Diversity in Durham: A Community Profile

With rapidly growing immigrant and visible minority communities, diversity in Durham is on the rise.

family jpgDurham is a rapidly growing region.  On the eastern side of Toronto, Durham saw its population increase by close to 10% between 2001 and 2006, well outpacing the growth of both Ontario overall (6.6%) and Toronto (0.8%). While Durham's growth is substantial, immigrants and visible minorities are experiencing even more rapid growth.

In the five year period between 2001 and 2006, the number of immigrants living in Durham increased by nearly 20% to about 114,000 people and members of visible minority groups by nearly 50% to over 93,000 people.

Just as in the rest of Canada, there is a shift occurring in where immigrants are coming from. Now, recent immigrants are more likely to be from Asia and the Middle East than from Europe. Even though a growing number of immigrants are born in Asia and the
Middle East, European languages still dominate in Durham as the
largest group of mother tongues other than English.

More than four in ten people who identify as a visible minority in Durham are Canadian-born, a higher share compared to the province overall (30%).  As of 2006, the two largest visible minority groups in Durham were South Asian and Black.

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Community Highlights

  • Compared to the province overall, immigrants in Durham are more well-established, as more than 70% have lived in Canada for 20 years or more. At the same time, Durham is not attracting new immigrants to the same extent that other areas are: newcomers make up less than 9% of all immigrants living in Durham compared to 17% for Ontario overall.
  • Immigrants - especially recent immigrants—and visible minorities are better educated compared to Durham residents overall; half of working-age newcomers have completed university—this is more than double the proportion of working-age Durham residents overall.
  • Though proportionately more newcomers in Durham have completed university, some are facing difficulties breaking into the workforce.
  • There is a greater degree of unemployment among recent immigrants; they are less likely to have full-time employment, and some may not find work in their chosen fields. These factors may play in the significant income disparity that many recent immigrants face—as their earnings through employment are approximately 54% that of the total population.