|Statistics Canada reported that mixed race couples made up 3.3 per cent of all couples. (Shutterstock.com)
Mixed-race couples are becoming an increasingly visible part of the Canadian cultural landscape, and same-sex pairings are leading the trend, according to new Statistics Canada data.
Up to 3.9 per cent of all Canadian couples are now mixed race in one way or another.
Couples where one person is from a visible minority and the other is not make up most of these couples, while couples where both are from different visible minorities make up only 0.6% of all couples.
Almost 10 per cent of same-sex couples are in mixed unions, compared to only 5% of opposite-sex couples.
The visible minorities in these couples are generally young, well-educated, second- or third-generation Canadians, and have a higher median income than their non-mixed couple equivalents. Mixed couples are more likely to have young children at home, too.
Part of the reason for the change could be that the proportion of visible minorities in Canada has increased more than threefold since 1981, and immigration since the 1980s has shifted away from European countries.
Accounting for the fact that most mixed-race couples have at least one Caucasian member is the simple fact Canada, overall, is about 84 per cent Caucasian or of otherwise European descent.
Perhaps predictably, large urban metropolises are home to most mixed-race couples.
Vancouver, Toronto and Calgary had the highest proportions of mixed-race couples as a total of all couples in those cities. Other urban centres like Montreal, Winnipeg and Edmonton rounded out the middle of the list, while Moncton, N.B., St. John's, N.L., and Saguenay, Que., were in a race for the bottom.
But the results change depending on how one looks at the numbers. For example, because many municipalities on the East Coast and in Quebec have smaller visible minority populations, the percentage of that population who choose to partner outside of their minority group is far greater.
From that perspective, Saguenay and Trois Rivieres, Que, top the list, with Moncton and Saint John, N.B., not far behind. Large urban centres suddenly found themselves near the bottom of the list, with Vancouver, Toronto and Abbotsford, B.C., rounding out the bottom three.
This shows that it's far more common for visible minorities in large urban centres to partner with individuals of similar background, while a higher proportion find partners outside their ethnic group in Quebec and Atlantic Canada.