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Ethnic diversity on the upswing in Victoria but still below BC levels

BC has highest non-religious population among provinces

By Shannon Waters
October 28, 2022
Latest News
News
Based on facts either observed and verified firsthand by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

Ethnic diversity on the upswing in Victoria but still below BC levels

BC has highest non-religious population among provinces

By Shannon Waters
Oct 28, 2022
Photo: James MacDonald / Capital Daily
Photo: James MacDonald / Capital Daily
Latest News
News
Based on facts either observed and verified firsthand by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

Ethnic diversity on the upswing in Victoria but still below BC levels

BC has highest non-religious population among provinces

By Shannon Waters
October 28, 2022
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Ethnic diversity on the upswing in Victoria but still below BC levels
Photo: James MacDonald / Capital Daily

Census data from 2021 released this week by Statistics Canada shows Greater Victoria has less ethnic diversity than the province as a whole.

Nearly three quarters of Greater Victoria residents trace their heritage back to the British Isles with 31.4% identifying their ethnic/cultural origin as English, 23.6% as Scottish, and 18.4% as Irish. The next largest ethnic identities in the region are German (12.3%) and Canadian (11%).

While Greater Victoria’s visible minority population grew by more than 14,400 people between 2011 and 2021, the region is less ethnically diverse than the province. Across BC, 34.4% of the population identified as members of a visible minority group in 2021 but in Greater Victoria, 16.7% of residents were visible minority members.

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The top three largest visible minorities are the same for the province and the region: Chinese, South Asian, and Filipino. In Greater Victoria, 4.5% of the population identifies as Chinese, 3.5% as South Asian, and 2.2% as Filipino.

Unsurprisingly, given its relatively low ethnic diversity, Greater Victoria has a smaller immigrant population than the province as a whole (18.9% compared to 29%) with most residents who were not born in Canada coming from the United Kingdom, the United States, China, and the Philippines. 

It’s a different story for recent immigrants—people who came to Canada between 2016 and 2021—who are much more likely to have come from the Philippines (17.2%) and slightly more likely to have immigrated from China (11.9%). Twelve per cent of recent immigrants in Greater Victoria are from India, up from 6.8% in 2011. 

Most people moving from another country to live in BC do so for work, a trend that has held steady for nearly three decades. However, the proportion of economic immigrants in Greater Victoria jumped noticeably in 2021, rising to 72.8% from 55.7% in 2020. At the same time, the region saw a significant drop in immigrants sponsored by family members—from 37.5% in 2020 to 21.6% in 2021—and a slight decrease in refugees to 4.8%.

Indigenous people make up 5% of the Greater Victoria population, slightly less than the BC population of 5.9%.

Even in the least religious province in Canada, Victoria stands out

At 52.7%, BC is the only province where a majority of the population is non-religious, although 59.7% of Yukon residents reported no religious affiliation. Overall, 34.6% of Canadians identify as non-religious. 

Among City of Victoria residents, 63.4% identified as non-religious, making the BC capital the third most secular city in the country behind Kamloops and Nanaimo. 

Across the Victoria census metropolitan area—which covers the Capital Regional District—60.5% of the population identified as non-religious, up from 51.2% in 2011.

The most prevalent faith in the region is Christianity with about a third of residents identifying as one of nine Christian sects, with Catholicism the largest group at 10.4% of the population. Overall, Christianity is on the decline in Greater Victoria; however, the number of Orthodox Christians has held steady since 2011 while the proportion of people identifying as “other - Christians” increased from 8.9% in 2011 to 9.6% in 2021.

Source: Statistics Canada

Outside of Christianity, the most popular religious affiliation in Greater Victoria is “other religions and spiritual traditions” at 1.5% of the population.

The number of Greater Victorians who identify as Muslim nearly has doubled since 2011 but remains a small part of the population at 1.3% while the number of people identifying as Hindu in Greater Victoria increased from 0.3% in 2011 to 0.8% in 2021.

Article Author's Profile Picture
Shannon Waters
Municipal affairs reporter

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