Muslims fastest growing religious community in Canada

Muslims fastest growing religious community in Canada
Ummah Masjd and Community Centre, Halifax, Nova Scotia
Ummah Masjd and Community Centre – Halifax, Nova Scotia

(May 8, 2013) – Muslims are the fastest growing religious community in Canada, according to the National Household Survey released Wednesday by the country’s statistical agency, Statistics Canada.

Canada’s Muslim population increased by 82 per cent over the past decade – from about 579,000 in 2001 to more than 1 million in 2011,

The new survey of almost three million people showed that Muslims now represent 3.2% of Canada’s total population, up from 2.0% recorded in the 2001 Census.

“Polling has shown that Canadian Muslims are proud to be Canadian, more so than the average Canadian,” said Ihsaan Gardee, Executive Director of the Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations. “Canadian Muslims very much want to integrate and be part and parcel of the society.”

Two-thirds of the country’s 1 million Muslims lived in the three largest metropolitan areas combined – Toronto, Montréal and Vancouver.

Toronto had the largest population of Muslims, at just over 424,900. Montréal had just over 221,000 and Vancouver about 73,200.

The median age of Canada’s Muslim population was 28.9 years of age compared to 47.4 years for the total immigrant population and 37.3 for those who were born in Canada.

Among Muslim immigrants who came to Canada between 2006 and 2011, the largest share came from Pakistan.

Two-thirds affiliated with Christian faith

According to the survey, the largest religion in Canada was Christianity with just over two-thirds (67.3%) of the respondents reporting that they were affiliated with a Christian religion.

Consistent with changing immigration patterns, there were growing proportions of the population who reported religious affiliations other than Christian.

These religions included Muslim, Hindu, Sikh and Buddhist.

About 7.2% of Canada’s population, reported affiliation with one of these religions. This was up from 4.9% a decade earlier, as recorded in the 2001 Census.

The data also showed that roughly 329,500 people identified themselves as Jewish, 1.0% of the population.

Nearly one-quarter of the population (23.9%), had no religious affiliation. This was up from 16.5% a decade earlier, as recorded in the 2001 Census.

Highly diverse country

The face of Canada has also changed significantly over the past two decades and the country has become one of the most diverse countries in the world.

Canada now has the highest foreign-born population of all the G8 countries, with 6.8 million foreign-born residents, or 20.6 per cent of the population, compared to 19.8 per cent in 2006.

The country has 200 ethnic groups and 100 religions. 

About 6.3 million people — 19 per cent of Canada’s population — count themselves a member of visible minority group.

The three largest visible minority groups — South Asians, Chinese and Blacks — accounted for 61.3% of the visible minority population.

They were followed by Filipinos, Latin Americans, Arabs, Southeast Asians, West Asians, Koreans and Japanese.

In addition, the National Household Survey found that Canada’s aboriginal population was young and growing fast.

1.4 million people reported an aboriginal identity in 2011, up 20 per cent from 2006, compared to a 5.2 per cent increase in the non-aboriginal population.

Aboriginals now comprise 4.3 per cent of the country’s population, up from 2.8 per cent in 1996.

Statistics Canada produces statistics that help Canadians better understand their country—its population, resources, economy, society and culture.