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The Daily

Wednesday, June 25, 2008
First quarter 2008 (preliminary)

Alberta posted the strongest demographic growth among the provinces during the first three months of 2008, despite its lowest net increase from interprovincial migration for a first quarter since 1995.

Alberta's population rose by 0.41% over the January to March period to reach an estimated 3,512,400, mainly as a result of strong immigration and net inflows of non-permanent residents. Alberta received 5,300 immigrants and posted a net increase of 4,000 non-permanent residents, both first quarter records.

Saskatchewan had led the provinces in demographic growth the two previous quarters. During the first quarter, its population rose 0.35% to an estimated 1,010,100, the second highest rate of growth among provinces.

It was the highest first quarter increase for Saskatchewan in decades, mainly as a result of record numbers in immigration, interprovincial migration and in non-permanent resident net inflows.

After years of losses, Saskatchewan's population has been rising constantly since April 2006.

Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Columbia were the only provinces to record population growth higher than that of the country. All provinces posted net gains in interprovincial migration, except for Quebec, Ontario and Prince Edward Island.

As of April 1, 2008, Canada's population was estimated at 33,223,800, up by 80,200 from January 1, 2008. The nation's population increased 0.24%, the strongest first quarter growth rate since 2002.

Net international migration on the rise

Net international migration was up in Canada during the first three months of 2008, while natural growth remained stable.

The country had a net inflow of 60,200 people, the highest first quarter net gain in international migration since 2002. Net international migration rose for most provinces and territories.

Canada has received 53,100 new immigrants since the beginning of the year, 5,300 more than last year for the same period. This was virtually on par with the first quarter average of 53,200 observed since 2000.

The number of non-permanent residents was also on the rise. During the first three months of 2008, this number grew by 16,300, the largest net increase for a first quarter since 1990. Most of this increase was recorded in Alberta, Ontario and British Columbia.

As described in the May issue of Canadian Economic Observer, the resource sector boom of recent years is reshaping Canadian demography, especially for Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador. Both provinces have stepped into a new era of prosperity, as the ongoing commodity boom has offered them a unique opportunity to tap into their natural resources as never before.

After years of losses, both provinces are gaining in their population exchanges with other jurisdictions within Canada and are posting sustained demographic growth.

Note to readers

These population estimates are based on 2001 Census counts, adjusted for net undercoverage. New population estimates based on the 2006 Census counts, adjusted for net undercoverage, will be available on September 29, 2008.

Non-permanent residents are people from another country who had a work or study permit, or who were refugee claimants at the time of the census, and family members living in Canada with them.

Atlantic region: Increase in population for all four provinces

All four Atlantic provinces posted a population increase during the first three months of 2008, a feat not observed for a first quarter since 1992.

While natural growth was still negative in the Atlantic provinces, net inflows from both interprovincial and international migrations were on the rise compared with the first quarter of 2007.

Newfoundland and Labrador's population increased for a third quarter in a row, mainly as a result of net gains in interprovincial migration. During the first three months of 2008, the province had a net inflow of 200 people, compared with a net outflow of 1,800 during the same period last year.

Prince Edward Island led the Atlantic region with growth of 0.23%, its strongest first quarter growth since 1983. The province also received a record high number of immigrants for a first quarter.

Nova Scotia had its fastest first quarter population increase since 1991, mainly as a result of the largest net interprovincial migration gains for a first quarter since 1984.

New Brunswick's population growth was positive for a sixth quarter in a row. The province also posted net interprovincial migration inflows for a fifth consecutive quarter, and received its highest number of immigrants for a first quarter since 1975.

Central Canada: Demographic growth for both Ontario and Quebec

Ontario's population rose 0.23% to an estimated 12,891,800. Its first quarter increase was below the national level for the second year in a row.

However, the Ontario increase in the first quarter surpassed the first quarter growth in 2007, due notably to smaller net outflows from interprovincial migration and larger net gains in international migration.

Quebec's population rose 0.18% to an estimated 7,744,500. It was the province's strongest first quarter growth since 1992. Quebec's birth rate is still on the rise and hit its highest level for a first quarter since 1998. During the three first months of 2008, the province recorded its highest first quarter number of births since 1995.

Quebec also posted its highest net international migration gains since 1989 for a first quarter, due mainly to sustained immigration and to a net inflow of non-permanent residents not observed for a first quarter since 1990.

The West: The nation's strongest demographic growth

As has been the case for the last few years, the provinces with the strongest demographic growth were west of Ontario.

British Columbia's population rose by 0.33% to an estimated 4,428,400, posting the third highest growth among provinces, well above the national level. However, this was slightly slower than in the first quarter of 2007, mainly the result of smaller gains from interprovincial migration.

Manitoba's population also increased, but at a slower rate than in the first quarter of 2007. After years of losses, the province posted a net inflow from interprovincial migration for a second consecutive quarter, but its gain from net international migration was slightly below the first quarter of 2007.

Nonetheless, Manitoba's immigration rate was still high and ranked third among the provinces behind Prince Edward Island and Ontario.

The territories: Yukon fastest growing

In the North, the Yukon's population rose by 0.91%, the highest rate in the nation, to reach 31,500. This was the territory's fastest rate of growth since the third quarter of 1995.

During the first three months of 2008, the Yukon had its largest net inflow from interprovincial migration for a first quarter since 1988, and its highest net increase ever in non-permanent residents.

Nunavut's population edged up 0.03%, one of the smallest population gains in its short history. The Northwest Territories was the only jurisdiction in which the population declined (-0.19%). Net outflows in interprovincial migration were the main cause of the current demographic situation in both territories.

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

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

The January to March 2008 issue of Quarterly Demographic Estimates, Vol. 22, no. 1 (91-002-XWE, free), is now available 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; 613-951-2320; fax: 613-951-2307;, Demography Division.

Tables. Table(s).