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Greater Toronto Area

Posted on Tuesday, December 18, 2012

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In 2006, forty-seven percent of the population in Toronto had a mother tongue in a language other than English or French.Statistics

City of Toronto


Toronto’s Racial Diversity


Toronto, with a population of 2.48 million people (5.5 million in the GTA - Greater Toronto Area) is heralded as one of the most multicultural cities in the world and is ranked as the safest large metropolitan area in North America by Places Rated Almanac. Over 140 languages and dialects are spoken here, and just over 30 per cent of Toronto residents speak a language other than English or French at home.

  • In 2006, the City of Toronto was home to 8 per cent of Canada's population, 30 per cent of all recent immigrants and 20 per cent of all immigrants.


  • Between 2001 and 2006, Canada received 1,109,980 international immigrants. The City of Toronto welcomed about one quarter of all immigrants (267,855) to Canada during this period of about 55,000 annually.


  • Half of Toronto's population (1,237,720) was born outside of Canada, up from 48 per cent in 1996.


  • In 2006, half of all immigrants to the City of Toronto have lived in Canada for less than 15 years.


  • In 2006, more than half of all immigrants living in the City were age 25 and over; 7 per cent were pre-school age 5 and under; 16 per cent were school age 6 to 14; and 22 per cent were youth 15 to 24.


  • In 2006 the City of Toronto had 45 per cent of the GTA's population in 2006, and was home to:


  • 52.4 per cent of all GTA immigrants;
  • 36 per cent of all immigrants living in Ontario;
  • 20 per cent of all immigrants living in Canada;
  • 42.4 per cent of all visible minorities in Ontario;
  • 22.9 per cent of all visible minorities in Canada.


  • 47 per cent of Toronto's population (1,162,635 people) reported themselves as being part of a visible minority, up from 42.8 per cent (1,051,125) in 2001.


  • The City of Toronto's visible minority population increased by 10.6 per cent since 2001, and by 31.8 per cent since 1996.


  • The top five visible minority groups in Toronto were:


  • South Asian at 298,372 or 12.0 per cent of our population;
  • Chinese at 283,075 or 11.4 per cent;
  • Black at 208,555 or 8.4 per cent;
  • Filipino at 102,555 or 4.1 per cent;
  • Latin American at 64,860 or 2.6 per cent.

Visible Minorities

"Visible minority" is defined by Statistics Canada as "persons, other than Aboriginal peoples, who are non-Caucasian in race or non-white in colour"

  • Across Canada there has been a four-fold increase since 1981 in people who identify themselves as visible minorities – up from 1.1 million in 1981 to almost 5 million in 2006.


  • Nationally, 96 per cent of the visible minority population live in a metropolitan area compared with 68 per cent of the total population.

Ethnic Origin

Regardless of where people were born, or when they came to Canada, everyone reports on their ethnic background or heritage. Respondents are permitted to report more than one ethnic origin if appropriate and this is happening more frequently. People more likely to report multiple origins include those from European backgrounds whose ancestors have lived in Canada for several generations. In general, groups with a more recent history in Canada were more likely to report single responses.

  • Toronto's rich multi-cultural diversity is expressed by the more than 200 distinct ethnic origins residents identified in their response to the 2006 Census.


  • In 2006, twenty-eight percent of all ethnic origin responses in Toronto were European; 19 per cent identified themselves with the British Isles (including England, Scotland, and Ireland); 16 per cent as East or Southeast Asian; and 10 per cent as South Asian in origin.


  • Toronto remains a mosaic of many languages. In 2006, forty-seven percent of the population had a mother tongue in a language other than English or French.


  • The top 5 mother tongue languages in 2006 were:


  • Chinese (420,000);
  • Italian (195,000);
  • Punjabi (138,000);
  • Tagalog/Pilipino (114,000);
  • Portuguese (113,000).


  • Diversity can also be measured by the extent in which people speak another language other than English or French in the home. Thirty-one percent of City residents had a home language other than English or French. The top non-official home languages were: Chinese, Tamil, Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese.


  • Among Chinese speakers who identified a specific dialect, two-thirds spoke Cantonese and one-third spoke Mandarin.


  • Since 1996, the number of persons with Tamil as a home language has surpassed those who speak Italian while Spanish as a home language has overtaken Portuguese.


  • Five percent of the population has no knowledge of either official language, a slight decline from 6 per cent in 1996.


  • Two percent of Torontonians indicated multiple mother tongues other than French and English.

Aboriginal Peoples

Aboriginal Identity refers to those persons who reported identifying with at least one Aboriginal group (North American Indian, Métis or Inuit), or those who reported being a Treaty Indian or a Registered Indian as defined by the Indian Act of Canada, or those who reported they were members of an Indian band or First Nation.

Census counts for aboriginal identity include persons living in private households only. Individuals who lived in collective residences, institutions or were homeless at the time of the ennumeration are not reflected. The results of the 2006 Census may be undercounting actual population numbers. The number of urban aboriginal persons reported by the Census has historically been sharply lower than estimates from agencies serving this community. In 2006, Aboriginal agencies estimated that there were approximately 70,000 Aboriginal people living in the City of Toronto.

Canada and Provinces

  • In 2006, there were 1,172,785 aboriginals in Canada. Aboriginals accounted for 3.8 per cent of the total population of 31,241,030.


  • Nationally, 59.5 per cent of aboriginals were North American Indian, 33.2 per cent were Métis, 4.3 per cent were Inuit, 0.7 per cent had multiple aboriginal identities and 2.3 per cent were other aboriginal responses.


  • From 2001-2006, the aboriginal population in Canada increased by 196,475. Over this period, aboriginal population grew by 20.1 per cent, a rate five times that of the non-aboriginal population.


  • Across the country, the highest concentration of Aboriginal population can be found in Nunavut (85 per cent), Northwest Territories (50.3 per cent), Yukon Territory (25.1 per cent), Manitoba (15.5 per cent) and Saskatchewan (14.9 per cent).


  • While aboriginals comprise only 2 per cent of its population, in absolute numbers, Ontario had the largest aboriginal population of any province or territory. In 2006, there were 242,490 aboriginal persons living in Ontario, representing 20.7 per cent of the Canadian total.


  • From 2001-2006, the aboriginal population of Ontario increased by 28.8 per cent, a rate faster than that of Canada as whole. Over this period, the number of aboriginals living in Ontario grew by 54,175 persons.


  • Aboriginals are increasingly living off reserve. According to the census, 54 per cent of aboriginal lived in or near a city.


  • Despite this, only 15.7 per cent of aboriginals lived in one of the country's six major metropolitan areas. Among these, Edmonton had the largest aboriginal population (52,100 persons) followed by Vancouver (40,310), Toronto (26,576), Calgary (26,575), Ottawa (20,590) and Montreal (17,865).

The Greater Toronto Area and City of Toronto

Note: Agencies serving the Aboriginal community in Toronto estimate that there are 70,000 residents who belong to this community.

  • In 2006, there were 31,910 aboriginal person living in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). This represents 2.7 per cent of all aboriginal persons in Canada and 13.2 per cent of those in Ontario. From 2001-2006, the aboriginal population in the GTA went from 23.950 to 31,910, an increase of 33.2 per cent.


  • The aboriginal population of the GTA has a lower median age (31.7 years) than the non-aboriginal population (37.3 years). The GTA aboriginal population includes higher proportions of children (22.1 per cent vs 18.7 per cent) and youth (16 per cent vs 13.4 per cent). The proportion of seniors, meanwhile, is significantly lower (4.6 per cent vs 11.4 per cent).


  • At the same time, women outnumber men in all age groups except those fourteen years and younger.


  • 13,605 persons (0.5 per cent) of persons in the City of Toronto were aboriginal. Aboriginals in the City comprise 42.6 per cent of the aboriginal population in GTA. From 2001-2006, aboriginals in the City increases by 2,235 (19.7 per cent).


  • Among aboriginals in the City, 67.1 per cent were North American Indians, 26.8 per cent Métis, and 1.4 per cent Inuit.

Demographic information for the City of Toronto



The Region of Peel


Peel Region’s population continues to grow 


The latest release of the 2011 Census data reports that 70.2 per cent of married couples and 48.8 per cent of common law partners live with children in Peel Region. These are the highest proportions of couples with children in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).  

Other highlights of Peel’s population from the 2011 Census data release for families, households and marital status, and structural type of dwelling and collectives include:

  • 41 per cent of Peel Region households are comprised of four or more people
  • The number of children aged 25+ living at home in Peel increased by 28.7 per cent since 2006
  • Single-parent families in Peel have increased by 20.5 per cent
  • The number of people living alone increased by 17.8 per cent in Peel
  • Peel had an average of 1.4 children per census family
  • Over 55 per cent of people aged 15 years and older were married in Peel
  • Peel had the highest proportion of married couples with children in the GTA

“As the 2011 Census data has shown, Peel has the second largest population as well as the youngest population in the GTA,” said Regional Chair and CEO Emil Kolb. “This provides us with economic opportunities as well as constant challenges to meet the needs of a vibrant, culturally diverse and growing community of more than 1.3 million people.”

Families, Households and Marital Status
The 2011 Census release showsthat census families in Peel haveincreased by 11.7 per cent (to 361,975). A census family is defined as a married couple or common law couple (same sex included) and their children, if any, of either or both partners. Single-parents living with at least one child and grandparents living with children, in cases where no parent is present, are also considered a census family. A child may be by birth, marriage or adoption.

In Peel, there were 494,000 children living at home, up 11.2 per cent from 2006 with an average of 1.4 children per census family. From 2006 to 2011, children living at home aged 0 to 17 grew by 5.6 per cent. Children aged 18 to 24 living at home grew by 18.1 per cent.  

Single-parent families have increased by 20.5 per cent in Peel. 81.7 per cent of those single-parent families were female and 18.3 per cent were male. In the GTA, single-parent families increased by 14.8 per cent.

Structural Type of Dwelling and Collectives
In May 2011, there were 1.3 million people living in private households in Peel, an increase of 11.9 per cent from the 1.2 million recorded in 2006. In Peel, the number of one-family households grew 10 per cent from 2006 to 2011, while multiple family households grew 21.8 per cent, and non-family households – people who live alone or a group of more than two people who share a dwelling, but are not a census family – grew 18.8 per cent.

Number of people living in Peel households:
In 2011, there were 402,935 households in Peel and 2,167,105 households in the GTA, a 12.2 per cent and 10.2 per cent increase, respectively since 2006. Peel had an average of 3.6 persons living in single-detached dwellings, 3.5 persons in semi-detached dwellings, 3.1 persons in row houses and 2.5 persons in apartments.

Peel Region had the second highest growth rate of apartments in the GTA. Peel has seen a small decrease in proportion of single-detached dwellings and a small increase in semi-detached dwellings, row houses and apartments.

More information about how families are formed and other demographic information for Peel will be released by the National Household Survey in phases, starting May 2013. “The shift from the mandatory long form census to a voluntary survey has led to concerns about data quality. The quality of the data may have significant impacts on Peel’s ability to provide and plan for services and to understand and plan for its population,” said Arvin Prasad, Director, Integrated Planning, Region of Peel.

Peel Region reported information on population and dwellings counts in February and Age and Sex in May. Information about language from the 2011 Census will be released in October.

The Regional Municipality of Peel was incorporated in 1974 on the principle that certain community and infrastructure services are most cost-effectively administered over a larger geographic area. The Region of Peel serves more than 1.3 million people and approximately 88,000 businesses in the cities of Brampton and Mississauga and the town of Caledon.


The Region of Halton


The Regional Municipality of Halton serves more than 500,000 residents in the City of Burlington, the Town of Halton Hills, the Town of Milton, and the Town of Oakville. Halton Region is committed to meeting the needs of its residents through the delivery of cost-effective, quality programs and services, including water and wastewater; Regional roads and planning; emergency medical services; waste management; public health; Ontario Works (formerly social assistance); children’s and seniors’ services; social/non-profit housing; heritage programs; emergency management and economic development. For more information, dial 311 or visit Halton Region’s website at .

The Town of Oakville and the City of Burlington are largely urban, while the Towns of Milton and Halton Hills to the north are significantly more rural. Together with urbanization in the neighbouring Regional Municipality of Peel, the urban area of the GTA is contiguous all the way from the City of Hamilton to the City of Toronto, as is visible on satellite images of the GTA and the Golden Horseshoe.

Halton has been ranked by Maclean's national crime ranking report as being the "safest place to live" in the Greater Toronto Area, and one of the top 5 in Canada.

Halton Region experienced a growth rate of 17.1% between 2001 and 2006, and 14.2% between 2006 and 2011, giving it one of the highest growth rates in the country. Despite the unprecedented growth in residential development, agriculture and protected lands along the Niagara Escarpment are still the predominant land uses in the Region. [Source: Wikipedia]


Durham Region

The Region of Durham is situated in the highly developed and populated economic centre of Ontario, known as the Golden Horseshoe, that stretches from Oshawa to Niagara Falls. Durham Region lies immediately to the east of the City of Toronto within the Greater Toronto Area and encompasses an area of approximately 2,590 square kilometres (1,000 square miles). The area is characterized by a variety of landscapes and communities. A series of major lakeshore urban communities contrast with a variety of small towns, villages, hamlets and farms which lie immediately inland. The relatively flat lakeshore area marked by the bluffs, wooded creeks and ancient shoreline, features contrasts with the hummocky topography of the Oak Ridges Moraine running parallel to the shoreline only 15 miles to the north. This diverse landscape of woods, headwaters, ridges and hollows gives way to rolling farmlands and lakes to the north. Here the Municipality spreads into the prime recreational lakelands of Simcoe, Scugog and the Kawarthas.

The Region lies along a continuous urbanized lakeshore and shares prime access to the Great Lakes and northeastern markets of the continent, encompassing some 120 million persons. The area is well known for the strength of its manufacturing sector which is continually undergoing rapid diversification. Durham is endowed with a young, skilled labour force. It has all the utilities, transportation and social infrastructure associated with modern metropolitan communities. The single most significant economic factor for the Region has been the dramatic increase in residential development.


A recent report by the Planning Department estimates that the population of the Region of Durham was 531,000 in May 2001. A target of 760,000 people has been estimated for the number of people living in the Region by the year 2011, and a target of 970,000 people by the year 2021 - more than double the 1991 population.

York Region

York Region covers 1,776 square kilometres from Lake Simcoe in the north to Steeles Avenue in the south. It borders Simcoe County and Peel Region in the west and Durham Region in the east. York Region's landscape includes farmlands, wetlands and kettle lakes, the Oak Ridges Moraine and over 2,070 hectares of regional forest.



York Region's 28,500 businesses provide 521,000 plus jobs for York Region residents.   Approximately 10-15,000 new jobs are added annually.


Percentage of population who are immigrants ----- 43
Average in Ontario ------ 28

(Source: 2006 Census)


Percentage of York Region residents with a university degree ----- 19.7
Average in Ontario ------15

(Source: 2001 Census)

Life Expectancy

In York Region -------- 81.8 years
Average in Ontario ------------------------ 79.32 years

(Source: 2001 Census)

Disability-free life expectancy

In York ---------------------- 71.1
In Ontario------------------ 68

(Source: 2001 Census)

Some key health stats:

Percentage of York population 12 years and older who reported being current smokers ----- 23%
Percentage of York population who do not engage in regular physical activity ------ 40

(Source: 2001 Census)

In the year 2031, estimates suggest:

There will be 1.5 million people in York
There will be almost 2.5 times as many people over 50 as today
There will be 780,000 jobs

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