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The Daily

Thursday, March 29, 2007
Fourth quarter 2006 (preliminary)

Today, Statistics Canada releases population estimates for Canada, the provinces and territories, as of January 1, 2007.

These estimates differ from the results of the 2006 Census published March 13, 2007 for two reasons. First, the population estimates are based on the 2001 Census counts, adjusted for net undercoverage, and updated between censuses using information on births, deaths and interprovincial and international migration derived from administrative sources.

Moreover, the 2006 Census provided population counts as of May 16, 2006 while these population estimates are providing population numbers as of January 1, 2007. Population estimates based on the 2006 Census counts, adjusted for net undercoverage, will be available in the fall of 2008. For more information on the subject, consult the detailed explanation.

Population estimates published today show new patterns in interprovincial migration between October and December 2006.

Oil-rich Alberta recorded a slowdown in net gains from interprovincial migration. The province, whose population has been growing rapidly thanks to a booming economy, had a net inflow of 11,800 people in the fourth quarter. This was down from 17,100 for the same period of last year.

As a result, the growth in Alberta's population during the fourth quarter slowed slightly to 0.65%, a bit slower than last year (+0.75%). Even so, this was still more than four times the 0.14% overall increase in Canada's estimated population.

This slowdown occurred in large part because of an increase in people leaving Alberta for other parts of the country. As a result, net gains from interprovincial migration increased for most other provinces, especially British Columbia and Saskatchewan.

Fuelled by this shift in interprovincial migration patterns, Saskatchewan's population rose 0.21% during the fourth quarter. This was the first time in 23 years that the province's quarterly growth was faster than the national average. It was also the first time since 1996 that it recorded an increase in population for three consecutive quarters.

British Columbia was the only other province whose population rose faster (+0.25%) than the national average. Because of net gains in international and interprovincial migration, the province recorded its highest fourth quarter growth rate since 1996. British Columbia's net gains from other provinces were the highest for a fourth quarter since 1995.

The rate of demographic growth in Ontario (+0.04%) was lower than the national average for a second quarter in a row, a situation not observed since 1981. The province's net interprovincial migration from October to December 2006 (-10,100) was the lowest recorded for a fourth quarter since 1974 (-10,700).

Quebec's demographic growth for the last quarter (+0.09%) was similar to what was recorded last year at the same period and stays below the national average. The increase in net interprovincial migration losses offset the increase in births recorded in the province since the beginning of 2006.

In Manitoba, the population growth for the last three months of 2006 (+0.13%) was higher than the same period last year (+0.00%). This growth stays nonetheless lower than the country's average. It can be explained by smaller losses from interprovincial migration and by the highest fourth-quarter increase in immigrants since 1973.

The population rose in both Prince Edward Island (+0.03%) and New Brunswick (+0.02%) during the last quarter, but at a pace slower than the national average. At the same period in 2005, these two provinces experienced losses in population. The decrease in net losses from interprovincial migration explains this change in trends.

The population declined in Nova Scotia (-0.04%), Newfoundland and Labrador (-0.08%) the Northwest Territories (-0.36%) and Yukon (-0.38%) in the fourth quarter of 2006. The population of these four also declined during the fourth quarter of 2005. Yukon is the only area to have recorded larger losses than last year.

Nunavut was the only territory to record population growth. With its strong fertility, the territory had a growth rate (+0.31%) twice as fast as the national average.

As of January 1, 2007, Canada's population was estimated at 32,777,300, up 329,000 from January 1, 2006. During the year, the population grew 1.0%, with international migration accounting for two-thirds of the increase.

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.

The publication Quarterly Demographic Estimates, Vol. 20, no. 4 (91-002-XWE, free) is now available from the Publications page 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.

Tables. Table(s).