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The second quarter of 2009 marked the end of the 2008/2009 demographic year. On July 1, 2009, Canada's population was estimated at 33,739,900, up 1.2% from July 1 of the previous year. The rate of population growth in Canada was up for the sixth straight year.

The increase in the net number of non-permanent residents and in natural growth continues

The acceleration in population growth in Canada was based on both an increase in the net number of non-permanent residents and a slight rise in natural growth.

The net number of non-permanent residents climbed sharply, from 51,100 in 2007/2008 to 70,400 in 2008/2009, Non-permanent residents accounted for the increase in net international migration from 262,900 in 2007/2008 to 277,700 in 2008/2009. This increase in the net number of non-permanent residents occurred mainly in Nova Scotia, New-Brunswick and Saskatchewan. At the national level, this was the highest net number of non-permanent residents since 1988/1989.

For a sixth straight year, natural growth was up in Canada, from 132,500 in 2007/2008 to 134,800 in 2008/2009, an increase of 1.7%. This was the highest level of natural growth since 1994/1995. Quebec (8.5%) and British Columbia (8.5%) showed the strongest increases since 2007/2008. Alberta (29,700) posted its highest level of natural growth since 1985/1986, while Quebec (1996/1997), Saskatchewan (1995/1996) and Manitoba (1996/1997) also reached levels that had not been seen for a number of years. In all of the Atlantic provinces, natural growth was down from 2007/2008. Newfoundland and Labrador was the only Canadian province that showed a deficit in natural growth (-300), for the third year in a row.

Strong population growth in the Western provinces continues

With the exception of the Northwest Territories, all provinces and territories saw their populations increase during 2008/2009. However, population growth was more pronounced in the West. In 2008/2009, population growth in all four Western provinces was higher than the Canadian average. Net international migration explained the more rapid growth in the West, the numbers of immigrants received by Alberta (23,900), Manitoba (13,200) and Saskatchewan (6,000) being higher than at any other time since the introduction of the current record-keeping system (1971).

In 2008/2009, the population of Alberta grew by 2.5%, the strongest rate of growth in Canada. After dipping by 15,300 in 2007/2008, net interprovincial migration in Alberta reached 23,000. Alberta’s gains were the highest with Ontario (16,200). The only provinces in relation to which Alberta posted migration losses were British Columbia (-1,600) and Saskatchewan (-600). Alberta is the province that has attracted the highest number of interprovincial migrants each year since 1996/1997. This was also the eighth straight year that Alberta has posted the strongest population growth of any province.

The population of Saskatchewan rose by 1.6% in 2008/2009, more than the 1.3% recorded the previous year. This was the third year in a row that Saskatchewan had posted a rising population growth. In addition to immigration, a marked increase in the net number of non-permanent residents explained this acceleration of growth. In 2008/2009, the net number of non-permanent residents in Saskatchewan was 2,300, the highest level for that province since the introduction of the current record-keeping system (1971) and almost double that of the previous year.

British Columbia saw its population rise by 1.6% in 2008/2009, despite a substantial decrease in its net interprovincial migration. A large percentage of the population growth in that province could be attributed to the arrival of 42,500 immigrants and a net number of non-permanent residents that amounted to 17,700. British Columbia gained 4,700 interprovincial migrants in 2008/2009 as compared with 14,600 in 2007/2008. The decrease stemmed largely from net interprovincial migration in relation to Alberta and Ontario that, although positive, was not as high.

The population of Manitoba grew by 1.3% in 2008/2009, the strongest population grow since 1982/1983. This was the fourth consecutive year in which growth in that province was up. Aside from the increase in immigration, this faster rate of population growth was largely the result of the pronounced decrease in interprovincial migration losses for the province, with Alberta and British Columbia in particular. The net number of non-permanent residents in Manitoba dropped from 1,200 to 300 from 2007/2008 to 2008/2009.

The population of Ontario surpasses 13,000,000

Ontario and Quebec experienced moderate increases in their populations, despite interprovincial migration losses. This growth was based essentially on positive and sustained net international migration coming from both immigrants and non-permanent residents.

With its population rising by 1.0%, Ontario now has over 13,000,000 inhabitants. This marked the third year in a row in which population growth in Ontario was lower than the national average, notably because of a small decrease in the number of immigrants. For a sixth consecutive year, Ontario has posted an interprovincial migration deficit. Ontario's interprovincial migration losses were the most pronounced with Alberta (-16,200), Saskatchewan (-3,100) and British Columbia (-1,800).

The population of Quebec was up by 1.0% in 2008/2009. Population growth in that province has been on the increase over the past four years. This acceleration in the rate of population growth in Quebec has resulted mainly from a substantial increase in the birth rate, estimated at 11.4 per thousand, the highest level since 1996/1997. The net number of non-permanent residents in Quebec was 13,200 in 2008/2009, a first since 1988/1989. Quebec nonetheless posted negative net interprovincial migration, mostly towards Ontario (-4,900) and Alberta (-4,800). Losses in relation to those two provinces were nonetheless down slightly from 2007/2008.

The population of Prince Edward Island rises above 140,000 habitants

In 2008/2009, the Atlantic provinces all posted population growth. For Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick this growth stemmed mainly from international migration, while interprovincial migration was partly responsible for the population growth observed in Newfoundland and Labrador. Nonetheless, birth rates in the four Atlantic provinces were the lowest in the country, with Newfoundland and Labrador (8.8 per thousand) posting the lowest birth rate.

Prince Edward Island recorded a 1.1% growth in population, the highest level in that province since 1983/1984 and the strongest growth of any Atlantic province. Close to 1,800 immigrants settled in that province, giving Prince Edward Island the highest immigration rate in Canada (51.2 per thousand) and the highest for that province since the introduction of the current record-keeping system (1971). Moreover, the number of immigrants was up 39.9% from 2007/2008. Immigration helped to offset the province's interprovincial migration losses, estimated at 600, mostly to Ontario.

Despite negative natural growth, Newfoundland and Labrador posted 0.5% population growth in 2008/2009, the highest increase since 1982/1983. Gains in international migration of 2,300 explained a major portion of the population growth in that province. This was the first year since 1982/1983 that the province had realized gains in this regard. In Newfoundland and Labrador, most of the gains in international migration were made in relation to Ontario (2,100).

New Brunswick saw its population rise by 0.3% in 2008/2009, the second consecutive annual increase. The province welcomed 1,900 immigrants, the highest level for that province since 1975/1976. For a third year in a row, losses by New Brunswick to other provinces fell, from 3,500 in 2005/2006 to 500 in 2008/2009. This decrease in migration losses can largely be attributed to a drop in losses to Alberta. New Brunswick experienced its strongest population growth since 1991/1992.

For a second consecutive year, the population of Nova Scotia was up. The 0.2% population growth recorded last year was the most pronounced in that province since 2003/2004. This increase can partly be attributed to a net number of non-permanent residents that was positive (1,300) and rising. The decrease in interprovincial migration losses in that province also contributed to population growth. Nova Scotia lost 4,100 people to the other provinces and territories in 2006/2007, in contrast with 1,300 in 2008/2009. Although Nova Scotia still showed significant migration losses in relation to Alberta (1,900), the losses were less pronounced than in 2006/2007 (4,100).

The Northwest Territories experiences population decline

In 2008/2009, the population of Nunavut grew by 1.8%, largely owing to natural growth. Nunavut's birth rate was the highest in the country, at 25.1 per thousand, more than double the national average. Because of this growth, the population of Nunavut climbed above 32,000.

Yukon saw its population rise by 1.4% in 2008/2009, a level of growth that was significantly less than the previous year (1.8%). This slowdown in population growth in Yukon was caused mainly by lower net interprovincial migration. The population of Yukon has been on the rise since 2001/2002.

The population of the Northwest Territories dropped by 0.6% after two years of population growth. This population loss can partly be explained by a net decline in interprovincial migration (-900), the most substantial loss in interprovincial migration since 2005/2006. Across the country, only the Northwest Territories experienced a population decline in 2008/2009.