For the first time in Canadian history, the 2021 census asked people to disclose whether they’re cisgender, transgender, or non-binary, and the results are in for which big city is the most gender diverse.
Canada is the first country to provide census data on transgender and non-binary people. Approximately 1 out of every 300 people in Canada aged 15 and older in 2021 was transgender or non-binary. https://t.co/MfHSWIgyMq pic.twitter.com/c5j11rzTfx
— Statistics Canada (@StatCan_eng) April 27, 2022
Canada’s most (and least) gender diverse cities
The most gender-diverse big city in Canada is Victoria, BC.
That’s true despite the fact that Nova Scotia has the highest proportion of transgender and non-binary people over the age of 15 among all provinces and territories at 0.48%.
It was followed by Yukon at 0.47% and British Columbia at 0.44%.
About 0.75% of the people in Victoria were gender diverse, compared to 0.66% in Halifax and 0.6% in Fredericton.
“A number of factors could explain the greater gender diversity in these urban centres,” said the census findings.
“Victoria, Halifax, and Fredericton experienced stronger population growth from 2016 to 2021 than the national average. Moreover, in 2021, Halifax (27.6%) and Fredericton (26%) had larger proportions of people aged 15 to 34 than the national average (25%).”
The top three cities are also “home to several major colleges and universities, and, since students tend to be younger, this could explain the proportionally higher presence of transgender and non-binary people.”
The three big cities with the lowest gender diversity were all in Quebec: Drummondville (0.17%), Saguenay (0.17%), and Trois-Rivières (0.20%).
“The populations of these urban centres are generally older,” said the census.
In BC, more than 18,000 people identified as trans or non-binary.
General gender-based findings from the census
There were almost 30.5 million Canadians over the age of 15 living in private households in May 2021.
Of those millions, data shows 100,815 people were transgender (59,460) or non-binary (41,355) — making 1 in 300 residents gender diverse across the country.
Just over half of non-binary people over the age of 15 lived in one of Canada’s six largest cities: Toronto (15.3%), Montréal (11.0%), Vancouver (10.8%), Ottawa–Gatineau (5.6%), Edmonton (5.4%) and Calgary (4.5%).
Nearly 1 in 6 non-binary people from the same age group lived in a major downtown core, more than double the rates for trans people and tripling the rates for cis people.
Join us for an engaging webinar on May 4 to get a better understanding of the new data on age, type of dwelling, sex at birth and gender from the second release from the #2021Census. Sign up today: https://t.co/FMDRfwinK8 pic.twitter.com/igMt45dOWn
— Statistics Canada (@StatCan_eng) April 26, 2022
The census also found there were more trans men than trans women in Canada in 2021.
And young people born from 1996 to 2006 were three to seven times more likely to identify as trans or non-binary than for members of Generation X or anyone else born before 1980.
“Over time, the acceptance and understanding of gender and sexual diversity has evolved,” said the census.
“Further, there has been social and legislative recognition of transgender, non-binary and LGBTQ2+ people in general. Younger generations may be more comfortable reporting their gender identity than older generations.”
Canada releases the first ever census data internationally on trans people
🏳️⚧️ 0.33% of Canadians are trans or non-binary
🏳️⚧️ There were slightly more trans men than trans women (32k vs 28k)
🏳️⚧️ ~0.02% of over 60s are non-binaryhttps://t.co/sMiXMcQdyJ
— Katy Montgomerie (@KatyMontgomerie) April 27, 2022
What’s more, the census showed disturbing discrepancies in the life expectancies for cisgender people as opposed to trans and non-binary folks.
It reads, “In May 2021, the Canadian population aged 15 and older had an average age of 48.0 years. In comparison, the transgender population had an average age of 39.4 years, while the non-binary population had an average age of 30.4 years.”
It also found trans and non-binary people reported poorer mental health outcomes.
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All the figures reported could be higher in actuality, since not everybody responds to the national census and some people may not have answered truthfully.
I imagine that number is actually much higher, given the amount of trans people I know who didn’t answer that question truthfully, for fear of having their trans status recorded by the government.
— Nicola Spurling (@NicESpurling) April 27, 2022
According to the federal government, Canada is the first country ever to collect and publish data on gender diversity from a national census in this way.