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On January 1, 2014, Canada’s population was estimated at 35,345,000, up 49,200 from October 1, 2013. The population growth rate 1  in Canada for the fourth quarter of 2013 reached 0.1% while the growth rate over 2013 stood at 1.1%.

At the national level, population growth is the result of two factors: natural increase 2  and net international migration. 3  At the provincial and territorial level, population growth results not only from these two factors, but also from net interprovincial migration. In the last quarter of 2013, natural increase accounted for less than two-thirds (+60.6%) of the country’s population growth while net international migration contributed to the remaining 39.4%.

In this quarter, natural increase was estimated at 29,800 and resulted from the difference between 94,100 births and 64,300 deaths. Since 1971, 4  natural increase in Canada has been positive in every quarter, meaning that more births than deaths have been recorded. This situation could reverse in a few years as a result of population ageing, leading to an increasing number of deaths and under the assumption that fertility remains at a fairly low level. 5 

In the last quarter of 2013, net international migration reached 19,400, a level lower than that for the same quarter in the previous year (+26,300). From October 1, 2013 to December 31, 2013, Canada welcomed 59,800 immigrants while the number of non-permanent residents decreased by 29,900. The number of non-permanent residents is usually decreasing during this period of the year. For the same quarter in 2012, the decrease stood at 25,500. On the other hand, the number of people that left the country to live abroad which is referred as net emigration, 6  reached 10,500 in the last quarter of 2013.

Among immigrants of the fourth quarter in 2013, a majority settled in Ontario (38.0%) and in Quebec (17.7%). British Columbia (15.1%) and Alberta (14.7%) also received a high share of the Canadian immigration. This provincial distribution is slightly different to what was observed in the last quarter of 2012 when Alberta (14.6%) had the third highest share of all immigrants to Canada, following Ontario (39.7%), Quebec (20.7%), but just before British Columbia (13.6%).

Population growth in the provinces and territories

Population growth 7  can vary amongprovinces and territories. Preliminary estimates show that in the fourth quarter of 2013, the populations of the three Prairie provinces, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut grew faster than the national average (+0.1%), with Alberta (+0.5%) being the fastest-growing. On the contrary, the population significantly declined in Yukon (-0.3%).

Atlantic provinces

On January 1, 2014, population was estimated at 526,900 in Newfoundland and Labrador, at 145,200 in Prince Edward Island, at 940,600 in Nova Scotia and at 755,500 in New Brunswick. As indicated by the preliminary estimates, Nova Scotia was the only Atlantic province to record net gains in interprovincial migration (+300) during the last quarter of 2013.

Central Canada

As of January 1, 2014, the population of Quebec was estimated at 8,179,700. Over the last three months of 2013, Quebec’s population grew by 5,200, the smallest quarterly growth since the first quarter of 1999. In the preliminary estimates of the fourth quarter of 2013, the province recorded a smaller net inflow in international migration (+4,200 to +1,200) and a higher net loss in interprovincial migration (-2,000 to -2,700) when compared to the same period a year before.

The population of Ontario was estimated at 13,598,700 on January 1, 2014. The province posted a net gain of 2,200 in international migration yet it was less than a quarter of the level reached a year earlier (+9,900). Preliminary estimates show that Ontario’s fourth-quarter net losses in interprovincial migration were lower in 2013 (-400) than in 2012 (-4,100). This was mainly due to a decrease in the province’s net outflow to Alberta (from -4,500 in 2012 to -2,600 in 2013) combined with an increased net inflow from Quebec (from +1,100 in 2012 to +1,900 in 2013).

Western Canada

The population of Manitoba was estimated at 1,272,100 as of January 1, 2014, an increase of 3,100 (+0.2%) from October 1, 2013. The growth was mainly due to net international migration (+2,600). In the last quarter, Manitoba received 3,500 immigrants which was the second highest for a fourth quarter, after the record level in 2011 since 1971.

Saskatchewan posted an increase of 3,300 (+0.3%) during the fourth quarter of 2013, reaching a population estimated at 1,117,500 on January 1, 2014. Net international migration (+2,300) was the major factor behind Saskatchewan’s population growth during the quarter. Over the same period, Saskatchewan received 3,200 immigrants which was the highest fourth quarter number for this province since 1971.

As of January 1, 2014, the population of Alberta was estimated at 4,082,600, an increase of 21,900 (+0.5%) from October 1, 2013. Since the first quarter of 2011, Alberta has continuously led all provinces in terms of population growth rate. If the major factor of this province’s population growth was net international migration (+8,700), natural increase (+7,400) and net interprovincial migration (+5,700) were also contributing. Due to high level of immigration (+8,800) and net flow of non-permanent residents (+1,100), Alberta’s net inflows of international migration was the highest for a fourth quarter since 1971.

In fact, Alberta was the only jurisdiction in Canada that posted a positive net flow of non-permanent residents over the last quarter of 2013.

Compared to the same quarter in 2012, Alberta’s net interprovincial migration in the fourth quarter of 2013 was reduced by half. It remained, however, the province showing the highest net gain in interprovincial migration (+5,700). A large portion of these gains resulted from exchanges with Ontario (+2,600), Quebec (+1,000) and British Columbia (+900).

British Columbia’s population was estimated at 4,609,900 on January 1, 2014. Net international migration (+2,400) was the most important factor in the province’s population growth. During the quarter, British Columbia welcomed 9,000 immigrants, a level comparable to what was recorded in the same quarter last year (+8,500).

The territories

According to preliminary estimates, Yukon was the only territory to record a population decline in the last quarter of 2013 (-0.3%). Yukon’s population was estimated at 36,600 on January 1, 2014. The population of the Northwest Territories grew by 0.3% to reach 43,600 as of January 1, 2014 while Nunavut grew by 0.4% to a preliminary estimated population of 36,100.

Year 2013 population growth

In 2013, the population of Canada increased by 404,000 people, an annual growth rate of 1.1% and a similar growth rate to what was recorded in 2012. Population growth continued to vary from one region to another in 2013. Alberta (+3.3%), Nunavut (+2.7%) and Saskatchewan (+1.8%) all posted higher annual growth rates than the national average (+1.1%). While Manitoba (+1.1%) and British Columbia (+1.1%) posted annual growth rates close to the national average, Ontario (+0.9%), Quebec (+0.8%), Yukon (+0.5%) and Prince Edward Island (+0.2%) also grew but at a slower rate. Finally, the population of the Northwest Territories and New Brunswick remained fairly stable and demographic decline was recorded in both Nova Scotia (-0.3%) and Newfoundland and Labrador (-0.2%).

Factors of demographic growth also vary from one region to another in 2013. Over the year, net interprovincial migration was positive for only two provinces and one territory in 2013: Alberta (+1.1%), Saskatchewan (+0.1%) and Nunavut (+0.8%). On the contrary, the highest net losses in interprovincial migration were observed in the Northwest Territories (-1.6%), Yukon (-1.0%) and Prince Edward Island (-0.6%).

Rates of net international migration were also above the national average (+0.8%) in the western part of the country. Alberta recorded the highest rate (+1.5%) in the country, followed by Saskatchewan (+1.2%), Manitoba (+1.0%) and British Columbia (+1.0%).

Finally, natural increase was a major source of population change in Nunavut (+1.9%) and the Northwest Territories (+1.1%) with rates well above the national average of 0.4%. Among the provinces, rates of natural increase were above the national average in the Prairie provinces and well below it in the Atlantic provinces.

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