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Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Canada's population

Fourth quarter 2005

Alberta's population increased at more than five times the national average during the last three months of 2005, as record numbers of people flocked to the booming province from other regions of Canada.

The province's population increased 0.76% during the fourth quarter, with net interprovincial migration accounting for just over two-thirds of the net growth. This was well above the 0.14% rate of growth for Canada's population as a whole.

As of January 1, 2006, Alberta's population was estimated at nearly 3,306,400. In terms of absolute numbers, Alberta's gain of 25,100 was the highest ever attained in a fourth quarter. Only during the oil boom period of 1979/1980 was there similar growth.

Of this 25,100 gain, an estimated 17,100 resulted from net interprovincial migration, which was an all-time high for any quarter.

Inevitably when one region exerts such a powerful draw, the demography of the other regions is affected. As a result, 7 of Canada's 13 provinces and territories experienced a decline in their population during the fourth quarter. Only twice since 1971 have so many regions recorded a decline during the same quarter.

Apart from Alberta, the only two regions to record a growth rate above the national average were British Columbia (+0.19%) and Nunavut (+0.37%). Three others recorded positive growth, but below the national average: Quebec (+0.09%), Ontario (+0.08%) and Manitoba (+0.02%).

The four Atlantic provinces lost population in the fourth quarter, as did Saskatchewan, the Yukon and the Northwest Territories.

Nationally, Canada's population hit an estimated 32,422,900 as of January 1, 2006, which was a net gain of 44,800. This was the largest fourth-quarter increase since 2001.

The gain was due mainly to an increase in the number of immigrants arriving in Canada. Canada received 55,400 immigrants between October and December, up 7,300 from the same period of 2004. It was the largest fourth-quarter total since 2000 when 57,500 arrived.

International immigration increased in almost every region of Canada, offsetting the pull exerted by Alberta. Without this input from abroad, Manitoba would have lost population. Similarly, the demographic growth of British Columbia would have declined six-fold and that of Quebec by half.

Available on CANSIM: tables 051-0005, 051-0006, 051-0017, 051-0020, 051-0037, 051-0045, 053-0001.

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

Detailed information is available in Quarterly Demographic Statistics, Vol. 19, no. 4 (91-002-XIE, $9/$27), which is now available online.

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

Canada's population1
  October 1, 2004PR January 1, 2005PR October 1, 2005PP January 1, 2006PP October to December
          2004 2005
          % variation
Canada 32,069,999 32,107,043 32,378,122 32,422,919 0.12 0.14
Newfoundland and Labrador 517,112 517,339 515,591 514,409 0.04 -0.23
Prince Edward Island 137,762 137,771 138,278 138,157 0.01 -0.09
Nova Scotia 938,821 938,339 938,116 936,988 -0.05 -0.12
New Brunswick 752,313 752,266 751,726 751,111 -0.01 -0.08
Quebec 7,566,136 7,573,726 7,616,645 7,623,870 0.10 0.09
Ontario 12,454,171 12,462,445 12,589,823 12,599,364 0.07 0.08
Manitoba 1,173,358 1,174,959 1,178,109 1,178,348 0.14 0.02
Saskatchewan 995,351 994,687 992,995 990,930 -0.07 -0.21
Alberta 3,215,869 3,226,301 3,281,296 3,306,359 0.32 0.76
British Columbia 4,215,695 4,225,623 4,271,210 4,279,462 0.24 0.19
Yukon 30,791 30,862 31,235 31,150 0.23 -0.27
Northwest Territories 42,973 43,015 42,965 42,526 0.10 -1.02
Nunavut 29,647 29,710 30,133 30,245 0.21 0.37
PRUpdated postcensal estimates.
PPPreliminary postcensal estimates.
1.These estimates are based on the 2001 census counts adjusted for net under coverage.

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Date Modified: 2006-03-30 Important Notices