Diversity in our Communities
Immigration and diversity highlights for Whistler, Squamish, the Sea to Sky and Sunshine Coast from Census 2021
This page presents key data about the immigration and diversity demographics of Whistler and other Sea to Sky communities. Sources used are Statistics Canada Census 2021 and Census 2016 (see links at bottom of page).
Immigrants percentage of population
Whistler has the highest percentage of immigrants per population and the percentage has increased more than elsewhere in the Sea to Sky & the Sunshine Coast 2016-2021. At 24.73% Whistler is slightly higher than the average of 22.6% across Canada. In British Columbia immigrants account for 28.5% of the population.
Temporary Foreign Workers
Non-permanent residents includes temporary foreign workers (and their families), international students and refugee claimants. In Whistler, where this category predominantly relates to temporary foreign workers and their families, there are significantly more Temporary Foreign Workers (by number and percentage) than other communities in the Sea to Sky & the Sunshine Coast, although Squamish had a bigger increase in actual number of Temporary Foreign Workers from 2016 to 2021. Across Canada, non-permanent residents represent 2.55% of the population; in BC 3.48%.
Visible Minority populations
The visible minority population across the region is growing but remains well below the levels elsewhere in the country. In Whistler, the change from 2016 to 2021 was an increase from 10.2% to 12.8%; Squamish increased from 14.8% to 15.3%; a similar increase is seen on the Sunshine Coast from 6.8% to 9.1%. Comparatively, in Metro Vancouver over 50% identify as visible minorities, in BC 34.4%, and across Canada 26.5%.
Across the region, there are strong communities of South Asian, Chinese, Filipino, Japanese and Latin American origin. See separate charts below for community-specific details.
Census 2021 reports Filipino, Japanese and Chinese as the top three visible minorities in Whistler followed by Latin American, South Asian, Southeast Asian and Black. Compare these to the figures for mother tongue (below).
The long-standing South Asian population stands out in Squamish, but there are growing populations of Filipinos, and Latin Americans. Comparison with mother tongue statistics can be seen below.
Along the Sunshine Coast, the Filipino population dominates the visible minorities chart, followed by South Asian, Chinese, Southeast Asian, Japanese and Black.
Languages spoken: Whistler
In contrast to the visible minorities statistics (above), Whistler per 2021 census shows the main language groups to be Filipino, Japanese, Spanish, Czech with other notable groups speaking Korean, Slovak, Chinese, German, Polish, Portuguese and Arabic. These statistics reflect the mother tongues of clients accessing newcomer services at Whistler Welcome Centre.
Languages spoken: Squamish
The dominant mother tongue spoken in Squamish in 2021 was Indian (Hindi, Punjabi, Gujarati...) followed by Spanish, Filipino, German, and Chinese. The range of languages spoken reflects the great diversity of the population.
Languages spoken: Sunshine Coast
The Sunshine Coast mother tongue profile is quite different with a large number of German speakers on the Sunshine Coast, followed by Chinese, Filipino, Dutch, Vietnamese, Spanish, Indian and Polish.
Canadians by generation
Whistler has a fairly low level of third-generation or more Canadians compared to Squamish and especially the Sunshine Coast - although this could simply be a reflection of how new the community is.
Immigrants' date of arrival
Immigrants living on the Sunshine Coast arrived in Canada much earlier than those living in the Sea to Sky. Where we see fewer recent arrivals in Canada on the Sunshine Coast, the trend across the Sea to Sky is for immigrants to be increasingly new arrivals.
Data sources and links
Whistler District Municipality 2016 and Whistler District Municipality 2021
Squamish District Municipality 2016 and Squamish District Municipality 2021
Sunshine Coast Regional District 2016 and Sunshine Coast Regional District 2021
Squamish Lillooet Regional District (SLRD) 2016 and Squamish Lillooet Regional District 2021
Other links to local demographic data:
Resort Municipality of Whistler
For comparison purposes, see an analysis of Canada's Cultural Diversity in 2021. Also interesting is this infographic for Canada showing how there's an increasing diversity of languages, other than English or French, spoken at home.