Toronto has an estimated population of just over 2.8 million in 2016, which makes it the 4th most populous city in North America and the most populous Great Lakes city. Toronto, which is located on Lake Ontario, is the most populous city in Canada and the provincial capital of Ontario.
Toronto has an estimated population of 2.81 million in 2016. The greater census metropolitan area (CMA) has a much larger population of 5.9 million.
City Size and Population Density
It is the most populous city in Canada and the largest urban and metro area, with a population density of 4,149.5 people per square kilometer (10,750/sq mi). The metro area of the city sprawls outward to a total surface area of 5,905.71 km2 (2,280.21 sq mi).
According to the 2016 Census, the racial composition of Toronto was:
- White: 50.2%
- East Asian: 12.7% (10.8% Chinese, 1.4% Korean, 0.5% Japanese)
- South Asian: 12.3%
- Black: 8.5%
- Southeast Asian: 7.0% (5.1% Filipino)
- Latin American: 2.8%
- West Asian: 2.0%
- Arab: 1.1%
- Aborginal: 0.7% (0.5% First Nations, 0.2% Metis)
- Two or more races: 1.5%
- Other race: 1.3%
The most common ancestry groups were: English (12.9%), Chinese (12.0%), Canadian (11.3%), Irish (9.7%), Scottish (9.5%), East Indian (7.6%), Italian (6.9%), Filipino (5.5%), German (4.6%), French (4.5%), and Polish (3.8%). Other common groups include Portuguese, Jamaican, Jewish, Ukranian and Russian.
Foreign-born people account for nearly half of the population of Toronto. This gives Toronto the second-highest percentage of foreign-born residents of all world cities after Miami. Unlike Miami, Toronto has no dominant culture or nationality, which also makes it one of the world's most diverse cities. 49% of the city's population belong to a visible minority group (compared to 14% in 1981), and visible minorities are expected to hit a majority of 63% of the Toronto CMA population by 2017.
Christianity is the most common religion in the city at 54.1%, with 28% of the population being Catholic, followed by Protestant (12%), Christian Orthodox (4.3%) and other denominations (10%). Other common religions include Islam (8%), Hinduism (5.6%), Judaism (4%), and Buddhism (3%). Almost a quarter of the city's population has no religious affiliation.
Women outnumber men significantly (48% male versus 52% female) in Toronto.
The Toronto area was inhabited by the Iroquois when Europeans first arrived, who had displaced the Wyandot people centuries before. By 1701, the Mississauga has displaced the Iroquois. French traders constructed Fort Rouille in the area in 1750, although it was abandoned just nine years later.
During the American Revolutionary War, the area saw a large influx of British settlers, and the British negotiated the Toronto Purchase in 1787 to secure 1,000 square kilometers of land in the area. In 1793, the town of York was established as the capital of Upper Canada.
In 1813, during the War of 1812, the Battle of York ended when the town was captured by the United States. Its surrender was negotiated and much of the town was destroyed. In 1834, York was eventually incorporated as the City of Toronto, reverting to the original native name, which is likely a derivative of the Iroquis word tkaronto ("place where trees stand in the water.")
At the time, the population was just 9,000 and it included many escaped African American slaves. The first real population boom came during the Great Irish Famine, when many Irish people came to the city, and by 1851, became the single largest ethnic group in Toronto. Through the late 19th century and early 20th century, more immigrants came to Toronto, including Italians, French, Germans, and Jews, and later Poles, Russians, Chinese and others.
Toronto Population Growth
In 2013, Toronto's population overtook Chicago's, taking its place as the 4th largest city in North America with a population of 2.79 million to Chicago's 2.7 million. Toronto added 38,000 people in 2013, compared to just 11,000 in Chicago. Toronto's growing population and economy is also leading to more people choosing to stay in the city rather than leave to surrounding areas.
For the past five years, the population growth in the Toronto metropolitan area has outpaced the national average, during which time most of the economy was hit hard by the economic downturn.
Over the next 20 years, Toronto is expected to continue its moderate growth, surpassing 3 million by 2026, and reaching nearly 3.2 million in 2036.