Canada's Immigrants: Patterns of Immigration and Ethnic Settlement
In just one hundred years Canada's population increased from 3.7 million to 21.5 million. During this period the annual growth rate has varied between 1 and 3 per cent in response to fluctuations in fertility rates and immigration flows. While Canada is a nation of immigrants and immigration continues to be one of its major sources of growth, the direct contribution of immigration to overall growth has never exceeded that of natural increase (births minus deaths) in the years since Confederation.
The foreign-born population has increased in numbers every decade since 1871, with the exception of the 1930s (Figure 1). However, the foreign born have never comprised more than 22 per cent of the population, which was achieved between 1911 and 1931. The effects of the depression and postwar baby boom combined to reduce the proportion of foreign born to 14.7 per cent in 1951. With the collapse of the baby boom and continuation of relatively high immigration during the 1950s (Figure 2), the proportion of foreign born increased slightly to 15.6. During the 1960s poor economic conditions resulted in lower levels of immigration and the proportion dropped slightly to 15.3 by 1971.
While Canada's immigrants all experienced some of the same difficulties in learning to adapt to their new land, they differed immensely in their social and economic characteristics. Some groups settled in rural areas, while others flocked to the cities and urban centres. Some, like the British, were large enough to dominate the areas they settled; others stayed quite small. There were persisting differences in the status of the groups ( Pineo 1987). Occupationally, some groups were predominantly working class, while others were mainly white collar. These geographic, economic, and demographic