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Canada's population estimates: Age and sex, July 1, 2021

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Released: 2021-09-29

Border restrictions slow population growth

Canada's population growth has slowed following border restrictions to curb the spread of COVID-19. Although the population continued to grow during the 12-month period ending on June 30, 2021 (year 2020/2021), the pace of growth (estimated at +0.5%) was less than half the growth measured a year earlier (+1.2%) and the slowest population growth since 1915/1916 (+0.3%) during the First World War.

Canada's population grew by 208,904 year over year to an estimated 38,246,108 as of July 1, 2021. In comparison, the Canadian population grew at over twice that pace (+435,974 people) during the same period in 2019/2020.

Although the number of COVID-19-related deaths slowed population growth over the past year, border restrictions have had the greatest impact by vastly reducing international migration flows.

As of July 1, Canada's population grew by 156,503 year over year due to international migration. This was less than half the growth in 2019/2020 (+362,558 people).

Borders restrictions impacted Canada's international migration in different ways. Permanent immigration fell from 284,157 in 2019/2020 to 226,203 this year, while the number of temporary immigrants declined 42,884, after steadily increasing in recent years.

The number of Canadians returning from abroad also fell, from a record 54,524 in 2019/2020 to 8,256 for the year ending on June 30, 2021.The record high in 2019/2020 was fuelled by many Canadians returning home on the advice of the Canadian government, while the record low in 2020/2021 is the result of border restrictions.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Population growth rate, 2000/2001 to 2020/2021, Canada
Population growth rate, 2000/2001 to 2020/2021, Canada

Signs of recovery in international migration

Although international migration has not yet returned to its pre-pandemic levels, some signs of recovery have been seen since the beginning of 2021.

For example, international migration rose from 24,329 in the second quarter of 2020 to 75,084 in the same quarter of 2021.

Nevertheless, this growth is lower than the estimated growth for the second quarter of 2019 (+153,468), before the pandemic.

Strong interprovincial migration toward British Columbia and Atlantic Canada

Interprovincial migration has also begun to return to its pre-pandemic levels. For example, the number of Canadians who moved to a different province or territory fell from 138,451 in the last six months of 2019 to 111,259 over the same period in 2020. However, from January to June 2021, interprovincial migration rose sharply to 202,989, surpassing the 158,354 Canadians who relocated within Canada during the same period in 2019.

British Columbia saw the largest increase in interprovincial migration (+34,277) nationally in 2020/2021. This was also the biggest gain since 1993/1994.

All four Atlantic provinces posted a net interprovincial migratory increase for the first time since 2009/2010, with current migration levels at or near record levels.

Although Quebec reported a net loss (-1,450) in interprovincial migration, it was the lowest since 2003/2004 and in line with recent trends.

Conversely, Ontario (-17,085), Alberta (-11,831), Manitoba (-9,685) and Saskatchewan (-9,410) reported the biggest net losses in interprovincial migration.

Chart 2  Chart 2: Population growth rate, 2019/2020 and 2020/2021, Canada, provinces and territories
Population growth rate, 2019/2020 and 2020/2021, Canada, provinces and territories

The pandemic has had very little impact on Canada's age structure

While the pandemic affected population growth in 2020/2021, its impact on the age structure of the Canadian population was not as pronounced.

Canada's population continues to age, with the average age increasing from 41.4 years on July 1, 2020, to 41.7 years on July 1, 2021. Almost one in five (18.5%) Canadians are now aged 65 and older, and the number of centenarians rose 1,100 year over year to 12,822 as of July 1, 2021.

Chart 3  Chart 3: Proportion of the population 0 to 14 years and 65 years and older, July 1, 2021, Canada, provinces and territories
Proportion of the population 0 to 14 years and 65 years and older, July 1, 2021, Canada, provinces and territories

Chart 4  Chart 4: Population 0 to 14 years and 65 years and older, 2000 to 2021 (estimates) and 2022 to 2040 (projections), Canada
Population 0 to 14 years and 65 years and older, 2000 to 2021 (estimates) and 2022 to 2040 (projections), Canada

  Note to readers

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. These estimates are not to be confused with the 2021 Census population counts, which will be released on February 9, 2022.

Some of the estimation methods typically used were adjusted to account for the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic (deaths and emigration). Given that the adjustments are similar to what was done in the second quarter of 2020, please refer to the Technical Supplement: Production of Demographic Estimates for the Second Quarter of 2020 in the Context of COVID-19 .

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

The population projections in this release are based on the M1 scenario presented in the publication Population Projections for Canada (2018 to 2068), Provinces and Territories (2018 to 2043) (Catalogue number91-520-X).

Canada's population clock (real-time model)

Canada's population clock (real-time model) was updated today with the most recent quarterly population estimates released by Statistics Canada.

Canada's population clock is an interactive learning tool that aims 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.


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.

Net international migration 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 (or permanent 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 (or temporary immigrant) is a person who is lawfully in Canada on a temporary basis and who holds a work, study or other (excluding visitor visas) permit issued for 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 publication Annual Demographic Estimates: Canada, Provinces and Territories, 2021 (Catalogue number91-215-X) is now available.

The publication Quarterly Demographic Estimates, April to June 2021 (Catalogue number91-002-X) publication is now available.

The product Quarterly demographic estimates, provinces and territories: Interactive dashboard (Catalogue number71-607-X) is also available.

The product Demographic estimates by age and sex, provinces and territories: Interactive dashboard (Catalogue number71-607-X) is also available.

The product Canada's population clock (real-time model) (Catalogue number71-607-X) is also available.

The updated Population and Demography Statistics and Older Adults and Population Aging Statistics portals are also 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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