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A Statistics Canada Minute – Regional Demography


National demographics can often mask major regional differences.
For example, the rate of population growth in Canada remained quite stable over the last 20 years, averaging 1% growth per year.
averaging 1% growth per year.
But trends at the national level hide some striking regional differences. Among provinces, the rate of growth was close to 3% in Alberta. In contrast, population declined in three Atlantic Provinces: New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador. The rate of growth in Alberta in the last two years was among the highest in more than 30 years.
If growth were to continue at this rate, the population of the province would double in about 25 years. Low population growth is likely to continue in Atlantic Provinces. For the first time recently, some of these provinces registered negative natural increase, meaning that more deaths than births occurred in these provinces. With population aging, the difference between deaths and births is likely to grow. Therefore, any future population growth which might take place would be most likely to come either from immigration or interprovincial migration. In Quebec, Ontario and B.C., international migratory increase has been the key driver of population growth for some time. In recent years, international migration has become the key driver
of growth in Manitoba and Saskatchewan as well. In Alberta, interprovincial migration, and natural and
international migratory increases contributed equally to the province’s growth. However, in all provinces east of Saskatchewan, interprovincial migration had a negative impact on population growth. Finally, natural increase remained the key factor for population growth in Nunavut, which had the highest fertility in Canada at close to 3 children per woman. In the future, the differences among regions in the drivers of population growth may lead to more pronounced differences from one region to the next and to a different Canada.
Some regions will likely have higher ethnocultural diversity, while others might have a higher proportion of seniors.
The point is, contrasts in population growth and factors of growth
can have many implications for Canadians:
Shifts in political influence and interests,
Shifts in needs related to social programs and infrastructure, Shifts in labour force and economic dependencies.
Find out more about Canadian demography at www.statcan.gc.ca A Statistics Canada minute was made possible by: the Census of Canada, the 2011 National Household Survey and the Population Estimates Program
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Statistics Canada, serving Canada with high-quality statistical information that matters.

Stephen Childs

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