The Daily
Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Canada's population

As of July 1, 2006

Net international migration continues to be the main engine of population growth in Canada, accounting for about two-thirds of the annual increase in 2005/2006.

Between July 1, 2005 and July 1, 2006, Canada's population increased by 324,000 to an estimated 32,623,500.

During this period, the nation took in 254,400 immigrants, 9,800 more than in the previous year. It was the highest level since 2001/2002 when 256,300  nternational migrants arrived in Canada.

International migration's role in Canada's population growth far exceeds its impact in the United States. In 2004/2005, net international migration accounted for two-thirds of Canada's population growth, compared to 38% south of the border. For its population gains, the United States counts on a fertility which is higher than in Canada.

Again, Alberta had the strongest growth rate among the provinces and territories, almost three times higher than the national average. This was due to its booming economy and its highest ever level of migration from other parts of Canada.

Alberta's powerful attraction inevitably had an impact on the demography of other provinces and territories. However, net international migration reduced the effects of the Alberta draw in several areas in the country.


Population growth: Variation of population size between two dates. It can also be obtained by summing the natural increase, total net migration and if possible, residual deviation. It can be positive or negative.

Natural increase: Variation in population size over a given period as a result of the difference between the numbers of births and deaths.

Net International migration: International migration represents movement of population between Canada and a foreign country which involves a change in the usual place of residence. Net international migration is obtained according to the following formula: Immigrants + returning emigrants + net non-permanent residents - (emigrants + net temporary emigrants)

Net Interprovincial migration: Interprovincial migration represents movement from one province or territory involving a permanent change in residence. A person who takes up residence in another province or territory is an out-migrant with reference to the province or territory of origin, and an in-migrant with reference to the province or territory of destination. Net interprovincial migration represents the difference between in-migrants and out-migrants for a given province or territory.

Canada's population growth slightly higher than in the United States

Between July 1, 2005 and July 1, 2006, Canada's population increased at the rate of 10.0 people for every 1,000 in the population. This rate was near the average of 10.2 per 1,000 seen since the beginning of the millennium.

Recently, Canada's growth rate has been slightly higher than in the United States. In 2004/2005, the last year for which statistics were available, the United States increased at a rate of 9.3 per 1,000, compared to 9.6 in Canada.

Canada's rate of natural increase (the excess of births over deaths) estimated at 3.3 per 1,000 in 2005/2006, is similar to the previous year. Natural increase has been in a long-term decline since the beginning of the 1990s, although it has stabilized since 2000.

On the other hand, international migration gained in importance and has accounted for more than 60% of Canada's population growth since 2001. Comparatively, it represented 46.2% of the country's demographic growth from 1990 to 1995.

According to medium-growth scenarios of Statistics Canada's most recent demographic projections (91-520-XIE, free), the number of deaths would exceed the number of births by around 2030. At that point, net international migration would become the only factor in Canada's population growth.

The provinces and territories: A demography affected by Alberta's powerful draw

The population of Alberta increased at the rate of 29.5 per 1,000 in the year up to July 1, 2006 — the fastest in the country and almost three times the national average.

During this period, Alberta posted a record high net interprovincial migration of 57,100 persons, which is 22,700 more than in the previous year. This migration accounted for 58.2% of Alberta's population growth. Moreover, the Alberta natural growth remains the highest amongst Canadian provinces.

Alberta's powerful draw inevitably affected the demography of other Canadian regions. Of the 13 provinces and territories, 10 showed a negative net interprovincial migration. British Columbia (+3,800) and Nunavut (+100) were the only other regions to record interprovincial gains.

However, international migration reduced the effects of the Alberta draw for several Canadian regions. Last year, net international migration was the biggest driver of demographic growth for 8 of the 10 provinces.

British Columbia also posted a population growth rate (12.3 per 1,000) higher than the national average and reached just over 4,310,500. This was notably the result of gains in international migration, which accounted for 72.1% of its total growth.

Manitoba's population increased (3.1 per 1,000), mainly because of a record high 8,900 immigrants, while Saskatchewan's population fell for the 9th time in 10 years.

Ontario's growth rate of 10.2 per 1,000 was just over the national average, thanks to a strong net international migration that offset growing losses to other provinces.

Quebec's population grew at a slower pace (7.1 per 1,000) to 7,651,500. While immigration stayed high, albeit slightly lower than last year, the number of births in the province was on the rise and reached a peak not observed since 1996/1997.

In the Atlantic region, Prince Edward Island was the only jurisdiction with a positive growth rate. Newfoundland and Labrador, which lost population for the 14th year in a row, was the first Canadian jurisdiction to experience more deaths than births over the course of one year.

In the North, Nunavut recorded a rate of growth more than twice the national average, thanks to a fertility rate that was double the national average. The Yukon posted its slowest population growth in four years, while the Northwest Territories incurred its biggest population decline since 1997/1998.

Third consecutive increase in immigration rate

Canada's rate of immigration rose to 7.8 per 1,000, the third consecutive annual increase and the highest since 2001/2002 when it was 8.2 per 1,000.

More than 52% of immigrants, around 133,100, chose Ontario as their new place of residence. This was the lowest proportion since 1993/1994. The province's attraction for immigrants has been declining since the turn of the millennium.

The second most popular destination for immigrants was British Columbia, which jumped into second place, passing Quebec for the first time since 2000/2001. British Columbia received 43,900 newcomers, the highest since 1996/1997, which was a period of strong immigration from Hong Kong. Quebec received 42,000 immigrants, and for the first time since the beginning of the 1990s surpassed the 40,000 mark for a third consecutive year.

Ontario and British Columbia were the only jurisdictions where the rate of growth in immigration was higher than the national average in the year up to July 1, 2006.

Second quarter 2006: Mirrors the year

Canada's population increased by 99,600 people between April and June this year. Net international migration remained high and Alberta continued to attract Canadians from other parts of the country.

The annualized demographic growth rate of 12.2 per 1,000 was virtually identical to the average for the second quarter during the last 10 years.

International migration accounted for almost 70% of second-quarter population growth. In contrast, it accounted for 52.1% of the growth during the second quarters of the 1990s.

Nunavut posted the highest annualized growth rate in the country (38.3 per 1,000), more than three times the Canadian average. This was due to its continuing strong fertility and a net interprovincial migration, which was the highest for any second quarter since 2002.

Because of gains in interprovincial migration, Alberta again showed strong growth during the second quarter (28.0 per 1,000), more than twice the national average. In absolute numbers, its population gain of 23,500 was the highest for a second quarter since 1980.

Because of strong immigration, British Columbia (14.2 per 1,000) and Ontario (13.7 per 1,000) were the only other jurisdictions to post a growth rate higher than the national average.

Quebec's growth rate remained stable because of an increase in its natural growth estimated at 7,200, the highest since 1998. This was partly due to an increase in the number of births. An estimated 20,600 babies were born in Quebec between April and June, the highest number since 1997. This was the second consecutive quarter in which a notable increase in the number of births was observed in Quebec.

The situation is similar in Alberta. The number of Albertan births during a second quarter has steadily been increasing since 2000. One has to go back as far as 1992 to observe as many births between April and June.

Available on CANSIM: tables 051-0004 to 051-0006, 051-0017 to 051-0020, 051-0037, 051-0045 and 053-0001.

Definitions, data sources and methods: survey numbers, including related surveys, 3231, 3233 and 3601.

The publications Quarterly Demographic Estimates, Vol. 20, no. 2 (91-002-XIE, free) and Annual Demographic Estimates, 2005/2006 (91-215-XIE, free) are now available online from the Publications module of our website.

For more information, to obtain additional data, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Client Services (toll-free 1-866-767-5611 or 613-951-2320; fax: 613-951-2307;, Demography Division.

Annual demographic estimates1
  July 1, 2004PR July 1, 2005PR July 1, 2006PP  2004/2005  2005/2006
        Demographic growth
  number number rate (per 1,000) number rate (per 1,000)
Canada 31,989,454 32,299,496 32,623,490 310,042 9.6 323,994 10.0
Newfoundland and Labrador 517,209 513,962 509,677 -3,247 -6.3 -4,285 -8.4
Prince Edward Island 137,876 138,176 138,519 300 2.2 343 2.5
Nova Scotia 937,993 936,130 934,405 -1,863 -2.0 -1,725 -1.8
New Brunswick 752,080 751,481 749,168 -599 -0.8 -2,313 -3.1
Quebec 7,548,589 7,597,768 7,651,531 49,179 6.5 53,763 7.1
Ontario 12,416,749 12,558,669 12,686,952 141,920 11.4 128,283 10.2
Manitoba 1,170,475 1,174,148 1,177,765 3,673 3.1 3,617 3.1
Saskatchewan 994,888 989,957 985,386 -4,931 -5.0 -4,571 -4.6
Alberta 3,206,953 3,277,582 3,375,763 70,629 21.8 98,181 29.5
British Columbia 4,203,315 4,257,833 4,310,452 54,518 12.9 52,619 12.3
Yukon 30,896 31,121 31,229 225 7.3 108 3.5
Northwest Territories 42,798 42,629 41,861 -169 -4.0 -768 -18.2
Nunavut 29,633 30,040 30,782 407 13.6 742 24.4
PRupdated postcensal estimates
PPpreliminary postcensal estimates
1.These estimates are based on the 2001 census counts adjusted for net undercoverage.

Quarterly demographic estimates1
  April 1, 2005PR July 1, 2005PR April 1, 2006PP July 1, 2006PP 2005 2006
          Demographic growth between April and July
  number number annualized rate (per 1,000) number annualized rate (per 1,000)
Canada 32,197,574 32,299,496 32,523,898 32,623,490 101,922 12.6 99,592 12.2
Newfoundland and Labrador 514,956 513,962 510,431 509,677 -994 -7.7 -754 -5.9
Prince Edward Island 137,914 138,176 138,306 138,519 262 7.6 213 6.2
Nova Scotia 936,602 936,130 934,281 934,405 -472 -2.0 124 0.5
New Brunswick 752,017 751,481 749,920 749,168 -536 -2.9 -752 -4.0
Quebec 7,582,204 7,597,768 7,635,319 7,651,531 15,564 8.2 16,212 8.5
Ontario 12,508,380 12,558,669 12,643,698 12,686,952 50,289 16.0 43,254 13.7
Manitoba 1,174,038 1,174,148 1,175,948 1,177,765 110 0.4 1,817 6.2
Saskatchewan 991,824 989,957 985,036 985,386 -1,867 -7.5 350 1.4
Alberta 3,254,698 3,277,582 3,352,235 3,375,763 22,884 28.0 23,528 28.0
British Columbia 4,241,223 4,257,833 4,295,191 4,310,452 16,610 15.6 15,261 14.2
Yukon 31,026 31,121 31,198 31,229 95 12.2 31 4.0
Northwest Territories 42,800 42,629 41,845 41,861 -171 -16.0 16 1.5
Nunavut 29,892 30,040 30,490 30,782 148 19.8 292 38.1
PRupdated postcensal estimates
PPpreliminary postcensal estimates
1.These estimates are based on the 2001 census counts adjusted for net undercoverage.

Send this article to another person
 E-mail to:    

 Your name:   
 Your e-mail:   

Navigation and search

Note: This page contains several navigation menus. To enhance accessibility, most of these menus and the site search box are grouped in this section.

To find out more about accessibility features on our site, read our accessibility page.

Page navigation menu

  1. Page content
  2. Site navigation menu
  3. Site utility menus
  4. Site search
  5. Important notices
  6. Top of page
  7. Date modified