Canada's 2006 census counted 31,612,897, an increase of 5.4% since 2001. Population growth is due to immigration and, to a lesser extent, natural growth. About three-quarters of Canada's population lives within 150 kilometres (90 mi) of the U.S. border. A similar proportion live in urban areas concentrated in the Quebec City-Windsor Corridor (notably: the Greater Golden Horseshoe anchored around Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, and their environs), the BC Lower Mainland (Vancouver and environs), and the Calgary-Edmonton Corridor in Alberta.
According to the 2001 census, it has 34 ethnic groups with at least one hundred thousand members each, with 83% (24,618,250 respondents out of 29,639,035 respondents) claiming they are white. The largest ethnic group is English (20.2%), followed by French (15.8%), Scottish (14.0%), Irish (12.9%), German (9.3%), Italian (4.3%), Chinese (3.7%), Ukrainian (3.6%), and First Nations (3.4%); 40% of respondents identified their ethnicity as "Canadian." Canada's aboriginal population is growing almost twice as fast as the Canadian average. In 2001, 13.4% of the population belonged to non-aboriginal visible minorities. In 2001, 49% of the Vancouver population and 42.8% of Toronto's population were visible minorities. In March 2005, Statistics Canada projected that the visible minority proportion will comprise a majority in both Toronto and Vancouver by 2012. According to Statistics Canada's forecasts, the number of visible minorities in Canada is expected to double by 2017.
Canada has the highest per capita immigration rate in the world, driven by economic policy and family reunification; Canada also accepts large numbers of refugees. Newcomers settle mostly in the major urban areas of Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal. By the 1990s and 2000s, almost all of Canada’s immigrants came from Asia.
Canadians practice a wide variety of religions. According to 2001 census,77.1% of Canadians identified as being Christians; of this, Catholics make up the largest group (43.6% of Canadians). The largest Protestant denomination is the United Church of Canada; about 16.5% of Canadians declare no religious affiliation, and the remaining 6.3% were affiliated with religions other than Christianity, of which the largest is Islam numbering 1.9%, followed by Judaism: 1.1%.
Canadian provinces and territories are responsible for education. Each system is similar while reflecting regional history, culture and geography. The mandatory school age ranges between 5–7 to 16–18 years, contributing to an adult literacy rate that is 99%. Postsecondary education is also administered by provincial and territorial governments, who provide most of the funding; the federal government administers additional research grants, student loans and scholarships. In 2002, 43% of Canadians aged between 25 and 64 had post-secondary education; for those aged 25 to 34 the post-secondary attainment reaches 51%.