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Canada

People

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>  Population Characteristics

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>  Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism

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The estimated population of Canada in 2008 was 33,679,263. At the time of the last census in 2001, the official population was 30,007,094, compared to about 28.8 million in 1996. The population growth rate from 1994 to 2003 was 1 percent per year; this was the eighth highest rate among the 30 countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), a list that makes up the most developed industrial countries of the world. Two-thirds of this growth was due to immigration. Canada’s liberal immigration program accepts newcomers from nearly every other country in the world.

Most Canadians live in cities, and most of the cities are close to the country’s southern border. The largest urban centers are in Quebec and Ontario provinces, or central Canada, where almost two-thirds of the people live. Most of the population is ethnically British or French, although other European countries are well represented, and indigenous peoples are the majority in the north. French and English are the official languages, although the people who speak English as their mother tongue outnumber those whose mother tongue is French by about 2.5 to 1. Roman Catholics, who include most French-speaking people, are the most numerous religious group, followed by the United Church of Canada and the Anglican Church. Immigrants are a growing minority, particularly those from Asia, and have been changing the face of Canada’s largest urban areas.

Canadians have a high literacy rate and a number of top universities. The standard of living is one of the world’s highest, although one in seven households lives in poverty. Violent crime is low compared to other North American societies but has been rising.

 
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