Sikh population nearly doubles in a decade in Canadian city

Toronto, May 9 (IANS) The Sikh population in the city of Abbotsford in the Canadian province of British Columbia almost doubled in the period between 2001 and 2011, show official figures.

Sikhs numbered 28,235 or 16.9 percent of the city’s population compared to 16,780 in 2001, the Vancouver Desi reported citing data from the 2011 National Household Survey conducted by Statistics Canada.

According to Daniel Hiebert, a professor of geography in the University of British Columbia, the settlement of Sikh immigrants in Abbotsford, along with Surrey, also in British Columbia, and Brampton in Ontario, is unique among Canadian immigration patterns.

“Immigrants used to arrive and settle in the big cities and then move out to the suburbs,” the report quoted Hiebert as saying.

“Canadians haven’t seen a lot of this (settling in smaller cities) in the past.”

The new data also revealed that half of the 5,935 immigrants who settled in Abbotsford between 2006 and 2011 came from India, with the next largest number coming from the United Kingdom (nine percent) followed by Americans (4.4 percent).

“The doubling of the Sikh population (in Abbotsford) is adding to the very fabric of what makes our community so unique in its diversity,” Sharanjit Kaur Sandhra, coordinator of the Centre for Indo-Canadian Studies at the University of Fraser Valley, was quoted as saying.

Sikhs comprise 1.4 percent of Canada’s population of around 35 million, according to the new data.

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