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International Immigration

Figure INIM-1. Percentage of Saskatchewan residents born outside Canada 1911 to 2001.
Canadian Plains Research Center
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With the exception of the Aboriginal population, all of Saskatchewan’s residents are either immigrants or the descendants of immigrants: the province, and indeed the country, was largely populated by those born in other countries.

Figure INIM-1 shows the proportion of Saskatchewan residents who were born outside Canada (the definition of “immigrant” used in these data). The number of immigrants in Saskatchewan has been declining as a percentage of the population. In 1911, a few years after Saskatchewan became a province, just under 50% of the province’s 492,000 residents were immigrants. By 2001 the population had doubled, but there were fewer than 50,000 immigrants living in Saskatchewan. Although some of this decline is a result of the natural aging of the population, a good deal is explained by the fact that the province is not able to retain recent immigrants: estimates vary, but it seems that only 50–60% of immigrants who come to Saskatchewan eventually make their home here.

In Canada, immigrants make up 18% of the population. The proportion is as high as 27% in Ontario and 26% in British Columbia, but Saskatchewan has one of the lowest proportions with 5% of the residents born outside Canada. This is higher than in the four Atlantic provinces, but lower than the 12% in Manitoba and the 15% in Alberta. Whereas most of the early immigrants to Saskatchewan were from Europe, recent immigrants tend to come from Asian countries: among those who moved to Canada from 1991 to 2001 and who were living in Saskatchewan in 2001, 42% were born in Asian countries--typically China or the Philippines. Other countries that are common birthplaces among recent immigrants include the United States (11%), the various countries of the former Yugoslavia (9%), and South Africa (4%).

Among current Saskatchewan residents 15 years of age and older, 7% were born outside Canada but another 22% are “first generation” Canadians in the sense that at least one of their parents was born outside Canada. The province may be ready for a new generation of immigrants. Labour market trends indicate that there will be a surge in retirements over the next ten to fifteen years: immigrants may be able to help meet the demand for workers.

Doug Elliott

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This web site was produced with financial assistance
provided by Western Economic Diversification Canada and the Government of Saskatchewan.
University of Regina Government of Canada Government of Saskatchewan Canadian Plains Research Center
Ce site Web a été conçu grâce à l'aide financière de
Diversification de l'économie de l'Ouest Canada et le gouvernement de la Saskatchewan.