Section 1: Total

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This section presents the population estimates for Canada, the provinces and the territories as of July 1, 2011 and an analysis of the components of growth estimated between July 1, 2010 and June 30, 2011.

On July 1, 2011, Canada's population was estimated at 34,482,800, up 356,600 from the same date a year earlier. This represents growth of 10.4 per thousand between July 1, 2010 and June 30, 2011 (2010/2011), down from the growth of 11.7 per thousand observed in the previous year. Population growth has not been seen at this level in Canada since 2005/2006. Canada's average annual growth rate during the period from July 2006 to June 2011 was 11.4 per thousand, higher than that of other G8 countries, including the United States (8.4), Italy (5.3) and France (4.7). Several countries posted negative demographic growth, including Japan (-0.6), Russia (-1.4) and Germany (-1.4). 1 

At the national level, demographic growth is the result of two components, growth in net international migration and natural increase. The first component is essentially movement of people between Canada and other countries and which involves a change in usual place of residence. Since 1999, international migration has been the primary source of demographic growth in Canada (see Chart 1.1), with almost two-thirds of the increase in 2010/2011. For 2010/2011, net international migration is estimated at 223,100 people, down from 257,600 people in the previous year and also in terms of the net average for the past decade (233,600). Canada's international migration rate for 2010/2011 was 6.5 per thousand, its lowest level since 2002/2003.

Over 258,900 immigrants settled in Canada in 2010/2011, 11,700 less than in 2009/2010 (-4.3%). This decrease in the number of immigrants in 2010/2011 was combined with a sharp decline in the net flow of non-permanent residents. 2  In 2010/2011, the net flow of non-permanent residents represented slightly fewer than 11,500 people, compared to 34,200 in 2009/2010 and 71,800 in 2008/2009. Two-thirds of the decline in net international migration can be explained by a drop in net non-permanent residents, while the rest can be attributed primarily to the smaller number of immigrants admitted to Canada during this period.

The second component of demographic growth, natural increase, refers to the change in the size of a population during a given period as a result of the difference between the number of births and deaths. In 2010/2011, there were an estimated 386,000 births and 252,600 deaths, resulting in slightly fewer than 133,500 people being added to the population through natural increase. The rate of natural increase was 3.9 per thousand in 2010/2011, its lowest level since 2006/2007. As with net international migration, but to a lesser degree, the number of people added in 2010/2011 by natural increase was less than in 2009/2010 by about 5,500 people. This is explained by the fact that the number of deaths increased faster than the number births over that period.

Provincial and territorial population growth

At the provincial and territorial levels, population growth is the result not only of natural increase and net international migration, but also of net interprovincial migration. Net interprovincial migration refers to the difference in the size of the population over a given period that is attributable to population movements between Canada's provinces and territories, which are accompanied by a change in usual place of residence.

Population growth can vary widely among provinces and territories (Chart 1.2). The western provinces (Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta) and Prince Edward Island and Nunavut all recorded higher growth in 2010/2011 than the national level. In contrast, growth rates in the other Atlantic provinces and in the Northwest Territories and Yukon were lower than that of the country as a whole.

During 2010/2011, the population of Newfoundland and Labrador fell by close to 700 people. As of July 1, 2011, the population of that province was estimated at 510,600. It is the only province to have recorded a drop in its population during this period. With virtually no natural increase in 2010/2011, the gains made in international migration (600) were completely erased by losses in its migration exchanges with the other provinces and territories. The province's net interprovincial migration was -1,300 people in 2010/2011, compared to the gain of 1,600 people in the previous year.

The population of Prince Edward Island grew by close to 2,500 people (17.0 per thousand) in 2010/2011. On July 1, 2011, the province's population was estimated at 145,900, the only province east of Ontario to have recorded growth higher than the national average. The increase in net international migration was the main factor in this growth. Indeed, 2010/2011 saw the province's highest net international migration since 1971/1972 3  with 2,800. The province welcomed more than 2,600 immigrants in 2010/2011, some 800 more than a year earlier. This demographic jump was partially offset by negative net interprovincial migration (-500).

Nova Scotia experienced a slight increase in its population during 2010/2011, up 600 (0.7 per thousand). On July 1, 2011, its population was estimated at 945,400. The province's net international migration (3,000) was almost completely offset by negative net interprovincial migration (-2,900). In 2010/2011, almost 2,300 immigrants moved to Nova Scotia, 5.3% fewer than during the same period in 2009/2010. However, the province welcomed over 2,000 immigrants for the sixth straight year.

As of July 1, 2011, the population of New Brunswick was estimated at 755,500, an increase of slightly more than 2,600 (3.5 per thousand) in 2010/2011. Three-quarters of the population growth in this province is attributable to strong net international migration. The province received almost 2,000 immigrants, a record number for New Brunswick since 1975/1976. New Brunswick was not affected significantly by its exchanges with the other provinces and territories, obtaining a slight positive balance. For the second straight year, the province gained in its interprovincial exchanges, something that has not happened since the early 1990s.

In 2010/2011, the population of Quebec grew by about 74,000 (9.3 per thousand), reaching 7,979,700 on July 1, 2011, reflecting a growth rate slightly below that of 2009/2010 (10.0 per thousand). Two-thirds of this province's population growth in 2010/2011 is due to net international migration. Quebec welcomed close to 54,000 immigrants between July 1, 2010 and June 30, 2011, the highest level since 1971/1972. In comparison, the province welcomed 2,400 more immigrants in 2010/2011 than in 2009/2010 and 7,500 more than in 2008/2009. It also recorded a net flow of non-permanent residents of nearly 3,000, significantly below the levels recorded in 2009/2010 (7,400) and in 2008/2009 (13,200). In addition, the province lost in its migration exchanges with all other provinces and territories, with negative net interprovincial migration of -3,300, a level comparable to that of 2009/2010.

In 2010/2011, Ontario's population grew by 145,200 (10.9 per thousand), a rate similar to the national average (10.4 per thousand). As of July 1, 2011, the population of Ontario was estimated at 13,373,000. The main factor in Ontario's population growth was net international migration, which was 98,600 in 2010/2011, down from 109,400 in 2009/2010. The province welcomed close to 104,900 immigrants between July 1, 2010 and June 30, 2011, its smallest contingent since 1998/1999. In 2010/2011, 40.5% of all immigrants arriving in Canada settled in Ontario, compared to 59.6% a decade ago. The net flow of non-permanent residents was slightly higher, climbing from 12,600 in 2009/2010 to 13,600 in 2010/2011. In contrast, Ontario experienced a deficit in its exchanges with the other provinces and territories (-2,300). This does, however, represent the smallest loss since 2003/2004. Most of the province's loss in this component occurred in its exchanges with Alberta (-3,900) and Saskatchewan (-1,500). These migration losses were partially offset by gains from Quebec (3,400). Lastly, in 2010/2011, Ontario recorded its lowest natural increase since 1971/1972, with 3.7 per thousand. In comparison, the national natural increase was estimated at 3.9 per thousand.

Manitoba's population grew by slightly more than 16,000 (12.9 per thousand) in 2010/2011. This was the province's largest increase since 1982/1983. As of July 1, 2011, Manitoba's population was estimated at 1,250,600. During the year, net international migration (13,700) was the main factor driving the province's growth. Manitoba welcomed 15,900 immigrants in 2010/2011, the highest level estimated for the province since 1971/1972. For the second straight year, the province posted a slightly negative net flow of non-permanent residents (-300) in 2010/2011. Manitoba also lost in its exchanges with the other provinces and territories, posting net interprovincial migration of close to -3,400, lower than the level experienced in 2009/2010 (-2,400). The majority of this interprovincial migration losses resulted from exchanges with Alberta (-1,500) and British Columbia (-1,200).

Saskatchewan recorded an increase in its population of 13,900 in 2010/2011, up 13.2 per thousand, but slightly down from the previous year's rate of 14.2 per thousand. Saskatchewan's population was estimated at 1,057,900 on July 1, 2011. Net international migration (7,700) was the primary factor in the province's population growth, accounting for 55.7% of the increase in 2010/2011. During the year, the province received 7,500 immigrants, its highest level since 1971/1972. The province also experienced a natural increase of 5,100 people in 2010/2011, the highest level estimated since 1994/1995, and net interprovincial migration of 1,000 people. This is the fifth straight year that Saskatchewan has experienced gains in its migration exchanges with the other provinces and territories after 22 years of losses.

The population of Alberta was estimated at 3,779,400 on July 1, 2011. Alberta's population growth was estimated at 58,400 (15.6 per thousand) in 2010/2011, a rate higher than that for Canada as a whole (10.4 per thousand) but one of the province's smallest increases since 1995/1996. Unlike the other provinces, natural increase (30,700) was the primary factor in the growth of Alberta's population in 2010/2011. Since 1980/1981, Alberta has had the strongest natural increase among all Canadian provinces. It also recorded net interprovincial migration of 13,700 people in 2010/2011. This represents a return to positive balances after a loss of 3,300 people in 2009/2010. However, the gains made in its migration flow with the other provinces in 2010/2011 still remain over 32,100 people below the peak level achieved in 2005/2006. Alberta's net international migration rose to 14,100. The arrival of 30,200 immigrants, the highest level recorded since 1971/1972, was offset in part by a negative net flow of non-permanent residents (-8,000). Although several provinces posted net flows of non-permanent residents in 2010/2011 that were lower than in 2009/2010, only Manitoba and Alberta experienced negative net flows.

As of July 1, 2011, the population of British Columbia was estimated at 4,573,300. This province experienced a population growth of 43,600 (9.6 per thousand) in 2010/2011, a level slightly lower than the national average (10.4 per thousand) and the province's smallest increase since 2003/2004. Net international migration (31,200) was the primary factor in the province's population growth. Natural increase accounted for the remainder of British Columbia's demographic growth, with 12,200 more births than deaths. Net interprovincial migration was estimated at fewer than 200 people in 2010/2011, the smallest gain recorded since 2003/2004 (7,900).

Due to the small number of inhabitants in the territories, even modest population fluctuations can greatly impact their growth rate. According to the most recent estimates, the population of Yukon grew at a rate of 3.1 per thousand in 2010/2011 and was estimated at 34,700 on July 1, 2011. For the first time since 2005/2006, Yukon posted a loss in its migration exchanges with the provinces and other territories (-300). As for the population of the Northwest Territories, it declined slightly in 2010/2011, at a rate of -3.5 per thousand. This loss was due mainly to negative interprovincial migration. On July 1, 2011, the population of this territory was estimated at 43,700. Lastly, the population of Nunavut rose by slightly fewer than 500 people (14.8 per thousand) in 2010/2011. As of July 1, 2011, Nunavut's population was estimated at 33,300. Demographic growth in Nunavut is attributable mainly to a natural increase of close to 700 people. Indeed, this territory has had the strongest natural increase in the country for several years.