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Births, 2022

Released: 2023-09-26

In 2022, there were 351,679 live births in Canada, excluding Yukon. Similar to previous years, the proportion of boys (51.4%) was slightly higher than the proportion of girls (48.6%).

New preliminary information on 2022 births is available today from the Canadian Vital Statistics: Birth Database. Birth data from 2020 and 2021 have also been revised to reflect the latest data available.

Fewer births in 2022

Since 2016, the total number of births has generally been declining in Canada. From 2016 to 2019, the number of births decreased by 2.8%. However, since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, birth patterns have fluctuated more erratically. From 2019 to 2020, the number of births declined by 3.3%, followed by a rebound (+2.6%) from 2020 to 2021. From 2021 to 2022, Canada saw an even greater decrease (-5.0%) in the number of births.

Nova Scotia saw an increase in live births (+12.8%) in 2022, while all other jurisdictions declined. The largest decline was observed in Nunavut (-11.8%).

Chart 1  Chart 1: Number of births, Canada, 2005 to 2022
Number of births, Canada, 2005 to 2022

Proportion of babies with low birth weight continues to rise in 2022

In Canada, in 2022, 96.1% of babies born at term, from 37 to 40 weeks, had a healthy birth weight (from 2,500 g to 4,499 g). The percentages of babies born at term in 2020, 2021 and 2022 remained stable in comparison with those observed in the years prior to the pandemic.

Babies with a low birth weight (less than 2,500 g) or large for gestational age birth weight (4,500 g or more) have an increased risk of complications at birth, such as inhibited growth and development and mortality.

The proportion of babies with a low birth weight, irrespective of gestational age, was 7.0% in 2022, compared with 6.6% in 2021. This trend has increased over time, up from 5.7% in 2002. Babies born at 36 weeks of gestation or earlier accounted for 55.7% of all low birth weights in 2022.

Chart 2  Chart 2: Birth weight less than 2,500 g, Canada, 2002 to 2022
Birth weight less than 2,500 g, Canada, 2002 to 2022 

The proportion of babies with a low birth weight was higher among women in the youngest and oldest age groups at the time of birth. In 2022, 8.8% of babies born to women aged 19 years and younger had low birth weight compared with 6.7% of babies born to women aged 20 to 34 years. In comparison, 7.8% of babies born to women aged 35 to 49 years had low birth weight.

While the proportion of babies with a low birth weight has increased in all maternal groups, irrespective of birthplace, mothers born outside Canada had a higher proportion of babies with low birth weight (7.9%) compared with mothers born in Canada (6.4%). This could be in part because mothers born outside Canada were older than their Canadian-born counterparts.

In 2022, the proportion of term babies considered large for gestational age was 1.2%, compared with 2.3% in 2002.

  Note to readers

The following data visualization products are updated with 2022 data:

In 2022, in an effort to be timelier, the duration of data collection was shortened compared with previous years. Therefore, the 2022 data are considered preliminary. Data for births in 2020 and 2021 have been revised, and 2022 data will be revised with subsequent releases.

Preliminary birth counts are based on what provincial and territorial vital statistics registries report to Statistics Canada.

Data for 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022 births that occurred in Yukon are not available. To avoid confusion, data for births to residents of Yukon that occurred in other provinces and territories for these same years were also suppressed.

As a result of delays with birth registrations, fewer births have been captured to date for Manitoba in 2022.

Definitions of low birth weight and macrosomia (large for gestational age) are from the Public Health Agency of Canada's Family-Centred Maternity and Newborn Care: National Guidelines.

Risk factors associated with low birth weight are from the World Health Organization's Low birthweight: country, regional and global estimates.

Further information on fertility rates is available in tables 13-10-0417-01 and 13-10-0418-01.

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 (

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