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Canada, People

United Church of Canada, central Canada, southern border, estimated population, population of Canada

The population of Canada was 28,846,761 at the time of the latest census in 1996, compared to 27.3 million in 1991. The growth rate from 1991 to 1996 was 1.14 percent per year; this is the fourth highest rate among the 27 countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which corresponds roughly to the most developed industrial countries of the world. Half of this growth is due to immigration. Canada’s liberal immigration program accepts newcomers from nearly every other country in the world. The estimated population in 2002 was 31,902,268.

Most Canadians live in cities, and most of the cities are close to the southern border. The largest urban centers are in Quebec and Ontario provinces, or central Canada, where some 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 2? 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 fine universities. The standard of living is one of the world’s highest, although one in seven households is poverty stricken. Violent crime is low compared to other North American societies, but has been rising.

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