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Canada's population estimates, fourth quarter 2015

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Released: 2016-03-16

Quarterly population estimate


January 1, 2016


(quarterly change)

Canada's population surpasses 36 million

According to preliminary estimates, Canada's population was estimated at 36,048,500 on January 1, 2016, up 62,800 from October 1, 2015. In the fourth quarter, Canada's population growth rate was 0.17%, twice the rate observed for the same quarter in 2014 (+0.08%).

Over the last year, population growth slowed slightly from 1.04% in 2014 to 0.95% in 2015. This slowdown was much greater in Alberta (from +2.38% to +1.72%), Yukon (from +1.78% to +0.71%) and the Northwest Territories (from +0.70% to +0.28%).

International migration main source of population growth

In the fourth quarter, natural increase was 27,400 (the difference between 95,300 births and 67,900 deaths), based on preliminary estimates. During the same period, net international migration was 35,400, up 600 from the same quarter in 2014, which had recorded the lowest level for a fourth quarter since 1971.

Population growth positive in most provinces and territories for second consecutive quarter

For a second consecutive quarter, population growth was positive in all provinces and territories, except Yukon. Population growth in the fourth quarter was higher than the national average (+0.17%) in Manitoba (+0.41%), Nunavut (+0.40%), Alberta (+0.36%) and Saskatchewan (+0.32%).

  Note to readers

Estimates released today are based on 2011 Census counts adjusted for census net undercoverage and incompletely enumerated Indian reserves to which are added the estimated demographic growth for the period from May 10, 2011 to December 31, 2015.

These estimates are not to be confused with the 2011 Census population counts that were released on February 8, 2012.

For the purpose of calculating rates, the denominator is the average population (the average of the start-of-period and end-of-period populations) during the period. These are quarterly rates. To lighten the text, the terms "growth," "population growth," and "population growth rate" mean the same thing, a quarterly population growth rate.


Natural increase is the difference between the number of births and deaths.

Net international migration basically refers to the total number of moves between Canada and abroad that result in a change in the usual place of residence. It is calculated by adding immigration, returning emigration and net non-permanent residents and by subtracting emigration and net temporary emigration.


The fourth quarter 2015 issue of Quarterly Demographic Estimates, Vol. 29, no. 4 (Catalogue number91-002-X), is now available from the Browse by key resource module of our website under Publications.

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