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Immigration drives population growth in New Westminster

Can you guess which country is the single biggest source of recent arrivals?
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Immigration from around the globe is helping to drive New Westminster's population growth, but where are those new arrivals coming from? We're taking a look at Census 2021 to find out.

Immigration is helping to drive New Westminster’s population growth — particularly immigration from India and parts of Africa.

As of the 2021 census, New Westminster's population was up 11.2 per cent over five years ago. Of 78,060 residents, 37.5 per cent were immigrants. Of those, 5,050 are considered “recent,” having arrived between 2016 and 2021.

So where are those new residents coming from?

Statistics Canada’s 2021 Census Profile for New Westminster provides data on places of birth for the recent immigrant population. A  delve into that data shows some changing trends.

How many New Westminster residents come from Asia?

While Asian-born immigrants still make up by far the majority of the new immigrant population, at 55.8 per cent, that’s a drop from 68.5 per cent in the previous census.

The Philippines, long one of the most common birthplaces for newcomers to New West, accounted for just 8.8 per cent of new arrivals this time around — falling from 23.3 per cent in 2016. China, too, has fallen somewhat; it now accounts for 10.7 per cent of new immigrants, down from 12.4 per cent in 2016.

On the flip side, the number of new arrivals from India has surged. Indian-born immigrants accounted for 15.8 per cent of newcomers this time out, up from just 9.2 per cent in 2016.

African immigration on the upswing

The 2021 census also showed another area of new growth: Africa.

While the number of new immigrants from the African continent remains relatively small, its share of the population has increased considerably: from 4.7 per cent of new arrivals in 2016 (165 people) to 13.3 per cent in 2021 (670 people). Most of those newcomers are from Eritrea and Ethiopia.

Immigration from other parts of North and South America has also increased, with newcomers from the Americas accounting for 16.1 per cent of new arrivals this time out (up from 11.4 per cent in 2016).

The biggest growth has been immigration from Brazil, which accounted for 7.6 per cent of newcomers (385 people) compared to just 0.7 per cent five years ago.

Fewer European-born folks are coming to New Westminster; the continent accounted for just 13.5 per cent of recent immigrants, compared to 14.7 in the previous census. The largest share of those arrivals (125 people) was from Ukraine.

Selected places of birth for the recent immigrant population

These are the top 10 birthplaces for recent immigrants to New Westminster, as of the 2021 census:

  1. India: 800
  2. China: 540
  3. Philippines: 445
  4. Brazil: 385
  5. Eritrea: 355
  6. South Korea: 200
  7. United States: 145
  8. Ukraine: 125
  9. Mexico: 115
  10. Ethiopia: 105

 – source: Statistics Canada Census Profile for New Westminster 2021

Follow Julie MacLellan on Twitter @juliemaclellan.
Email Julie, jmaclellan@newwestrecord.ca