Demographics of Vancouver

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The Demographics of Vancouver concern population growth and structure for Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Figures given here are for the Greater Vancouver Regional District, however, not for the City of Vancouver proper.

Population growth[edit]

The following table shows the development of the number of inhabitants according to census data of Statistics Canada. The former municipalities of Point Grey and South Vancouver are not included in the data prior to 1931.[1] NB Vancouver did not exist as such at the time of the 1881 and 1871 censuses.

Population growth.[2]
Year Pop. ±%
1891 13,709 —    
1901 26,133 +90.6%
1911 100,401 +284.2%
1921 117,217 +16.7%
1931 246,593 +110.4%
1941 275,353 +11.7%
1951 344,833 +25.2%
1956 365,844 +6.1%
1961 384,522 +5.1%
1966 410,375 +6.7%
1971 426,256 +3.9%
1976 410,188 −3.8%
1981 414,281 +1.0%
1986 431,147 +4.1%
1991 471,644 +9.4%
1996 514,008 +9.0%
2001 545,671 +6.2%
2006 578,041 +5.9%
2011 603,502 +4.4%
Metro Vancouver
Year Pop. ±%
1891 21,887 —    
1901 42,926 +96.1%
1911 164,020 +282.1%
1921 232,597 +41.8%
1931 347,709 +49.5%
1941 393,898 +13.3%
1951 562,462 +42.8%
1961 790,741 +40.6%
1971 1,028,334 +30.0%
1981 1,169,831 +13.8%
1991 1,602,590 +37.0%
1996 1,831,665 +14.3%
2001 1,986,965 +8.5%
2006 2,116,581 +6.5%
2011 2,313,328 +9.3%


The 2011 Metro Vancouver Homeless Count revealed that there were at least 2,650 people found to be homeless in Metro Vancouver.[3] This particular homeless count is and continues to be conducted once every three years, taking place over a brief 24-hour period. The report published on these results stated, “It is important to note that all Homeless Counts are inherently undercounts and that the 2011 Metro Vancouver Count was no exception."[3] Nonetheless, these counts can be used as indicators to determine homelessness trends within Metro Vancouver. Between 2002 and 2005, “the count revealed that homelessness in the region nearly doubled from 1121 to 2174 persons."[4] From 2005 to 2008, the count revealed a much smaller increase in homelessness, from 2174 to 2660 persons. Thus, it should be noted that the count conducted in 2011 implies that the homeless population has remained relatively stable between 2008 and 2011.

Of the homeless people surveyed in 2011, “71% were sheltered in either an emergency shelter, safe house, transition house or temporary facility such as a hospital, jail or detoxification center…while 29% slept in outdoor locations or at someone else’s place."[3] 74 of the 2,650 homeless persons counted were children – those under the age of 19 – who accompanied a parent who was also homeless. Furthermore, of the homeless youth surveyed, 102 individuals were under the age of 19, 221 between the ages of 19-24, and 74 whose ages could not be identified, for a total of 397 homeless. Adults constituted the largest cohort of homeless in Metro Vancouver with 275 individuals between the ages of 25-34, 328 between the ages of 35-44, and 397 between the ages of 45-54, for a total of 1,000 homeless. Lastly, seniors – those above the age of 55 – constituted 268 homeless people. Of the 2,650 people identified in the count, ages for 985 people could not be provided.

Homelessness doesn’t occur suddenly, rather it is a progression wherein an individual becomes part of the group of ‘at risk’ individuals, remains in this group for some time, and then, finally, becomes homeless due to economic hardships and social dislocation.[5] “Contemporary definitions split homelessness into two broad groups: ‘absolute’ homelessness, which refers to persons or households literally without physical shelter, and ‘relative’ homelessness, which includes a range of housing situations characterized as being at-risk of homelessness."[4] Indeed being classified as at-risk of homelessness does not imply that an individual or household will become homeless in the future, only that various pre-conditions exist that may lead to this.[6] These pre-conditions include, but are not restricted to the following: people living in SROs (Single Room Occupancy), people living in rooming houses, and people paying more than 50% of their net income towards housing costs.[5] “Two-thirds of responses from homeless individuals enumerated in a recent homeless count in Greater Vancouver cited economic reasons for their being homeless – with lack of income and cost of housing accounting for 44% and 22% of responses respectively."[6]

Housing affordability has and continues to be the top priority housing issue Vancouverites must resolve. In 1996, a study published by BC Housing revealed that 25% of renter households in Vancouver pay 50% or more of their incomes to rent.[5] The core housing need model, developed by the CMHC, uses a threshold of households spending at least 30% of their income on shelter costs to illuminate households experiencing acute housing affordability needs. “Moving from the 30% shelter cost-to-income ratio (STIR) used in the core housing need model, to a 50% threshold, typically reduces the number of households identified by more than half."[4] In 2001, Statistics Canada published a study using both the 30% and 50% thresholds to identify renters and homeowners facing unaffordable housing costs in Metro Vancouver. This study revealed that 8.1% of homeowners and 27.8% of renters exceeded the 30% threshold, while 4.0% of homeowners and 10.8% of renters exceeded the 50% threshold. More in depth still, this study also found that 18.5% of immigrants living in Vancouver exceeded the 30% threshold and 8.0% exceed the 50% threshold. Only 11.3% and 4.8% of Canadian born households exceeded the 30% and 50% thresholds, respectively.

Heather Smith and David Ley found that in Canada's gateway cities, “the appreciable growth of the low-income population during the 1990s was almost entirely attributable to the growing poverty of recent immigrants."[7] They go on to state, “adult immigrants who had landed in the previous decade endured a poverty rate of…37 percent in Vancouver."[7] Immigrants, recent and old, therefore constitute a large proportion of households in Metro Vancouver considered to be at-risk of homelessness. Analysis conducted by Robert Fiedler revealed that, in 2001, “29.1% of persons in households…in Greater Vancouver are below more than one CMHC housing standard, indicating that…some households not only must spend an unsustainably high proportion of their income on shelter costs, but must also live in overcrowded and/or substandard conditions to access housing."[6] Although many new immigrants to Canada come from educated backgrounds, many having bachelor's degrees, they are paid less on average than Canadian born individuals and “Over the past 25 years, the incomes of recent immigrants to Canada have progressively declined relative to the native-born."[8]

Recently, the City of Vancouver released a new strategy targeting homelessness and affordable housing. The strategy will be enacted in 2012 and will run until 2021, with the goal of ending street homelessness completely by 2015, as well as increasing affordable housing choices for all Vancouverites. The City of Vancouver indicates that from 2002 to 2011, “homelessness has increased nearly three-fold” from approximately 628 homeless in 2002, to 1,605 homeless in 2011.[9] The strategy goes on to report that SRO rooms are increasingly being lost to conversions and rent increases even though SRO hotels constitute a majority of Vancouver’s lowest income housing stock. As Robert Fiedler noted in 2006, “renters are disproportionately located in the City of Vancouver, which contains only 27.8% of the area’s total population, but 40.2% of all renters."[6] Furthermore, low vacancy rates in Vancouver’s market rental stock, a decreasing new supply of apartments in recent decades, and a widening gap of household incomes and housing prices are just a few challenges that must be overcome. By 2021, the City of Vancouver hopes to enable 5,000 additional social housing units, 11,000 new market rental-housing units, and 20,000 market ownership units.[9]

Ethnic origin[edit]

The demographics of Vancouver reveal a multi-ethnic society. There remains a small population, less than 2%, of Aboriginal peoples, who according to archeological and historical records, have inhabited this region for more than 3,000 years.[citation needed]

From the time of Vancouver's first non-indigenous settlement in the second half of the 19th century, people from Britain and Ireland were the largest group of immigrants and, collectively, remain the largest ethnic grouping in Vancouver to this day. Chinese are by far the largest visible minority group, although ethnic Germans are the largest non-British group and, as census records show, only in the 21st Century were outnumbered by the Chinese for the first time. The city has one of the most diverse Chinese-speaking communities with several varieties of Chinese being represented. Vancouver contains the second-largest Chinatown in North America (after San Francisco's), and many multicultural neighbourhoods such as the Punjabi Market, Greektown, and Japantown. Commercial Drive, the core of the historic Little Italy, which is also the main Portuguese area, has become an alternative-culture focus, though traditional Italian and Portuguese and other establishments and residents remain in the area. Bilingual street signs can be seen in Chinatown and the Punjabi Market, and commercial signs in a wide array of languages can be seen all over the metropolitan area.

Aboriginal peoples[edit]

As of around 2009, 3% of residents of Vancouver state that they have at least some ancestry from the First Nations, and of that 3% over 50% state that they also have non-First Nations ancestry. A person with some First Nations ancestry may not necessarily identify as someone who is First Nations.[10]

There is a small community of aboriginal people in Vancouver as well as in the surrounding metropolitan region, with the result that Vancouver constitutes the largest native community in the province, albeit an unincorporated one (i.e. not as a band government).[citation needed] There is an equally large or larger Métis contingent.

British and European origins[edit]

Much of the white population consists of persons whose origins go back to the British Isles and, until recently, British Columbians with British and Irish ancestry most likely came directly from the British Isles, rather than via Ontario or the Maritime Provinces. Until the 1960s, it was easier to purchase the Times of London and The Guardian in Vancouver than it was to find the Toronto Globe and Mail or Montreal Gazette. Other large and historically important European ethnic groups consist of Germans, Dutch, French (of both European and Canadian origin), Ukrainians, Scandinavians, Finns, Italians, Croats, Hungarians, Greeks, and lately numerous Romanians, Russians, Portuguese, Serbs and Poles. Non-visible minorities such as newly arrived Eastern Europeans and the new wave of Latin Americans are also a feature of the city's ethnic landscape. Prior to the Hong Kong influx of the 1980s, the largest non-British Isles ethnic group in the city was German, followed by Ukrainian and the Scandinavian ethnicities. Most of these earlier immigrant groups are fully assimilated or intermarried with other groups, although a new generation of East Europeans form a distinct linguistic and social community.

Chinese origins[edit]

The first Chinese immigrants to British Columbia were men who came to "the British Colonies of Canada," as they called British Columbia, for the Fraser Canyon Gold Rush of 1858 and a decade later to work on building the Canadian Pacific Railway.

Because of the head tax and other anti-Chinese legislation, there was a decrease in the influx of Chinese families from the late 19th century until the Second World War. The Chinese population became isolated as China cut off all trading periods in its move towards cultural Marxism and Communism, and started to dismantle the feudal system and massacre Chinese that was opposed to the new Marxist Communist structure during the Cultural Revolution. Many Chinese in Canada lost their roots and culture and became de-Sinicized and Canadianized. Many intermarried with natives, called "First Nations" in Canada, while the upper classes intermarried with the Jewish population, especially those in the restaurant and movie business, and Anglo Protestants, especially the Chinese Christians. Due to the minimum wage law in Canada, the Chinese received equal schooling in English and lost their language, culture and customs since World War II.

All this started to change in the 1980s. The real estate developers and government of Canada saw an opportunity in the billions of hot money that was to flow out from Hong Kong as the Britished elite of Hong Kong fled from the Communists before the 1997 Handover. From the 1980s onwards, the elite of Hong Kong migrated en masse to United Kingdom, United States, Singapore and Canada. Because the United Kingdom and Singapore started to place limits on immigrants from Hong Kong, many Chinese in Hong Kong became trapped with fears of becoming stateless and homeless.

Canada saw an opportunity in absorbing the hot money from the elite Hong Kongese bankers to subsidize their heavily-indebted Canadian social welfare system, and to sell unwanted, unsold, backlogged, vacant housing stock empty since the 1970s building spree, and the pre-1987 speculative over-construction of cheap bungalows, British Civil Service, tycoons and imperial aristocracy of feudal China. The real estate lobby also saw a profit opportunity. They began attracting the emigres, mostly through publicity and temporary tax-friendly measures implemented for two years after immigration to Canada, in the province of British Columbia. This attracted the Hong Kongese to Vancouver and subsequently to Richmond.

A huge influx of immigrants from Hong Kong were approved to come to Vancouver in anticipation of and during the transfer of sovereignty of that former British colony from the United Kingdom to China. However, instead of taxing them, the Chinese government took a capitalist approach and removed all taxes for Hong Kongese peoples who would remain and integrate with the PRC economy. Because of these, many Hong Kong immigrants and refugees left Canada and returned to Hong Kong including the elites.

Unlike Canadian-born Chinese, they could not adapt to the brutal Canadian winters, and they suffered in Vancouver in boredom and misery. Many husbands called astronauts because they still worked in Hong Kong were also worried that their wives may commit adultery with white men who preyed on their monster mansions, so they sold many excess homes to re-invest in PRC. Together with the oversupply released by the establishment and real estate lobby in Vancouver, this eventually led to the crash of real estate market in Vancouver and Richmond, starting in 1999, because of overbuilding of condos.

Many white Canadians and Europeans who were infatuated with the wealth and the cosmopolitan, mega-city culture from the Hong Kongese and the temperate winters of Vancouver started migrated to Vancouver in search of the city life, especially from Squamish, Kamloops, but more importantly from the provinces with more brutal winters such as Alberta, Ontario, Quebec and Manitoba. While many Hong Kongese returned to Hong Kong, Singapore and British cities such as London, Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds and Glasgow, among the minority who chose to remain and establish life in Canada, intermarriage with the existing population was very common, and they became Canadianized. Many children of Canadianized families then moved to Montreal, Los Angeles and New York City and left Canada permanently because of the weak and quiet economy of British Columbia.

Although statistically, that already established Vancouver as the second most multi-ethnic of Canada's cities (after Toronto) before the Hong Kong influx began, Vancouver started to have a bigger Asian minority than Toronto on paper. In reality, Vancouver was still mostly European because the Asian never really lived in Canada for consecutive years. After naturalization, they normally move back to Asia because of fears of racism, white supremacy, Judeo-Christian conflicts, and most of all, unlike the native Canadian Chinese population who has never lived in Asia, the foreign-born found Canada very boring and cold. Toronto as a result, climbed far ahead as the Canadian city with the biggest population of Asians by physical residence.

Although Statistics Canada data shows that over 17% of the approximately 2.5 million people living in the metropolitan area are ethnic Chinese, the reality is up to 90% (in winter especially) of those have left to live in Hong Kong. Once again, Vancouver was mocked by Torontonians as a "small town of farmers" although many other Canadians cherish that.

As of 2017, Vancouver has one of the most diverse Chinese-speaking and Asian-speaking communities during the summer (with residents, students, visitors and tourists from several regions of China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia, South Korea, Japan). In winter, it is less Asian and more African and European, as Canadians from Toronto and the maritimes winter in the milder climate of British Columbia. Many wealthy Americans also enjoy Whistler, Grouse Mountain and Vancouver for its winter attractions, and cheaper heating bills (due to a lower loonie). The only Asian population that remain in Vancouver are the locally born, the new immigrants from Northeast Asia such as Mongolia, Japan, Harbin and Changchun. All other Chinese normally will have fled the Canadian winters after the Christmas festivities, since the wealthy Chinese Canadians, unlike the middle class, do not depend on the local Vancouverite economy but on the Chinese economy for income.

Many Chinese immigrants are monolingual and have great difficulty in learning the English idiomatic expressions, even if they hail from British colonial Hong Kong. As such, they will not purchase anything without instructions in traditional Chinese for fear of food poisoning, allergies, contamination and prescriptive drug contraventions.

As such, merchants struggle to fight for their dollars by making linguistic modifications available to consumers in Downtown and Chinatown of Vancouver and Richmond.

Statistically, the ethnic Chinese from Hong Kong who speak Cantonese make up the largest group of luxury consumers within Vancouver's Chinese-speaking community.

However, before the influx of Hong Kong immigrants, many earlier Chinese spoke a much different Taishanese (台山話), which does not have English loanwords for hi-tech vocabulary or German, French and Yiddish loanwords for finance transliterated over. Taishanese is an agrarian-based language with more complex tone-shifts and vocabulary related to farming, agriculture, tea-farming, tea-culture, as well as Taoism, Taoist deities and Taoist spiritual practices. It is almost mutually unintelligible from Hong Kongese, a melting pot creolized language based on Middle Chinese Cantonese. Many Cantonese speakers from the Mainland do not understand rapid, idiomatic Hong Kongese vernacular either due to different verb alternatives, grammatical contractions, hi-tech and finance lingo, loanwords and bizarre inflection endings, originating from Hong Kong.

The majority of these early Taishanese immigrants migrated directly to Canada from the mountainous agrarian tribes in the pristine southern coastal province of Guangdong, which has not been exposed to Mongolization, Manchu Mandarinization, British colonialism nor American capitalism. As such, their language is quaint, polite and antique.[11]

In addition, the Chinese-speaking community has largely evolved separately according to where in China they originated. The residents do not understand each other completely as they speak various Chinese vernaculars such as Fuzhou, Mandarin, Hakka, Shanghainese, Taiwanese, and Teochiu.

They migrated to Vancouver from very diverse and disparate communities in Asia such as Mainland Chinese via Hong Kong, Taiwan, or Southeast Asia.

There are also many newly arrived Mainland Chinese refugees from the Cultural Revolution who had not been approved by the Hong Kong government for settlement in the colonies of Hong Kong, Kowloon, nor the New Territories and whose origin is from far-flung areas of China such as Suzhou, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, and who had not received permits to become permanent city resident of the Chinese metropolis of Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou or Shenzhen. Many such people do not understand Hong Kongese, standard Cantonese, Taiwanese, Fujianese/Hokkien, Shanghainese, only the most basic of standard Mandarin. They do not understand idiomatic Mandarin, but converse in their own native language and dialects.

Due to fears of PRC taking over Taiwan after the Hong Kong handover, immigration from Japanese and United States-allied Taiwan increased in the late 1980s and early 1990s from Taipei. Today, this continues at a steady pace, but from Tier 2 cities such as Taichung and Kaohsiung and other minor cities. Many Chinese in Tier-1 no longer migrate to the West as their economies have far surpassed those of major North American, Japanese and European Tier-1 cities. Hong Kong overtook New York as the world's most capitalized stock market after the Global Financial Crisis, while Singapore overtook Switzerland as the world's private banking city. Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen all overtook Hong Kong, Singapore, all European and North American cities in terms of profitability per resident. As such, they attract throngs of economic refugees from the United States and Europe daily. China also liberalized and started issuing green card equivalents to these new economic refugees due to the large PRC economy. Taiwan is left by Beijing to become a poor backwater for fears of political manipulation and instigation from the U.S. government and Japan to destabilize geopolitics.

Many elite Taiwanese have fled to the United States. Those who are older are currently choosing to retire in Vancouver or to raise their families in Canada, as they see no future in Taiwan because of Beijing's policies and the economic might of PRC.[citation needed]

The most recent Chinese immigrants to Vancouver are mostly political exiles from PRC who fled directly from Mainland China, after being persecuted by their government to death, such as the Falun Gong whose members have been arrested and murdered by PRC government and their organs harvested for sale to the wealthy and elite accessing the most expensive Chinese hospitals.

Out of all the Canadian cities, Vancouver continues to be the only one to receive immigration not only from Mainland China but also from Taiwan and Hong Kong, though to a lesser extent than in the 1990s. This is because the Chinese cannot survive the Canadian winters in other cities. However, since the Global Financial Crisis and the rise of China, Canada is no longer the top destination for emigrants from Asia. United States, UK and EU have all replaced Canada because the weakening of their currencies and housing markets are seen as "better value" than those in Vancouver.

Vancouver remains the top destination for the uber-wealthy of China because the Canadian nationality is seen as a neutral and safe nationality, similar to Switzerland, even if the wealthy Chinese purchase blocks of corporate buildings in Manhattan, the Chinese being peace-loving do not get engaged in aggressive U.S. / U.K. foreign policy.

Most of all Chinese culture like all Asian cultures is predominantly rural and agricultural for millennia, and the Chinese immigrants prefer the rural, insular mindset of Canada and Australia, which is more in line with Taoist philosophy, culture and preferences, than with the imperialistic and hegemonistic cultures of Anglo-America.

Because the Chinese peopleChinese no longer wish to migrate to Canada, in Vancouver, they are being rapidly displaced by the Filipinos, Thais, Vietnamese, Myannmar, Cambodians, Indonesians, Malaysians and Japanese.

Outside of the "East Asian" community, they are also being displaced by the African community from all parts of Africa, from the United States, and from the African continent itself. In Beijing, intermarriage between African intellectuals with the Han Chinese population has a long history, since the days of Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai. Although the Hong Kongese in general do not purchase properties in areas already inhabited, and settled whether by white European or by black African communities, the Beijing Chinese view African culture as exotic, mysterious and similar to Chinese history of being oppressed by White Colonialism.

Many take-out restaurants in Little Mountain of Vancouver, Surrey, South Surrey, White Rock and downtown Langley established by the Beijing Chinese cater predominantly to a black clientele, with the traditional Chinese menu altered specifically to suit the taste and palette of African immigrants. Many children of Chinese immigrants in Surrey from Beijing and the Mainland also make fast friends with the Canadian-born Africans and love to imitate the black gangsta-rap fashion and street-style. Many also start getting involved in drugs and gang culture due to the American influence. In 2016, Surrey was ranked the most dangerous city in the whole of Canada for the incidences of shooting and drug-related killings.

The Beijing Chinese and African communities in Surrey are rapidly displacing the South Asians monopoly and cartels in Surrey, (in particular the Sikh community that is separate from the much smaller Indian community, but statistically regrouped as "Indo-Canadians"). The "Indo-Canadians" are one of Vancouver's largest Asian minorities; according to current statistics, Vancouver has Canada's second largest Indo-Canadian population after Toronto. The children of PRC Chinese immigrants do not mix as much with the Sikhs unlike the Anglos due to British colonial relationships between the loyal British Sikh guards and the Anglo-British Settlers during the Great British Empire. The PRC Chinese integrate very well with the African community, and often collaborate with the black community on many social issues, such as social housing, budget for city school systems, gang violence-related family trauma, aggressive young male delinquency, and their "anti-bankster" gangsta-rap attitude. The Vancouver Sun featured articles about how children of both Chinese and African immigrants were popularizing a game in secondary schools in Surrey burning U.S. dollar bills, playing truant and playing basketball, watching NBA finals instead. The Beijing version of "American Idol" called "Superstar" also featured a mixed Chinese-African teenage singer who sung in Mandarin with African rhythm and won international acclaim. Unlike the elite Hong Kongese who had been schooled by the British and acquired a white supremacist, Anglo-American hegemonistic attitude, the Beijing and Mainland Chinese refugee immigrants most coalesced around a culture of urban marginalization, disenchantment with the global financial system, and ghettoization forced upon them by the North American urbanization social model.

Korean origins[edit]

As of 2014 there are about 70,000 ethnic Koreans in the Vancouver area.[12]

An H-Mart and several Korean restaurants are located on Robson Street.[13] As of 2008 there are many Korean national students at the university and primary/secondary levels studying English.[14] Other areas with Korean businesses include Kingsway in Vancouver, Burnaby, and New Westminster; other areas in Vancouver; North Road in Burnaby and Coquitlam, and areas of Port Coquitlam.[15] As of 2011 Coquitlam is a popular area of settlement for Koreans.[16]

Rimhak Ree (Yi Yimhak) came to Vancouver to study mathematics at the University of British Columbia in 1953, making him the first known ethnic Korean to live in the city.[17] There were about 50 ethnic Koreans in Vancouver in the mid-1960s. The first Korean United Church congregation in the city opened in 1965. Numbers of Korean immigration to Canada increased due to more permissive immigration laws established in the 1960s as well as the home country's political conflict and poverty. There were 1,670 ethnic Koreans in Vancouver by 1975, making up 16% of all ethnic Koreans in Canada and a 3000% increase from the mid-1960s population.[18] Korean immigration to Canada decreased after a more restrictive immigration law was enacted in 1978.[19]

Christianity is a popular religion among ethnic Koreans. About 200 Korean churches are in the Vancouver area.[12]

In 1986 Greater Vancouver had fewer than 5,000 ethnic Koreans. In 1991 the number had increased to 8,330. The number of ethnic Koreans in the Vancouver area increased by 69% in the period 1996 through 2001.[20] The number of university students from Korea choosing to study in Vancouver had become most of the Korean students studying in Canada by the late 1990s.[14] The first Korean grocery store in the North Road area opened in 2000.[15] In 2001 28,850 ethnic Koreans live in Greater Vancouver, and this increased to 44,825 according to the 2006 census.[20]

Canwest Global does a co-venture with the Canada Express, a Korean publication, to serve ethnic Koreans. It previously published a Korean edition of the Vancouver Sun but later stopped. Daniel Ahadi and Catherine A. Murray, authors of "Urban Mediascapes and Multicultural Flows: Assessing Vancouver’s Communication Infrastructure," wrote that the Korean edition of the Vancouver Sun was "error-fraught".[21]

Other Asian ethnicities[edit]

See also Indo-Canadians in Greater Vancouver

Other significant Asian ethnic groups in Vancouver are Korean, Vietnamese, Filipino, Cambodian, Japanese, and Russians from the Russian Far East and Siberia. In Vancouver the term 'Asian' is normally used to refer only to East Asian and Southeast Asian peoples, while South Asians from the northern Indian subcontinent (mostly Punjabis) are usually referred to as Indo-Canadian or East Indians. Surrey has the largest Indo-Canadian population in the Vancouver metropolitan area, at 30.7%. The neighborhood at 120 Street and 73 Avenue in Surrey is 76.6% Indian-Canadian, the highest percentage of people of Indian descent in a neighborhood in Metro Vancouver.[22] Technically, though, the term 'Asian' may refer to either group, and also to the large Persian and other Middle Eastern populations as well as elements from Central Asia.

Tables of ethnicities (for census metropolitan area)[edit]

Ethnic Origin by Regional Group[23] Population Percent of 2,313,345 Population in 2031[24] Percent of 3,500,000[25]
Caucasian 1,250,360 52.5% 1,422,000 39.2%
Aboriginal origins 64,473 2.3% >84,000 3.5%
Latin, Central and South American origins 29,125 1.3% 62,000 1.8%
African origins 23,545 1% 69,000 2%
Middle Eastern origins 48,865 2.1% 124,000 3.6%
South Asian origins 252,405 11.1% 478,000 13.7%
East and Southeast Asian origins 644,555 29.7% 1,261,000 36.2%
*Percentages total more than 100% due to multiple responses, e.g. German-East Indian, Norwegian-Irish-Polish
Ethnic Origin[26] Population Percent of 2,097,960
Cornish 225 0.01%
English 500,340 24.09%
Irish 251,695 12.00%
Manx 640 0.03%
Scottish 337,230 16.07%
Welsh 41,805 1.99%
British Isles, n.i.e.** 35,505 1.69%
Acadians 1,280 0.06%
French 137,270 6.54%
Inuit 580 0.03%
Métis 17,110 0.82%
North American Indian 43,190 2.06%
American 27,000 1.29%
Canadian 278,350 13.27%
Newfoundlander 390 0.02%
Nova Scotian 120 0.01%
Ontarian 20 less than 0.01%
Québécois 350 0.02%
Other North American provincial or regional groups 150 0.01%
Antiguan 105 0.01%
Bahamian 50 less than 0.01%
Barbadian 925 0.04%
Bermudan 100 less than 0.01%
Carib 85 less than 0.01%
Cuban 640 0.03%
Dominican, n.o.s.*** 295 0.01%
Grenadian 175 0.01%
Guyanese 825 0.04%
Haitian 405 0.02%
Jamaican 4,645 0.22%
Kittitian/Nevisian 15 less than 0.01%
Martinican 40 less than 0.01%
Montserratan 20 less than 0.01%
Puerto Rican 260 0.01%
St. Lucian 80 less than 0.01%
Trinidadian/Tobagonian 2,185 0.10%
Vincentian/Grenadinian 120 0.01%
West Indian 1,245 0.06%
Caribbean, n.i.e.** 620 0.03%
Aboriginal from Central/South America 830 0.04%
Argentines 790 0.04%
Belizean 160 less than 0.01%
Bolivian 190 less than 0.01%
Brazilian 1,115 0.05%
Chilean 2,935 0.14%
Colombian 2,125 0.10%
Costa Rican 355 0.02%
Ecuadorian 225 0.01%
Guatemalan 1,405 0.07%
Hispanic 555 0.03%
Honduran 745 0.04%
Maya 575 0.03%
Mexican 7,680 0.37%
Nicaragua 860 0.04%
Panamanian 145 0.01%
Paraguayan 170 0.01%
Peruvian 1,910 0.09%
Salvadoran 5,760 0.27%
Uruguayan 60 less than 0.01%
Venezuelan 535 0.03%
Latin, Central or South American, n.i.e.** 1,225 0.06%
Austrian 21,500 1.02%
Belgian 6,555 0.31%
Dutch (Netherlands) 71,710 3.42%
Flemish 815 0.04%
Frisian 155 0.01%
German 203,715 9.71%
Luxembourger 235 0.01%
Swiss 10,130 0.48%
Finnish 12,745 0.61%
Danish 22,800 1.09%
Icelandic 9,630 0.46%
Norwegian 46,260 2.20%
Swedish 39,920 1.90%
Scandinavian, n.i.e.** 3,830 0.18%
Estonian 2,590 0.12%
Latvian 2,160 0.10%
Lithuanian 3,100 0.15%
Belarusian 820 0.04%
Czech 10,385 0.50%
Czechoslovak 2,810 0.13%
Slovak 5,700 0.27%
Hungarian (Magyar) 23,365 1.11%
Polish 60,715 2.89%
Romanian 14,055 0.67%
Russian 47,935 2.28%
Ukrainian 81,725 3.90%
Albanian 650 0.03%
Bosnian 2,535 0.12%
Bulgaria 1,960 0.09%
Croatian 12,475 0.59%
Cypriot 270 0.01%
Greek 15,025 0.72%
Italian 76,345 3.64%
Kosovar 85 less than 0.01%
Macedonian 600 0.03%
Maltese 990 0.05%
Montenegrin 370 0.02%
Portuguese 20,335 0.97%
Serbian 7,690 0.37%
Sicilian 180 0.01%
Slovenian 2,475 0.12%
Spanish 36,000 1.72%
Yugoslavs 5,525 0.26%
Basque 405 0.02%
Gypsy (Roma) 250 0.01%
Jewish 21,465 1.02%
misc. Slav (European) 760 0.04%
European, n.i.e.** 3,975 0.19%
Afrikaner 290 0.01%
Akan 25 less than 0.01%
Amhara 65 less than 0.01%
Angolan 70 less than 0.01%
Ashanti 65 less than 0.01%
Bantu 170 0.01%
Black 3,005 0.14%
Burundian 90 less than 0.01%
Congolese (Zairian) people 75 less than 0.01%
Congolese, n.o.s.*** 85 less than 0.01%
Dinka 25 less than 0.01%
East African people 610 0.03%
Eritrean 335 0.02%
Ethiopian 1,625 0.08%
Gabonese 10 less than 0.01%
Gambian 15 less than 0.01%
Ghanaian 1,100 less than 0.01%
Guinean, n.o.s.*** 95 less than 0.01%
Ibo 15 less than 0.01%
Ivoirian 15 less than 0.01%
Kenyan 765 0.04%
Malagasay 35 less than 0.01%
Mauritian 325 0.02%
Nigerian 880 0.04%
Oromo 145 0.01%
Rwandan 225 0.01%
Senegalese 20 less than 0.01%
Seychellois 20 less than 0.01%
Sierra Leonean 115 0.01%
Somali 1,320 0.06%
South African 4,120 0.20%
Sudanese 705 less than 0.01%
Tanzanian 135 0.01%
Tigrian 50 less than 0.01%
Togolese 15 less than 0.01%
Ugandan 360 0.02%
Yoruba 80 less than 0.01%
Zambian 40 less than 0.01%
Zimbabwean 230 0.01%
Zulu 70 less than 0.01%
African, n.i.e.** 6,490 0.31%
Egyptian 2,120 0.10%
Iraqi 1,805 0.09%
Jordanian 300 0.01%
Kuwaiti 75 less than 0.01%
Lebanese 6,175 0.29%
Libyan 25 less than 0.01%
Algerian 390 0.02%
Berber 150 0.01%
Moroccan 635 0.03%
Tunisian 70 less than 0.01%
Maghrebi origins, n.i.e.** 160 0.01%
Palestinian 1,050 0.05%
Saudi Arabian 255 0.01%
Syrian 925 0.04%
Yemeni 75 less than 0.01%
Arab, n.i.e.** 3,075 0.15%
Afghan 4,620 0.22%
Armenian 1,910 0.09%
Assyrian 355 0.02%
Azeribaijani 405 0.02%
Georgian 240 0.01%
Iranian 27,155 1.29%
Israeli 765 0.04%
Kurd 1,145 0.05%
Pashtun 170 0.01%
Tatar 235 0.01%
Turk 3,380 0.16%
West Asian, n.i.e.** 1,350 0.06%
Bangladeshi 785 0.04%
Bengali 415 0.02%
East Indian 181,895 8.67%
Goan 280 0.01%
Gujarati 515 0.02%
Kashmiri 70 less than 0.01%
Nepali 460 0.02%
Pakistani 6,875 0.33%
Punjabi 13,735 0.65%
Sinhalese 415 0.02%
Sri Lankan 3,740 0.18%
Tamil 740 0.04%
South Asian, n.i.e.** 6,495 0.31%
Burmese 865 0.04%
Cambodian 1,525 0.07%
Chinese 402,000 19.16%
Filipino 83,760 3.99%
Hmong 75 less than 0.01%
Indonesian 3,140 0.15%
Japanese 30,230 1.44%
Khmer 135 0.01%
Korean 46,040 2.19%
Laotian 1,065 0.05%
Malaysian 3,365 0.16%
Mongolian 680 0.03%
Singaporean 515 0.02%
Taiwanese 9,810 0.47%
Thai 1,565 0.07%
Tibetan 100 Less than 0.01%
Vietnamese 26,115 1.24%
East or Southeast Asian, n.i.e.** 1,170 0.06%
Asian, n.o.s.*** 80 less than 0.01%
Australian 5,525 0.26%
New Zealander 2,390 0.11%
Fijian 8,920 0.43%
Hawaiian 660 0.03%
Māori 375 0.02%
Polynesia 265 0.01%
Samoan 160 0.01%
Pacific Islander, n.i.e.** 210 0.01%
*Percentages total more than 100% due to multiple responses, e.g. German-East Indian, Norwegian-Irish-Polish
**'not included elsewhere.'
***'not otherwise specified.'

Visible minorities[edit]

Circle frame.svg

Pie chart showing Vancouver's visible minority composition (data from Canada Census 2011).

  not a visible minority (46.2%)
  South Asian (6%)
  East/South East Asians (39.9%)
  Black (1%)
  Latin American (1.6%)
  Middle Eastern (0.5%)
  West Asians (1.2%)
  Other (1.7%)

Vancouver has more interracial couples and less residential segregation than Canada's two largest cities, Toronto and Montreal. In total, 7.2% of married and common-law couples in Greater Vancouver are interracial; double the Canadian average of 3.2%, and higher than in Toronto (6.1%) and Montreal (3.5%).

In the city of Vancouver, 47.1% of the population were members of visible minority groups at the 2001 census.[27]

Visible minorities[28][29]
Population group Population (2011)  % of total population (2011) Population (2006)  % of total population (2006)
European Canadian 272,650 46.2% 268,715 47%
Visible minority group South Asian 35,140 6% 32,515 5.7%
Chinese 163,230 27.7% 168,215 29.4%
Black 5,720 1% 5,290 0.9%
Filipino 35,490 6% 28,605 5%
Latin American 9,595 1.6% 8,225 1.4%
Arab 2,975 0.5% 1,875 0.3%
Southeast Asian 17,870 3% 14,850 2.6%
West Asian 6,885 1.2% 5,355 0.9%
Korean 8,780 1.5% 8,780 1.5%
Japanese 10,080 1.7% 9,730 1.7%
Visible minority, n.i.e. 1,175 0.2% 990 0.2%
Multiple visible minorities 8,680 1.5% 7,320 1.3%
Total visible minority population 305,615 51.8% 291,740 51%
Total population 590,210 100% 571,600 100%

Aboriginal peoples[edit]

Aboriginal peoples, who make up less than two percent of the city's population, are not considered a visible minority group by Statistics Canada.

Aboriginal peoples[28][30]
Aboriginal group First Nations 7,865 1.3% 7,510 1.3%
Métis 3,595 0.6% 3,235 0.6%
Inuit 70 0% 45 0%
Aboriginal, n.i.e. 305 0.1% 210 0%
Multiple Aboriginal identities 100 0% 140 0%
Total Aboriginal population 11,945 2% 11,145 1.9%
Total population 590,210 100% 571,600 100%


Circle frame.svg

Religion in Metro Vancouver (2011)[31]

  No Religion (41.5%)
  Christian (41.7%)
  Sikh (6.8%)
  Buddhist (3.4%)
  Muslim (3.2%)
  Jewish (1.8%)
  Hindu (1.8%)
  Other (0.8%)

Vancouver, like the rest of British Columbia, has a low rate of church attendance compared with the rest of the continent and the majority of the population does not practice religion.[32][33] It has a significant Buddhist population, mostly adherents from China.[citation needed]

Vancouver religious profile from 2011 Census[34]
48.8% no religious affiliation, including agnostic, atheist, Humanist, and "no religion"
36.2% Christian
5.7% Buddhist
6.8% Sikh
2.2% Muslim
1.8% Jewish
1.4% Hindu
0.9% other religions, including Pagan, Wicca, Unity, New Thought,
Pantheist, Scientology, Rastafarian, New Age, Gnostic, Satanist
0.1% Aboriginal spirituality



  1. ^ "Vancouver Public Library" (PDF). Retrieved 2007-02-06. 
  2. ^ Data taken from: "British Columbia Regional District and Municipal Census Populations" (PDF). BC Stats. ; "British Columbia Municipal and Regional District 1996 Census Results". BC Stats. [permanent dead link];"British Columbia Municipal and Regional District 2001 Census Results". BC Stats. [permanent dead link];Davis, Chuck (1997). The Greater Vancouver Book: An Urban Encyclopedia. Surrey, BC: Linkman Press. p. 780. ISBN 978-1-896846-00-2. 
  3. ^ a b c Regional Steering Committee on Homelessness (February 2012). Results of the 2011 Metro Vancouver Homeless Count (Report). 
  4. ^ a b c Fiedler, Rob; Schuurman, Hyndman (8 May 2006). "Hidden homelessness: An indicator-based approach for examining the geographies of recent immigrants at-risk of homelessness in Greater Vancouver". Cities. 3. 23: 11. doi:10.1016/j.cities.2006.03.004. 
  5. ^ a b c Eberle Planning and Research (April 2001). Homelessness - Causes and Effects: A Profile, Policy Review and Analysis of Homelessness in British Columbia (PDF) (Report). 
  6. ^ a b c d Fiedler, Robert (2006). Geographies of Immigrants at Risk for Homelessness in Greater Vancouver (M.A. thesis). Simon Fraser University. p. 108. 
  7. ^ a b Smith, Heather; Ley (25 June 2008). "Even in Canada? The Multiscalar Construction and Experience of Concentrated Immigrant Poverty in Gateway Cities". Annals of the Association of American Geographers. 3. 98: 27. doi:10.1080/00045600802104509. 
  8. ^ Moore, Eric; Pacey (25 June 2008). "Changing Income Inequality and Immigration in Canada, 1980-1995". Canadian Public Policy. 1. 29: 19. JSTOR 3552487. 
  9. ^ a b City of Vancouver (June 2011). Vancouver's Housing and Homeless Strategy 2012-2021: A Home for Everyone (Report). 
  10. ^ Bloemraad, Irene. "Diversity and Elected Officials in the City of Vancouver" (Chapter 2). In: Andrew, Caroline, John Biles, Myer Siemiatycki, and Erin Tolley (editors). Electing a Diverse Canada: The Representation of Immigrants, Minorities, and Women. UBC Press, July 1, 2009. ISBN 0774858583, 9780774858588. Start p. 46. CITED: p. 68.
  11. ^ Chinese Genealogy
  12. ^ a b "Metro’s 70,000 ethnic Koreans: Most turn to fervent, conservative Christianity." Vancouver Sun. March 2, 2014. Retrieved on December 24, 2014.
  13. ^ Baker p. 162-163 (PDF 9-10/26).
  14. ^ a b Baker p. 163 (PDF 10/26).
  15. ^ a b Baker, Don and Larry DeVries. "Introduction" (Archive). In: DeVries, Larry, Don Baker, and Dan Overmyer (editors). Asian Religions in British Columbia (Asian Religions and Society Series). University of British Columbia Press, 2010. ISBN 978-0-7748-1662-5. p. 5.
  16. ^ "Ethnic mapping 6: Koreans, Poles, Scots, Ukrainians and more." Vancouver Sun. October 20, 2011. Retrieved on December 24, 2014.
  17. ^ Baker p. 159 (PDF 6/26).
  18. ^ Baker p. 160 (PDF 7/26).
  19. ^ Baker p. 160-161 (PDF 7-8/26).
  20. ^ a b Baker p. 162 (PDF 9/26).
  21. ^ Ahadi, Daniel and Catherine A. Murray (Simon Fraser University). "Urban Mediascapes and Multicultural Flows: Assessing Vancouver’s Communication Infrastructure" (Archive). Canadian Journal of Communication, Vol 34 (2009) p. 587-611. CITED: p. 596.
  22. ^ "The Vancouver Sun maps the ethnic makeup of Metro Vancouver (interactive)". Vancouver Sun. October 13, 2011. 
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^ Profile of Ethnic Origin and Visible Minorities for Census Metropolitan Areas and Census Agglomerations, 2006 Census Archived October 30, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.
  27. ^ 2001 Vancouver Community Profile from 2001 Census at Statistics Canada
  28. ^ a b [1], Community Profiles from the 2006 Census, Statistics Canada - Census Subdivision
  29. ^ [2], National Household Survey (NHS) Profile, 2011
  30. ^ [3], Aboriginal Population Profile from the 2006 Census, Statistics Canada - Census Subdivision
  31. ^
  32. ^ Clark, Warren. "Patterns of Religious Attendance".
  33. ^ Babych, Art. "Attendance Drops in Church". Western Catholic Reporter.
  34. ^ 2011 Census

Further reading[edit]