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  #1  
Old Posted Mar 24, 2018, 4:31 AM
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Historic census data

Since there's seems to be some interest, I've been compiling some historic Census data and I thought I'd share here, rather than "corrupt" other threads.

I start with the 1931 census. I like this one because 1) they start having some good cross-classification data and 2) it's at the tail end after the major 20th century immigration (and there's little immigration for 20 years).

Feel free to pose any questions/requests and I'll do my best to find some data!
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  #2  
Old Posted Mar 24, 2018, 4:43 AM
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Here is the percentage of the population is at least 3rd generation Canadian. Big east-west difference and very evident in "Canadian" responses today.

Both parents Canadian-born

PEI 88.5%
Nova Scotia 79.7%
New Brunswick 83.4%
Quebec 82.6%
Ontario 48.5%
Manitoba 26.1%
Saskatchewan 23.1%
Alberta 19.2%
BC 18.9%

Canada total 53.4%
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  #3  
Old Posted Mar 24, 2018, 5:16 AM
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Interesting to see the multilingual nature of some immigration sources. Mother tongue for selected countries of birth.

Born in Poland

Ukrainian 67,226 39.3%
Polish 61,056 35.7%
Yiddish 24,080 14.1%
German 13,517 7.9%

Born in Romania

Ukrainian 12,809 31.8%
Romanian 8,496 21.1%
German 8,046 20%
Yiddish 7,444 18.5%
Magyar 1,584 3.9%

Born in Russia

German 44,836 39.1%
Yiddish 39,237 34.3%
Russian 22,240 19.4%

Born in United States

English 230,779 67%
French 47,267 13.7%
German 23,675 6.9%
Norwegian 14,432 4.2%
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  #4  
Old Posted Mar 24, 2018, 9:47 AM
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I love these sorts of things.

Going through the 1891 Newfoundland census...

Population of St. John's, City only: 29,007
Population of St. John's District, smaller than current CMA: 36,027
Born in Newfoundland: 34,075

The only other countries we recorded were England, Ireland, Scotland, British Colonies (which includes fellow Dominions such as Canada), and Foreign Countries (literally the rest of the world ).

Beyond that, trying to compare to the Canadian Census of 1931, the closest we have is the Newfoundland Census of 1935.

At that time...

Population of the City of St. John's: 39,886
Population of Newfoundland and her Dependencies (Labrador): 289,516
Born in Newfoundland and her Dependencies: 285,407
Born in England: 571
Born in Scotland: 317
Born in Ireland: 135
Born in Wales: 17
Born in Lesser British Isles: 4
Born in British Possessions: 1,447
(For some reason this is where Canada is counted, which is 1,420 of that total).

And the most delightful one of all:
Born at Sea: 17

Foreign Born: 1,601
And within that category:
United States: 1,032 (anecdotally, much of this would've been families from the Boston area with existing connections to Newfoundland; there was a lot of back and forth between the two at that time)
China: 136
Syria: 81 (again, anecdotally, but today they'd consider their heritage Lebanese and are one of the most well-known, established, "foundational" non-British groups. Even our provincial NDP leader is Lebanese in origin)
France: 61
Poland: 56
St-Pierre et Miquelon (France): 55
Russia: 42
Germany: 32
Others: 106

It's interesting how low the numbers can be compared to their influence. I suppose it has to do with the huge families back then? So you have St. John's as a city of about 40K and 81 people born in Syria/Lebanon. We had huge families then - both my parents have 13 siblings, my maternal grandfather had 22. 5-6 kids would've been a small family so that 81 actually born overseas probably represents several hundred people born in Newfoundland who consciously identify with their Syrian/Lebanese heritage. And even that seems low given their influence - especially commercially.
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Last edited by SignalHillHiker; Mar 24, 2018 at 12:23 PM.
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Old Posted Mar 24, 2018, 7:00 PM
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While I haven't seen Newfoundland stats, the 1931 census showed about 2,000 people of "other Asiatic" origin (basically Syrian-Lebanese) in the Maritimes. That's larger than the East Indian population in BC then.
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Old Posted Mar 24, 2018, 7:24 PM
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Other Asiatic origin, 1931:

Sydney 277 1.2%
Halifax 269 0.5%
Saint John 121 0.3%
Charlottetown 107 0.8%

(virtually all Syrian-Lebanese, but not available at municipal level. 98% of "other Asiatics" with a non-official language as MT in the Maritimes are of "Syrian and Arabic MT").
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Old Posted Mar 24, 2018, 8:15 PM
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The St. John's 1891 data is fascinating.

So China is the most common non-anglosphere country of birth - though I wonder if there's a good number of "missionaries in China" in those numbers and how many are ethnic Chinese.

Russia and Poland I assume are mostly Jews?
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  #8  
Old Posted Mar 24, 2018, 8:25 PM
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I assume actually Chinese. Check any daily from that era and there are a dozen or more advertisements for Chinese laundries. And those would be the more proper ones - most were in the Central Slum:



The Russians and Germans are likely our Jewish community, yes. The Poles, though, are likely not - and not even in St. John's. Quite a lot of them settled in Harbour Breton.
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Old Posted Mar 24, 2018, 9:14 PM
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Looks like the Lebanese Newfoundlanders back in the day often passed through Ellis Island before heading to Newfoundland. Interesting, in light of modern day discussions of immigrant retention, that some early immigrants were passing by North America's largest and most immigrant-dense city, to settle in Newfoundland.

http://www.heritage.nf.ca/articles/s...nic-groups.php

"Immigrants from Mount Lebanon arrived at Newfoundland and Labrador – and elsewhere in North and South America – during the late 19th and early 20th centuries to escape religious persecution, poverty, and military conscription within the Turkish Empire. Most immigrants first landed at Ellis Island in New York Harbour before proceeding to Nova Scotia and then across the Cabot Strait to Newfoundland. These men and women initially referred to themselves as Syrians, Assyrians, or Maronites, but assumed the designation Lebanese after the Republic of Lebanon formed in 1920."

Early Chinese immigrants also docked in Vancouver, then took a long cross-country Canadian route (since they weren't welcome in Canada at the time) to get to Newfoundland.

"Most immigrants disembarked at Vancouver, where they could either remain or continue east. Those wishing to enter Newfoundland and Labrador had to travel by rail to Halifax and then board a steamer to the island of Newfoundland. Because the Canadian government imposed a head tax of $50 on Chinese immigrants after 1885 (which it raised to $500 in 1903), mounted police escorted Newfoundland-bound immigrants for much of their journey east to ensure they did not try to covertly settle in Canada."
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Old Posted Mar 24, 2018, 10:08 PM
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Syrian and Arabic MT, 1931:

Canada total 9,226

PEI 83
Nova Scotia 847
New Brunswick 502
Quebec 3,483
Ontario 3,026
Manitoba 320
Saskatchewan 571
Alberta 211
BC 175

Estimated Syrian-Lebanese population, 1931:

Canada total 10,928

PEI 135
Nova Scotia 1,178
New Brunswick 639
Quebec 3,859
Ontario 3,590
Manitoba 441
Saskatchewan 708
Alberta 346
BC 186

Syrian origin is usually lumped in with "other Asiatics." I calculated the percentage of the other Asiatic group that was not of English or French MT that had Syrian and Arabic MT and assumed that the percenatage was the same for the entire "other Asiatic" population. In Canada as a whole, 74% of "other Asiatics are of Syrian and Arabic MT, and they're the vast majority of "other Asiatics" outside BC.

The Syrian-Lebanese are not only of the most "Eastern" immigrant groups in the early 20th century, but they're probably the only immigrant group whose numbers in the Maritimes exceed those of Western Canada in the 1931 census.
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Old Posted Mar 24, 2018, 10:20 PM
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Asian groups in BC, 1931:

Chinese 27,139 3.9%
Japanese 22,205 3.2%
East Indian (est.) 1,475 0.2%

Virtually all Japanese were in BC but only 58% of Chinese were.

Chinese population outside BC, 1931:

Ontario 6,919
Alberta 3,875
Saskatchewan 3,501
Quebec 2,750
Manitoba 1,732
Maritimes 602
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Old Posted Mar 24, 2018, 10:44 PM
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Who exactly were the "Asiatic" or "Asian" groups in Canada that had a sizeable population at this time -- the Chinese, Japanese, East Indians (mostly Sikhs) and Syrian-Lebanese, right? It's pretty much these four or so, I'm guessing?

Other groups from Asia (be they Turks, Persians, Koreans, Filipinos) are pretty much late 20th century, aren't they?
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Old Posted Mar 24, 2018, 10:46 PM
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Also, I'd be curious, how many Spanish speakers, or Spanish-descent people, be they from Spain itself or Latin America itself were present in the early 20th century.

All the sources I've seen claim Latin American Canadians are almost all a post 1960s and 70s immigrant wave, but I've never seen stats.
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Old Posted Mar 24, 2018, 10:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Capsicum View Post
Who exactly were the "Asiatic" or "Asian" groups in Canada that had a sizeable population at this time -- the Chinese, Japanese, East Indians (mostly Sikhs) and Syrian-Lebanese, right? It's pretty much these four or so, I'm guessing?

Other groups from Asia (be they Turks, Persians, Koreans, Filipinos) are pretty much late 20th century, aren't they?
Yeah pretty much. The rest are pretty much post-1960 immigrants. There's no Census data on the other groups (and Statscan didn't even think East Indians were significant enough to bother counting).

Obviously Japanese Canadians are the most "multi-generational" today since immigration from Japan has been pretty modest.
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Old Posted Mar 24, 2018, 11:17 PM
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Looked up another year - our last census prior to Confederation, 1945.

Population
Newfoundland and Labrador: 321,819
St. John's and Suburbs: 65,256
City of St. John's: 44,603

Religion
Church of Rome: 106,006
Church of England: 100,878
Methodist: 80,094
Salvation Army: 22,571
Pentecostal: 7,558
Other/None: 3,164
Presbyterian: 1,548

Within Other/None, some additional detail is provided:
Moravian: 1,164
Non-Christian Religion: 299
Jewish: 208
No Religion: 98

It must've been a big decision to tell a census taker in 1945 that you're atheist. Regarding Moravians, I'm not sure if they have them elsewhere in Canada, but it's a Czech church and they were the main missionaries in Labrador. Today almost all Moravians in the province would be Innu, Inuit, or Metis. They're most known for their star: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfou...ador-1.4457917

Ethnic Origin

These were often decided and recorded by the census taker, not the individual. Some of these terms are outdated/offensive, but it's what was recorded then. Also, there was always pressure here to underestimate the Irish population, so take that one with a grain of salt. Harbour Grace was even forbidden from voting in a national election when census data suggested it had become majority Catholic - imagine Canada's government not letting francophone regions vote. But can't get upset. We still had it very good compared to some. Joey Smallwood literally said "There are no Indians in Newfoundland" when we joined Canada, and Canada accepted that. All of our Indigenous peoples regard it as a political form of genocide, and have been slowly fighting for their rights ever since - with significant success.

English: 248,297
Irish: 56,038
French: 9,083
Scottish: 4,269
Eskimo: 701
Half-Breed: 527
Indian: 451
Welsh: 399
Scandinavian: 368
Syrian: 279
Chinese: 164
German: 152
Jewish: 145
Netherlands: 90
Russian: 70
Polish: 38
Spanish: 38
Armenian: 6
Negro: 5
Ukrainian: 4
Austrian: 2

Half-Breed is most likely children of one European and one Indigenous parent. Combinations where both parents were European, though common, were recorded as English if either parent was.

Country of Birth
Newfoundland: 316,604
England: 690
Wales: 480
Ireland: 98
Other British Countries: 2,017
Foreign Countries: 1,648

Country of Allegiance

This roughly aligns with citizenship as it was based on passports.

Newfoundland: 321,024
United States: 502
China: 119
France: 31
Poland: 15
Norway: 13
Spain: 6
Sweden: 6
Germany: 4
Other/Passport issued by a country that no longer exists: 90
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Last edited by SignalHillHiker; Mar 24, 2018 at 11:37 PM.
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Old Posted Mar 24, 2018, 11:49 PM
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^ Fascinating.

Yeah it's pretty obvious Irish ancestry was undercounted then. Catholic is a good proxy for Irish origin in Newfoundland.

Even today you have about reporting 20-25% Irish origin and 35% Catholic - certainly the majority of that 10-15% would have some Irish ancestry.
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Old Posted Mar 24, 2018, 11:51 PM
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Do you have ethnic, religion and birthplace data for St. John's?
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Old Posted Mar 25, 2018, 12:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Docere View Post
Asian groups in BC, 1931:

Chinese 27,139 3.9%
Japanese 22,205 3.2%
East Indian (est.) 1,475 0.2%

Virtually all Japanese were in BC but only 58% of Chinese were.

Chinese population outside BC, 1931:

Ontario 6,919
Alberta 3,875
Saskatchewan 3,501
Quebec 2,750
Manitoba 1,732
Maritimes 602
I would imagine that there were relatively few Chinese women, though. Virtually every Chinese person I've seen on the Prairies in my use of historical census data was a male laundryman (maybe the odd restaurant owner in there too).
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Old Posted Mar 25, 2018, 12:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Docere View Post
Do you have ethnic, religion and birthplace data for St. John's?
Not the city, but the district - which is a bit smaller than the current CMA.

Religion
Church of Rome: 31,612
Church of England: 16,382
Methodist: 15,585

The rest are all approximately 1,000 or much fewer.

Ethnic Origin
English: 41,929
Irish: 20,735

The rest are all much fewer, most just in the low hundreds.

Birthplace is almost entirely Newfoundland - only about 1,000 total for other countries, including United Kingdom, Canada, and United States.
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Old Posted Mar 25, 2018, 2:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Docere View Post
Asian groups in BC, 1931:

Chinese 27,139 3.9%
Japanese 22,205 3.2%
East Indian (est.) 1,475 0.2%

Virtually all Japanese were in BC but only 58% of Chinese were.

Chinese population outside BC, 1931:

Ontario 6,919
Alberta 3,875
Saskatchewan 3,501
Quebec 2,750
Manitoba 1,732
Maritimes 602
Quote:
Originally Posted by Docere View Post
Yeah pretty much. The rest are pretty much post-1960 immigrants. There's no Census data on the other groups (and Statscan didn't even think East Indians were significant enough to bother counting).

Obviously Japanese Canadians are the most "multi-generational" today since immigration from Japan has been pretty modest.
Chinese were pretty much the largest group of Asian Canadians through the entire history of Asian immigration to Canada, from the late 1800s to today right?

And they were probably a majority of Asian Canadians up until the liberalization of immigration policy in the 1960s.

In the US, Chinese Americans dropped to 50% or less of Asian Americans in the early 20th century (after which Japanese became the majority of Asian Americans for a while, with the addition of a small Filipino and Korean population, which Canada lacked in any significant number until the 1960s or later), decades pretty soon after the Chinese exclusion act. However, unlike in the US, Canada's way of excluding Chinese immigrants, the head tax, did not stop a rise in Chinese population at the time, until a 1920s ban lowered the Chinese population for a few decades.

I still remember that thread in city discussions a while back about whether "Pan-Asian identity" existed in the US or Canada, and how Canada has very little Pan-Asian identity, which makes sense if Asian more or less meant majority Chinese throughout the majority of the country's history.
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