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CENSUS 2021: Immigration on the rise in Castlegar

Largest group of immigrants came from Jamaica

Immigration continues an upward trend in Castlegar as numbers nearly doubled over the last census period.

Castlegar added 90 immigrant residents between 2016 and 2021 according to the latest census data released last week by Statistics Canada.

That five year total is almost double the number of immigrants that arrived during the previous five year span of 2011 - 2015.

While the number may still seem small, it shows a trend of growing foreign immigration in the community. From 1991 - 2000, 75 immigrants came to Castlegar. The next 10 years (2001 - 2010) saw an increase to 95 new immigrants. The latest 10-year span saw 135 immigrants arrive, with 90 of those arriving in the last five years.

At the time of the 2021 census, there were 690 immigrants living in Castlegar. That’s about 8.5 per cent of the population. Of those immigrants, 420 are not currently Canadian citizens.

Historically, the bulk of local immigrants have come from the United Kingdom (155) and the United States (95) followed by Portugal (55), Italy (40), India (35), Philippines (30), Russia (25) and China (20).

The trend has changed over the last five years however. Jamaica is the homeland of the largest group (30) of recent immigrants. This was followed by 20 people from India.

There were no immigrants from either the United States or the United Kingdom in the last five years.

Canada’s proportion of immigrants is 23 per cent of the population, the highest ever, with one in five people coming to the country from India. Castlegar is following that same trend, with 20 people from India (22 per cent of the new immigrants) coming to the city since 2016.

Census data released in August showed that Punjabi was the fastest growing mother tongue in Castlegar, increasing by 40 speakers to 105. As a whole, Indo-Iranian language speakers (including Punjabi) jumped from 95 to 140.

In Trail, the proportion of immigrants from India was greater than the national average with 55 of the 100 new immigrants to make their home in that city coming from India. The five-year total is a major increase from the previous census, which showed only 15 immigrants moving to Trail between 2011 and 2015.

Immigration was also up in Nelson with 340 new immigrant residents arriving in the city.

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Betsy Kline

About the Author: Betsy Kline

After spending several years as a freelance writer for the Castlegar News, Betsy joined the editorial staff as a reporter in March of 2015. In 2020, she moved into the editor's position.
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