According to Reuters, one in five Canadians is born outside of the country, according to a 2011 survey released by Statistics Canada (Statscan) on Wednesday (May 15).
That 20.6% proportion of people born abroad, up from 19.8% five years ago, is far larger than in most other rich industrialized countries.
Statscan said 12.9% of US residents were born outside the country and 11.5% in Britain, although Australia's rate is even higher, at 26.8%.
COMMENT: In the past, Statscan sent a mandatory long-form census to 20% of the population, although the Conservative government abandoned such an approach in favor of a voluntary national household survey, which went to one in three Canadians.
Statscan assumed only 50% of those who received the survey would respond to a voluntary questionnaire, while the mandatory form had a much higher response rate.
Canada, with a population of 32.9 million in 2011 (35 million today), aims to take in about 250,000 immigrants each year, partly because of a low birth rate among its citizens. Immigration brought in 1.2 million people between 2006 and 2011, and a total of 6.8 million people in Canada were born outside the country.
Almost 57% of immigrants in the 2006-11 period came from Asia, with the Philippines topping the list, followed by China and India.
The survey also revealed that the number of Muslims in Canada is rising strongly, while fewer people identify themselves as Christian and more say they have no religious affiliation.
The number of Christians fell to 67.3% of the population in 2011 from 77.1% in 2001, while the number with no religious affiliation rose to 7.9 million from 4.9 million in 2001.
The Muslim population nearly doubled during the decade to 1.05 million. Muslims now make up 3.2% of the population, up from 2.0% in 2001.