Canada records highest population growth since 1957

StatCan reports over 1 million new immigrants from July 2022 to July 2023

By Charmaine Y. Rodriguez

After its celebration for hitting the 40-million mark on June 16, Canada’s population was estimated at 40,097,761 on July 1, 2023, an increase of 1,158,705 from a year before.

According to Statistics Canada, this was a growth of 2.9% from July 1, 2022 and was mainly international immigrants. This was the largest one recorded since 1957, during the Hungarian refugee crisis and at the height of the baby boom.

“Close to 98% of the growth in the Canadian population from July 1, 2022, to July 1, 2023, came from net international migration, with 2% coming from the difference between births and deaths,” its media release read.

As of July 1, 2023, an estimated 2,198,679 non-permanent residents lived in Canada, a 46% increase from the same date one year prior (1,500,978). This represents the largest year-over-year increase in the population of non-permanent residents living in Canada since comparable data are available (1971/1972), with the increase in work and study permits accounting for most of the change in the last year.

Canada continued to lead G7 countries for population growth and was likely among the top 20 fastest growing countries in the world.

“In absolute numbers, the increase observed last year is more than twice the increase observed in 1957 (+555,000). If the rate of population growth seen this past year remained constant in the future, it would lead to the Canadian population doubling in 25 years,” the release added.

International migration accounted for nearly all growth from July 1, 2022, to July 1, 2023 (98%), because of a high number of immigrants (468,817) and an increase in the number of non-permanent residents (+697,701).

The reported annual increase in the number of non-permanent residents in the country continued to outpace the number of new immigrants, as was first observed in 2022. The number of non-permanent residents holding a work permit was estimated to have reached 1,426,187 on July 1, 2023, up from 868,470 a year prior (+64%) and contributing most to the change in non-permanent residents.

With the continuing Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel implemented in March 2022 has helped tens of thousands of Ukrainians relocate to Canada. Most people with this authorization are also permit holders, with the rest consisting mainly of family members living with permit holders.

Growth from coast-to-coast

From July 1, 2022, to July 1, 2023, Alberta experienced the fastest demographic growth of all provinces and territories at 4.0%. This growth was not only due to international migration but was also the result of record net gains from migratory exchanges between provinces. Alberta saw 56,245 more people moving to the province than leaving it, making these not only the highest annual net interprovincial gains for Alberta, but the highest annual net interprovincial gains ever recorded for any single province or territory since comparable data are available (1971/1972).

Alberta has seen the fastest population growth since aside from international immigrants, there was also a record number of residents from other provinces who moved there. (Pexels photo/Andre Furtado)

During the same period, seven provinces saw their population increase at rates never observed since comparable data exists: Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan.

All three Maritime provinces registered a population growth of at least 3.0%: Prince Edward Island (+3.9%), Nova Scotia (+3.2%), and New Brunswick (+3.1%).

Ontario and British Columbia (+3.0% each) came right after Alberta and the Maritime provinces for population growth, with Manitoba (+2.9%) and Saskatchewan (+2.6%) close behind.

While its population growth hit a record-high of 2.3%, Quebec nonetheless saw the second lowest growth among all provinces.

Despite registering its highest population growth in more than 50 years, Newfoundland and Labrador’s rate was the lowest among provinces, at 1.3%.

The strong growth seen across the country is, in large part, a result of the increase in the number of temporary immigrants. As of July 1, 2023, Ontario, Quebec, and British Columbia had the largest populations of non-permanent residents. Close to 1 million non-permanent residents lived in Ontario, almost half a million in Quebec and around 400,000 in British Columbia.

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