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Canada's population estimates: Total population, July 1, 2018

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Released: 2018-09-27

Canada's population increased by over half a million in a year

According to preliminary estimates, Canada's population was 37,058,856 on July 1, 2018, up 518,588 from July 1, 2017. This translates into an increase of approximately one person every minute over the last 12 months.

The country's annual population growth rate for 2017/2018 was 1.4%, the highest since 1989/1990 (+1.5%).

Population estimates rebasing

Population estimates released today are the first to be based on the 2016 Census population counts. These new estimates also take into account the 2016 Census net undercoverage and incompletely enumerated Indian reserves. Finally, they include the population change for the period going from May 10, 2016 to the date of the estimate.

The rebasing process is part of the normal procedures carried out after each census in order to ensure the highest possible accuracy of the population estimates. It is expected that population estimates released today differ from those that were published in previous releases and that were based on the 2011 Census. The size of the revisions measured for the 2016 Census cycle is similar to what was noted for previous census cycles.

Canada's population clock (real-time model)

Canada's population clock is updated four times a year on the basis of the quarterly demographic estimates released by Statistics Canada. Because of the population estimates rebasing, the size of today's revision is more pronounced than usual and is equivalent to a correction of about 26 hundredths of a second per minute.

Canada's population clock is an interactive learning tool aiming to give Canadians a sense of the pace of the country's population renewal. The population estimates and Census counts remain the measures used by various government programs.

Canada's population clock is available online in the Features section of our website.

Canada's population growth is the highest among the G7 countries

Canada's recent demographic growth is the highest among the G7 countries. It is twice the growth of the United States (+0.7%) and exceeds the growth in the United Kingdom (+0.6%), France and Germany (+0.3% each). Population is decreasing in Italy and Japan.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Population growth rate, 1997/1998 to 2017/2018, Canada
Population growth rate, 1997/1998 to 2017/2018, Canada

Canada's population growth mainly comes from international migration

The measure of the country's population growth takes into account two factors: natural increase, which is the difference between the number of births and deaths, and international migration, which is the difference between the number of entries and exits (immigration, emigration, non-permanent residents).

The 2017/2018 international migration increase was the highest ever measured in Canada's history. International migration accounted for 79.6% of population growth in 2017/2018, a proportion never observed up to now and attributable to an upward trend since the early 1990s.

The strong 2017/2018 international migratory increase was fueled not only by a high number of permanent immigrants, but also by an important increase in the number of non-permanent residents. Canada welcomed 303,257 immigrants in 2017/2018, the second largest annual number since the beginning of the period covered by the current demographic accounting system (July 1971). In 2015/2016, Canada admitted 323,192 immigrants, including close to 30,000 Syrian refugees.

The number of non-permanent residents increased by 165,729 in 2017/2018. This increase surpassed the previous peak in 1988/1989, the year when the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada was created and the new refugee determination system was introduced. Although also fed by a strong increase of asylum seekers, the increase of the number of non-permanent residents in the country in 2017/2018 was still mainly explained by the rise in the number of work and study permit holders.

Population growth increased in many provinces

Ontario (+1.8%) and Quebec (+1.1%) saw the strongest population growth in nearly 30 years. This level of growth was last seen in 1989/1990 in Ontario (+1.9%) and in 1988/1989 in Quebec (+1.3%).

Alberta's population growth rate was 1.5% in 2017/2018, compared with a growth rate of 1.1% in 2016/2017. This was Alberta's first upturn in population growth after four years of slowdown. This recent surge is mainly due to once-again positive interprovincial migratory exchanges. The province posted a gain of 1,438 people in the last year, compared with a deficit of 15,559 people in 2016/2017.

The 2017/2018 population growth of the Atlantic provinces, with the exception of Newfoundland and Labrador, was among the highest to be measured since the 1980s. Growth was estimated at 1.8% for Prince Edward Island, 1.0% for Nova Scotia and 0.5% for New Brunswick. Meanwhile, the population of Newfoundland and Labrador declined 0.6%.

The acceleration of population growth for many provinces in 2017/2018 mainly came from stronger gains in international migration. Levels in Nova Scotia (+7,419), Quebec (+82,943), Ontario (+192,679), British Columbia (+55,457) and Yukon (+429) were the highest recorded since the beginning of the period covered by the current demographic accounting system (July 1971).

All provinces, with the exception of Newfoundland and Labrador, Ontario, Saskatchewan, and Alberta, saw their number of non-permanent residents increase at an unprecedented pace in 2017/2018. Immigration also remained high for most of the provinces, but the levels measured in 2017/2018 have also been observed in previous years.

Chart 2  Chart 2: Population growth rate, 2016/2017 and 2017/2018, Canada, provinces and territories
Population growth rate, 2016/2017 and 2017/2018, Canada, provinces and territories

Four provinces account for more than 80% of Canada's population

On July 1, 2018, more than 32 million Canadians (86.4%) were living in one of four provinces: Ontario (38.6%), Quebec (22.6%), British Columbia (13.5%) and Alberta (11.6%).

Ontario remained the country's most populated province, with 14,322,757 inhabitants on July 1, 2018. Quebec followed with 8,390,499 people. British Columbia is approaching the five-million mark, with 4,991,687 people.

  Note to readers

For the first time, the estimates released today are based on 2016 Census counts adjusted for census net undercoverage and incompletely enumerated Indian reserves, to which are added the population growth estimates for the period from May 10, 2016, to the date of the estimate. The data starting from July 2001 were also revised.

This analysis is based on preliminary data. These data will be revised over the coming years, and it is possible that some trends described in this study will change as a result of these revisions. Therefore, this analysis should be interpreted with caution.

You are invited to join our AMA (Ask Me Anything) on Reddit tomorrow, Friday, September 28, 2018 at 1:30 p.m., Eastern Time, to discuss this topic. Please note that a Reddit account is required to participate in the discussion.

Upcoming releases

Exceptionally this year, annual population estimates (from July 1, 2017, to July 1, 2018) for the population by age and sex will be released on December 13, later than the release of the annual population estimates (from July 1, 2017, to July 1, 2018) for the total population, released today.

Canada's population estimates for the third quarter will be released on December 20.


For the purpose of calculating rates, the denominator is the average population during the period (the average of the start-of-period and end-of-period populations). For the sake of brevity, the terms growth, population growth and population growth rate have the same meaning.

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 immigrants, returning emigrants and net non-permanent residents, then subtracting emigrants and net temporary emigration.

An immigrant refers to a person who is or has been a landed immigrant (permanent resident) and who has been granted the right to live in Canada permanently by immigration authorities. Immigrants are either Canadian citizens by naturalization (the citizenship process) or permanent residents under Canadian legislation. Some immigrants have resided in Canada for a number of years, while others have arrived recently. Most immigrants are born outside Canada, but a small number are born in Canada. Also, children born in other countries to parents who are Canadian citizens who are temporarily residing in another country are not included in the category as they are Canadian citizens at birth. The terms immigrant, landed immigrant and permanent resident are equivalent.

A non-permanent resident is a person lawfully in Canada on a temporary basis under the authority of a valid document (work permit, study permit, ministerial permit) issued to that person along with members of their family living with them. This group also includes individuals who seek refugee status upon or after their arrival in Canada and remain in the country pending the outcome of processes relative to their claim. Note that Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada uses the term temporary resident rather than non-permanent resident. Net non-permanent residents is calculated by subtracting the number of non-permanent residents estimated at the beginning of the period from the number estimated at the end of the period.

The Group of Seven (G7) is an informal grouping of seven of the world's advanced economies consisting of the United States, Japan, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Italy and Canada. Population growth data on these countries (excluding Canada) are from the U.S. Census Bureau (July 1, 2016, to July 1, 2017), the Statistics Bureau of Japan (October 1, 2016, to October 1, 2017), the Federal Statistical Office of Germany (September 30, 2016, to September 30, 2017), the National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies of France (January 1, 2017, to January 1, 2018), the Office for National Statistics of the United Kingdom (July 1, 2016, to July 1, 2017), and the National Institute of Statistics of Italy (January 1, 2017, to January 1, 2018). The calculations were performed by Statistics Canada.


The Annual Demographic Estimates: Canada, Provinces and Territories, 2018 (total population only) (Catalogue number91-215-X) is now available.

Contact information

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; or Media Relations (613-951-4636;

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