Grande Prairie’s immigrant population has more than doubled over the past 10 years. According to the 2016 census, an estimated 6,655 residents had immigrant status, making up 10.7 per cent of the community.
In 2006, there were just under 3,000 immigrants in the city, which was nearly 6.5 per cent. Only 25 per cent of households received the long-form census, so the totals have been estimated by Statistics Canada.
The County of Grande Prairie was made up of 4.6 per cent immigrants, up from 3.9 per cent in 2006. Movement has slowed over the past 25 years, as there were 575 immigrant residents before 1991, and only 445 have moved into the area since then.
The majority of Grande Prairie’s immigrant residents arrived to Canada since 2006, with 2,445 arriving between 2011 and 2016. 1,240 came from 2006 to 2010, 1,890 from 2001 to 2005, 760 from 1991 to 2000, and 1,555 before then.
A similar spike is being seen across Alberta, where the percentage of new immigrants living in the province rose from 6.9 per cent in 2001 to 17.1 per cent in 2016. At the same time, B.C. was at 14.5 per cent. Ontario still saw the highest share at 39 per cent, followed by Quebec at 17.8 per cent.
Half of the immigrant population in GP was from Asian countries in 2016, with almost a third of all local immigrants coming from the Philippines. Of all foreign-born residents, 3,520 were economic immigrants like skilled workers, 1,500 were sponsored by their family, and 710 were refugees.
Wednesday’s census release also included information on the city’s ethnic diversity. It showed just under 12 per cent of the population is considered to be of a visible minority, with 42 per cent Filipino, 18 per cent black, and just under 16 per cent South Asian.