
1861 44,821
1871 59,000
1881 96,196
1891 181,215
1901 156,098
1911 376,538
1921 521,893
1931 631,207
1941 657,612
1951 675,754
1961 672,407
1971 712,786
1981 599,217
1991 635,395
2001* 2,481,494
2006* 2,503,281
*After amalgamation
City of Toronto (2006 census) 2,503,281
Toronto Census Metropolitan Area
(2006 census)
Annual Growth Rate 0.2%

Population growth studies have projected the City of Toronto's population in 2020 to reach 3,000,000, and the Greater Toronto Area would reach a population of roughly 7.5 million in 2025. Toronto's population grew by 1.0% from 2001 to 2006, with an annual growth rate of 0.2%. As of 2001, 17.5% of the population was 14 years and under, and 13.6% was 65 years and over; the median age was 36.9 years. Most recent studies show this has dropped to around 35.4 years of age, and the growth rate has increased to 0.4%.

Multicultural diversity

In 2001, 43.7% of Torontonians were foreign-born.[4]
Pie chart showing Toronto's visible minority make up (according to Canada 2006 Census).

Toronto is one of the world's most multicultural cities. In 2004, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) ranked Toronto second, behind Miami, Florida, in its list of the world's cities with the largest percentage of foreign-born population. Miami's foreign-born population is dominated by those of Cuban and Latin American descent, unlike Toronto's foreign-born population, which is not dominated by any particular ethnic group.

The 2006 census indicates 46.9% of Toronto's population is composed of visible minorities; 1,162,630 non-Whites, or 23% of Canada's visible minority population, live in Toronto; of this, approximately 70% are of Asian ancestry. Annually, almost half of all immigrants to Canada settle in the Greater Toronto Area. In March 2005, Statistics Canada projected that the combined visible minority proportion will comprise a majority in both Toronto and Vancouver by 2012.

Ethnicities in the City of Toronto (2006)
Source: Stats Canada 2006 Toronto Community Profile: Visible Minorities
Population  %
Ethnicities White / Aboriginal 1,313,930 53.1
South Asian 298,370 12.0
Chinese 283,075 11.4
Black 208,555 8.4
Filipino 102,555 4.1
Latin American 64,855 2.6
West Asian 42,755 1.7
Southeast Asian 37,495 1.5
Korean 34,220 1.4
Arab 22,485 0.9
Japanese 11,965 0.5
Multiple minorities 31,100 1.3
Other 25,195 1.0
Total population 2,476,565 100
Ethnicities in the Toronto CMA (2006)
Source: Stats Canada 2006 Toronto CMA Community Profile: Visible Minorities
Population  %
Ethnicities White / Aboriginal 2,898,005 57.1
South Asian 684,070 13.5
Chinese 486,330 9.6
Black 352,220 6.9
Filipino 171,980 3.4
Latin American 99,295 2.0
West Asian 75,475 1.5
Southeast Asian 70,215 1.4
Korean 55,265 1.1
Arab 53,430 1.1
Japanese 19,010 0.4
Multiple minorities 60,075 1.2
Other 46,705 0.9
Total population 5,072,075 100


Roman Catholics accounted for 33.4% of the population of the City of Toronto in 2001, followed by Protestants with 21.2%. The city also has Islam (6.7%), Christian Orthodox (4.9%), Hindu (4.1%), Jewish (3.5%), Buddhist (2.1%), Sikh (1%), and other communities; 16.6% reported no religious affiliation.[5]


Languages of Toronto city
Chinese Languages (Cantonese, Mandarin etc.)
Indians (Punjabi, Tamil, Gujarati etc.)
Filipino Languages
Native Americans
Other Asian Languages
Other European Languages
Other Languages

While English is the predominant language spoken by Torontonians, Statistics Canada reports that other language groups are significant including Chinese, Portuguese, and Italian. Only 1.4% of city residents claim French (Canada's other official language) as their mother tongue, and a scant few are bilingual in English and French.

Mother tongue by population

(Toronto CMA 2006)[6]

Immigration patterns

According to the Canadian government, Toronto has the highest per capita immigration rate in the world.[7] Within Canada itself, 43% of all new immigrants to Canada settle in the Greater Toronto Area adding significantly to Toronto's population.


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