The population of Toronto (2017) is 2,826,497. This makes Toronto the largest city in Canada and the fourth largest city in North America.
The wider Greater Toronto Area (GTA) population was 6,625,695 in 2015. This makes the GTA the largest metropolitan area in Canada (click here to read more about the population of Canada) and the seventh largest metropolitan area in North America.
Located in the south of Ontario, close to the US border, Toronto is Canada’s economic and trading hub. Today, almost one in five (18.1%) Canadians and close to half (44.4%) of all Ontarians live in or around the city of Toronto (in the Greater Toronto Area).
Toronto is widely reported to be the most diverse city in the world. Almost half of the city’s current population was born outside of Canada, a figure that is likely to increase to over 50% in the next few years.
This article contains information about the demographics of Toronto and the wider Greater Toronto Area, including information on population growth, population density, languages, ethnicity, immigration and religion.
Table of Contents
Greater Toronto Area Population
The greater Toronto area (GTA) is made up of the city of Toronto and four neighbouring municipal areas – Halton, Peel, York and Durham. The GTA incorporates a number of other major Canadian cities, including Mississauga, Brampton, Markham, Vaughan, and Richmond Hill.
The GTA is slightly different to the Toronto Census Metropolitan area. A number of towns in the Durham and Halton regions are part of the GTA but not part of the CMA. And a number of towns in Dufferin County and Simcoe County are part of the CMA but not the GTA.
Click here for a detailed table listing the differences between the Toronto GTA and the Toronto CMA.
Largest cities in the Greater Toronto Area
There are 10 cities in the greater Toronto area with a population of more than 100,000 people. Based on data from the 2011 census, Toronto is of course the largest city in the GTA. In 2011 its population was 2,615,060 people.
Mississauga is the next largest city, with a 2011 population of 713,443 people. Not bad considering that Mississauga used to be a suburb of Toronto.
Brampton is the only other city with a 2011 population of more than half a million people; in 2011 its population was 523,911 people.
The table below lists the population of every city in the greater Toronto area with more than 100,000 residents.
|City||Population (2011)||Density / km²|
Toronto Population Growth
The rate of population growth in Toronto is just above the average growth rate for census metropolitan areas in Canada. Between 2005 and 2015 the population of Toronto grew by 17% and, since 2001, the Toronto region’s population has increased by more than 1.2 million people.
This is slightly higher than the rate of population growth in Vancouver (16%) and Ottawa-Gatineau (15%) and considerably higher than the rate of population growth across Canada (11%). However, it is only around half the rate of population growth in Calgary (32%) and Edmonton (31%).
Toronto’s population is expected to continue growing over the next few years – estimates predict growth of just over 100,000 people every year. The Toronto Foundation predicts that the population of the Toronto Census Metropolitan Area will pass 7 million for the first time in 2019.
The table below lists the population of Toronto for every census year since 1901. It also lists the population of the Toronto Census Metropolitan area for every census year since 1971 and the Greater Toronto Area for every census year since 1986.
Toronto Population Density
The city of Toronto covers an area of 630.21 km². Based on the 2011 population of 2,615,060, the population density of the city of Toronto is 4,149.5 people per km².
The Toronto Census Metropolitan Area covers 5,905.71 km². Based on its 2011 population of 5,583,064 people, the Toronto CMA population density is 945.4 people per km².
The Greater Toronto Area covers an area of 7,124.15 km². Based on its population in 2011 of 6,054,191 people, the Greater Toronto Area population density was 849 people per km².
English is the most commonly spoken mother tongue in Toronto. In 2011 53.8% of people in Toronto reported that their mother language was English. Additionally, over two thirds (67.0%) of people in Toronto reported that the language they spoke most often at home was English.
Very few people in Toronto speak French. Only 1.1% of people reported that it was their mother tongue, and just 0.5% of people reported that it was the language they spoke most often at home.
Just over four in every 10 people in Toronto have a mother tongue that is neither English nor French. In total 41.8% of people reported a non-official language as their mother tongue, and 25.3% of people reported that the language they spoke most often at home was neither English and French.
The most commonly spoken non-official mother tongues in Toronto are Italian, Cantonese, and Punjabi. The table below lists the most commonly spoken mother tongues in Toronto.
Ethnicity in Toronto
Almost half (47.0%) of the people who live in Toronto report that they are a member of a visible minority. This is more than double the average percentage across Canada, which is 19.1%. It is broadly comparable to the percentage of visible minorities in Vancouver (45.2%), but significantly higher than in many other major Canadian cities.
In the 2011 census people were asked to report their ethnic origin. The three most common ethnic origins reported in Toronto were English (12.9%), Chinese (12.0%), and Canadian (11.3%). The table below lists ethnic origins reported by more than 5% of the population of Toronto.
In the 2011 National Household Survey people were asked to describe their race. The most commonly reported races in Toronto were White (50.2%), East Asian (12.7%), South Asian (12.3%), and Black (8.5%).
|South East Asian||7.0%|
Of the people who reported their race as Aboriginal, 0.5% were First Nations and 0.2% were Métis.
Immigrants in Toronto
In 2011, 1,258,870 residents of Toronto reported that they were not immigrants. Of those residents, 1,102,465 were born within the province of Ontario. The remaining 156,405 people were born elsewhere in Canada.
In the same year, 1,252,215 residents reported that they were immigrants. A further 64,945 people reported that they were not permanent residents of Canada.
A much higher percentage of residents are Canadian citizens. In 2011 2,214,540 Toronto residents were Canadian citizens. The remaining 361,485 residents were not Canadian citizens.
Religion in Toronto
Christianity is the largest single religious group in Toronto. In total 54.1% of the population of Toronto is Christian.
The next lightest single group is people who report they have no religion (24.2%). This is followed by people who report that they are Muslim (8.2%), Hindu (5.6%), Jewish (3.8%) and Buddhist (2.7%).
Among Christians in Toronto, the largest single denomination is Roman Catholic (28.2%).
This is followed by Protestants (11.9%) and Orthodox Christians (4.3%). A further 9.7% of people in Toronto are members of another Christian denomination.