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Canada's population estimates

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First quarter 2009 (preliminary) (Previous release)

Canada's population increased by 0.26% in the first quarter of 2009, the fastest first-quarter growth rate since 2001.

The increased pace in population growth was due mainly to a rise in the number of non-permanent residents in most of the provinces and territories.

During the first quarter of 2009, the number of non-permanent residents in the country increased by 23,800, compared with an increase of 15,600 in the same quarter of 2008.

At the same time, immigration to Canada reached 50,800 during the first quarter, down by 2,400 from the same quarter of 2008.

As of April 1, 2009, Canada's population was an estimated 33,592,700, up 88,000 from January 1, 2009.

The population rose in every province and territory during the first quarter, except for Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and the Northwest Territories.

Sustained demographic growth in the West

Demographic growth remained higher in Western Canada in the first quarter. The four provinces west of Ontario all posted higher growth rates than the national level, with Alberta again recording the fastest growth among the provinces.

Alberta's population increased 0.59%, more than double the national average during the first quarter. The province's growth rested notably on the highest rate of net interprovincial migration in the country.

Increases in international migration were mainly behind population gains in British Columbia (+0.35%), Saskatchewan (+0.32%) and Manitoba (+0.28%).

Ontario's population exceeds 13 million despite moderate growth

The growth rate of Ontario's population continued to be below the national level. During the first quarter, it rose 0.21% to an estimated 13,014,000. The province registered a net outflow in interprovincial migration of 5,000 people, the largest first-quarter net outflow since 1975. Ontario has constantly lost population through interprovincial migration since the second quarter of 2003.

While still attracting the largest number of new immigrants in the country, Ontario's share continued to diminish. During the first quarter of 2009, the province received slightly less than 42% of new immigrants. From 1986 to 2006, the province received, on an annual basis, more than half of Canada's immigrants.

Quebec posted its strongest first-quarter demographic growth (+0.22%) since 1991. Quebec's number of births is still on the rise. During the first quarter, the province registered 21,300 newborns, a 3.4% increase compared with the same quarter in 2008.

Quebec also posted a marked rise in the number of non-permanent residents. The number of non-permanent residents in Quebec increased by more than 4,500 during the first quarter, more than double the level recorded in the same quarter in 2008.

Note to readers

Due to the seasonality of demographic events, comparisons are made against the same quarter. Unless otherwise stated, the comparisons presented in the text concern the first quarters of 2008 and 2009.

The natural increase is the variation in population size over a given period as a result of the difference between the number of births and deaths.

International migration represents a movement of population between Canada and a foreign country that involves a change in the usual place of residence. A distinction is made with regard to immigrants, emigrants, returning emigrants, net temporary emigrants and net non-permanent residents.

Non-permanent residents (also called temporary residents) are people from another country who have a work or study permit, or who are refugee claimants, and family members living in Canada with them.

In the Atlantic region, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick were the only provinces to post population increases. New Brunswick has not posted a quarterly population loss since the fourth quarter of 2006.

In the North, the populations of Yukon and Nunavut increased faster than the national level during the first quarter of 2009. The Northwest Territories posted a population loss for a fifth quarter in a row.

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 2009 issue of Quarterly Demographic Estimates, Vol. 23, no. 1 (91-002-X, 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.

Table 1

Components and factors of demographic growth
  First quarter 20081 First quarter 20092 First quarter 2008 and first quarter 2009
  number difference
Total growth 82,510 88,006 5,496
Natural increase 23,395 23,013 -382
Births 86,238 87,440 1,202
Deaths 62,843 64,427 1,584
Net international migration 59,115 64,993 5,878
Immigration 53,147 50,775 -2,372
Net non permanent residents 15,550 23,845 8,295
Emigration3 9,582 9,627 45
Updated estimates.
Preliminary estimates.
Emigration also takes into account net temporary emigration and returning emigration.

Table 2

Quarterly demographic estimates
  January 1, 20091 April 1, 20091 January 1 to April 1, 2009
  number % change
Canada 33,504,680 33,592,686 0.26
Newfoundland and Labrador 508,990 508,726 -0.05
Prince Edward Island 140,402 140,638 0.17
Nova Scotia 939,531 939,475 -0.01
New Brunswick 748,319 748,866 0.07
Quebec 7,782,561 7,799,372 0.22
Ontario 12,986,857 13,014,018 0.21
Manitoba 1,213,815 1,217,163 0.28
Saskatchewan 1,023,810 1,027,092 0.32
Alberta 3,632,483 3,653,840 0.59
British Columbia 4,419,974 4,435,344 0.35
Yukon 33,442 33,550 0.32
Northwest Territories 42,940 42,840 -0.23
Nunavut 31,556 31,762 0.65
Preliminary postcensal estimates.
These estimates are based on 2006 Census population counts adjusted for census net undercoverage.