ROGER SAUVÉ – The People of Cornwall and SD&G – A 10 week feature for the Cornwall Free News – Week 7 – How long has your family been in the area?

ROGER SAUVÉ – The People of Cornwall and SD&G – A 10 week feature for the Cornwall Free News – Week 7 – How long has your family been in the area?

The longer your family heritage in the region, the larger may be your Holiday dinners. Many of our families have been here a long time.

For the first time in 2006, the Census asked us where we were born and where our parents were born. The results enable us to get a rough appreciation of how long our families have lived in Canada. The results only allow us to go back three generations. Could be better but it is a lot better than not knowing at all.

For all of SD&G, about 9% of those aged 15 and up were born outside of Canada (a first generation individual) and an identical 9% had at least one parent born outside Canada ( second generation). The remaining 82% have parents who were both born inside Canada (third or more generation). Only half of all Ontario residents can claim to be third generation. Low third generation typically means that a region attracts a lot of international migration as do cities like Toronto.

North Glengarry and North Stormont have the most persons (86%) who have third generation status while South Dundas has the least (77%).

South Dundas and Cornwall have the most persons (both 10%) of first generation status, meaning that they were born outside of Canada.

The Census asked people about their ethnic origin. Asking about our ethnic origin is touchy since many of us just want to be Canadian. And that is what we put down in our Census forms. Almost half of us in SD&G said our origin was Canadian. Of those that said they were Canadian, over 90% said they were at least third generation. Three cheers for Canada, eh. A few decades ago most would have used a hyphenated origin to describe ourselves. We are slowly abandoning our colonial attitudes.

About one-third said they were of French origin and a huge 94% of this group said they were of third generation or more.

The next largest self proclaimed ethnic origins were English, Scottish, and Irish with each group representing about one-fifth of the population of SD&G. About 88% of both the Scottish and Irish were at least third generation. The ratio was just under 80% for those who were English.

About three-quarters of Germans have been here for three generations or more. About two-thirds of Italians are third generation with about half of Dutch people with the same status.

Most other ethnic groups, with at least 150 residents in each group, had at most 15% who classified themselves as being third generation. These are new Canadians.

You may or may not be surprised by this, but a small percentage of persons indicated that their ethnic origin was Quebecois or Newfoundlander. Of course, this too reflects a Canadian reality. No one claimed an Alberta ethnic origin.

If you do celebrate at this time of year, then have a good time. If you celebrate at some other time, enjoy it when it comes. Mutual respect is the source of good citizenship.

This is my last column this year but I will be back early next year. I plan to have a few big meals, play with the grandkids and do some exercise to burn off the added calories. Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Joyeux Noel.

Roger Sauvé is President of People Patterns Consulting ( Roger is an economist and demographer and lives in Summerstown.

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