Posted on July 19, 2004

Toronto Second In Proportion Of Foreign-Born

Erin Conway-Smith, Globe and Mail (Toronto), Jul. 16

Toronto has the second-largest proportion of foreign-born

residents of any city in the world, a new UN report says: Almost half of the

people who live there were born outside Canada.

The annual United Nations survey also shows that

Canada improved its standing on the human-development index, placing fourth

among 176 countries, four spots higher than last year.

The index takes into account such factors as life

expectancy, adult literacy, health, education and gross domestic product.

Canada moved up in the rating because it improved

slightly in the category of per capita gross domestic product and in the GDP

and education indexes. Iceland dropped from second to seventh place, and the

U.S. slid from seventh to eighth.

With 44 per cent of Torontonians born outside

of Canada, the city came second only to Miami, at 59 per cent, on a list of

the top 10 cities by share of foreign-born people.

Los Angeles, at 41 per cent, and Vancouver, at

37 per cent, rounded out the top four on the list, beating cities such as New

York, Sydney and London, which are typically considered among the most diverse

in the world.

“You could come from anywhere in the world

and feel comfortable here,” Sandra Bussin, Toronto’s deputy mayor,

said yesterday after hearing the ranking.

“That people from many different nationalities

and backgrounds can live in one city, in harmony, is a major achievement.”

The data used to compile the list come from international

sources, including Statistics Canada and the U.S. Census Bureau.

According to the 2001 Census in Canada, the metropolitan

Toronto census area included about 2 million people born outside Canada, from

a total population of 4.7 million.

The City of Toronto’s website says the largest

groups of immigrants to Toronto in the five years before the 2001 census were

from China (45,901), India (25,560) and Pakistan (17,495). The website says

more than 90 different ethnic groups are represented in the city.

Toronto’s wide-ranging ethnic makeup differentiates

the city from first-place Miami, where most of the foreign-born are from Cuba.

According to 2002 data from the U.S. Census Bureau, 96 per cent of foreign-born

people in Miami are from Latin America, although a further breakdown wasn’t


Tomas Regalado, a City of Miami commissioner,

said that of the 2.5 million people living in the greater Miami area, about

800,000 are Cuban. Other sizable ethnic groups include Nicaraguans and Haitians,

which he estimated at about 300,000 and 150,000 people.

“It’s geography: It’s easy to get

here,” he said, explaining why the city attracts so many people born in

other countries.

Miami’s mayor, Manuel Diaz, said in a statement

that he considers diversity his city’s most remarkable characteristic.

Vancouver’s mayor expected his city to place

higher in the ranking. “I’m surprised we’re fourth,” Larry

Campbell said.

He said the predominant ethnic groups in Vancouver

are Chinese-Canadians and Indo-Canadians, although he added that many other

nations are represented.

Mr. Campbell said that immigrants aren’t

expected to assimilate when they move to Canada, but rather to add their cultures

into the mix.

“I’m sure that [Toronto Mayor] David

Miller would say the same thing; the reason we are great cities is because of

our diversity.”

This year’s UN human development report is

focused on the theme of cultural liberty in a diverse world. “Driven by

globalization, the number of immigrants soared in the last decade, especially

to the high-income countries of Western Europe, North America and Australia,”

the report said.

It added that more immigrants are keeping close

ties with their countries of origin through the Internet and low-cost air travel.

Norway placed first on the UN’s annual human-development

index, followed by Sweden, Australia, Canada and the Netherlands.

Top marks for Canada

Top rankings of countries by the United Nations

Human Development Report, 2004





5-The Netherlands

Top cities by share of foreign-born population,


Miami: 59%

Toronto: 44%

Los Angeles: 41%

Vancouver: 37%

New York: 36%

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