What ethnic groups does Canada have?

Canada is home to diverse national and ethnic groups. The largest self-reported ethnic origin, which accounts for 32 percent of the population, is Canadian. It is followed by English, French, German, Irish, Scottish, Italian, and German. English Canadians are Canadians of English ancestry, and the term English Canadian is used interchangeably with English-speaking Canadian. The historical roots of many English Canadians are traceable to the British Isles, but members of the English-speaking community belong to various ethnic backgrounds. Their ancestors came from different Asian, European, Pacific Island, Latin American, African, and Caribbean cultures, as well as North American and French Canada Aboriginal groups. French Canadians account for 15.8 percent of the population. Francophone Canadians or French Canadians are the descendents of French colonists. They arrived in Canada (New France) in the 17th and 18th centuries and today, they are the main French-speaking group in Canada. The majority of Canadians of French ancestry lives in Canada and the United States. The largest communities of French Canadians live in the province of Quebec. Small communities of French-speaking Canadians are scattered throughout Canada.

The Scottish ethnic group accounts for 15.1 percent of the population and is the third largest ethnic community in the country. Scottish Canadians are people of Scottish heritage or descent who live in Canada. Scottish Canadians have left a mark on the cultural heritage of Canada and the cultural mix of Nova Scotia. Scots make the largest ethnic community in the province, accounting for 29.3 percent of the population. The name of the province means New Scotland, and its flag is a combination of the Royal Standard of Scotland and the Scottish Saltire (the Flag of Scotland). The Irish ethnic group accounts for 13.9 percent of the population. Some 1.2 million immigrants of Irish origin arrived in Canada between 1825 and 1970. The Irish community is the fourth largest ethnic group in the country. Before the famine of the 1840s, the majority of Irish were Protestant, and then Catholics immigrated to Canada in large numbers. After 1850, most Catholic Irish immigrated to Australia, England, and the United States.

The German community is the fifth largest group in Canada and accounts for 10.2 percent of the population. Only a small number of German Canadians have emigrated from today’s Germany. Most German Canadians came from German communities in Russia, Eastern Europe, the Low Countries (historical lands around the Meuse, Scheldt, and Rhine rivers), Austria, and Switzerland. A sizeable group of German Canadians spent a significant amount of time in the US before coming to Canada. Italians are the 6th largest group in the country, after British, French, Irish, Scottish, and German origins. The Italian community accounts for 4.6 percent of the population.

Canada’s aboriginal population is represented by a large variety of ethnic groups, including Inuit, Metis, and First Nations. Only 1 percent of Canada’s population can be classified as aboriginal. Other ethnic minorities in Canada include Dutch (3.3 percent), Ukrainian (3.9 percent), Chinese (4.3 percent), Black (2.5 percent), and others.