The changing face of Hamilton: No longer the city of immigrants

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Hamilton’s demographics are changing with the new generation — only a quarter of all residents are from outside Canada now

By Steve Buist

It’s funny sometimes how hard it is to shake old perceptions once the reality has changed.

With its rich tradition of Italian festivals, Portuguese bakeries and Asian restaurants, Hamilton seems like a city of immigrants.

And it once was. Nearly half of the people in the Hamilton ages 65 and older were born outside Canada.

“But a huge majority of those people have been here for 40 years and don’t feel like immigrants,” said Sara Mayo, a social planner with Hamilton’s Social Planning and Research Council.

Look at the city’s entire population and just a quarter of all Hamiltonians are immigrants to Canada. That’s actually below the provincial average of 29 per cent, according to a new demographic analysis of the city produced by the Social Planning and Research Council of Hamilton.

“Hamilton hasn’t been a strong attractor of immigrants in decades,” said Mayo. “And now it’s being compounded because Ontario in general has fewer immigrants than it used to have.

“Immigrants are much more likely choosing to live in the west,” she said. “Even Manitoba has seen big increases in immigration growth compared to Ontario.”

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Article and image source: The Hamilton Spectator

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