P.A. now 42 per cent Aboriginal and increasingly diverse: census

Prince Albert welcomes new Canadians during a citizenship ceremony at St. Mary High School last year. Herald File Photo

Prince Albert is becoming more diverse, with census results showing a sharp rise in the city’s Aboriginal population and a near doubling in the number of immigrants.

According to 2016 data released this Wednesday, 42 per cent of Prince Albertans identify as Aboriginal – a category that includes First Nations people, the Inuit and the Métis.

That’s up from the 36 per cent recorded in 2006, the year of the last long form census.

The increase roughly tracks national trends. Canada as a whole saw the proportion of Aboriginal people rise from 3.8 per cent to 4.9 per cent over the past decade. Statistics Canada found that the Aboriginal population across the country is relatively youthful, and increasingly moving into urban areas.

Immigration statistics, released on the same day, revealed a large influx of new arrivals. In 2006, there were only 1,460 immigrants living in Prince Albert – approximately 4 per cent of the total population.

In 2016, Statistics Canada counted 2,755 new Canadians in P.A., a proportion of about 8 per cent.

More than half of all immigrants came from Asia, particularly the Philippines and India. About 500 came from Europe, and 465 from Africa.

The data agency found that immigrants are increasingly moving to the Prairies. Saskatchewan is also welcoming far more new Canadians, with a similar doubling from five to 10.5 per cent since the last census.

But Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal still remain the most popular centres of immigration, housing more than half of the total. All told, one in five Canadians are now foreign born.