October 10, 2013
Near record international migration fuels Canada’s population growth in 2013
Although Statistics Canada’s statement that “on July 1, 2013, Canada’s population was estimated at 35,158,300” probably caught the most attention, a closer look at the population estimates that were recently released by the agency revealed a number of very significant developments.
First, despite the economic headwinds stemming from a sharp slowdown in energy investment and persisting uncertainty surrounding the approval of the Keystone Pipeline, Alberta’s population increased by a record 136,335 (3.4%) over the past four quarters.
This gain stemmed from an unprecedented net inflow of migrants from other countries totaling 52,551 (1/5 of the national total), a net increase of 52,667 migrants from other provinces and a natural increase (births minus deaths) of 31,107. Over the past two years, only Ontario and Quebec have attracted more foreign migrants than the Wild Rose Province.
The second highlight of this population report is that, well before the announcement of its Charter of Values, a significant number of Quebecers were moving to other provinces.
Indeed in the twelve months ending June 2013, outmigration from the province of Quebec hit a record high of 33,780. While this outflow to other provinces was partly offset by an inflow of 24,212 Canadians from elsewhere, the net outflow from the province totaled 9,568, a five year high.
It should be noted that, although it lost a record number of individuals to other provinces (mostly Ontario), 53,934 individuals moved to Quebec from outside Canada.
This increase in international migrants, together with a natural population gain of 26,900, caused the province’s population to increase by 71,270 between June of 2012 and June of 2013. However, this was the smallest annual population gain since mid-2008.
Finally, although Ontario added 110,000 jobs between mid-2012 and mid-2013, during this period a record 91,017 Ontarians exited the province with almost half relocating to Alberta.
This outflow was partly offset by the arrival of 69,694 Canadians from other provinces. Nevertheless, Ontario lost a total of 21,323 individuals to other provinces in the twelve months ending June 2013. This was the second largest net interprovincial outflow since 2006.
As with Quebec, the impact of the significant net outmigration of individuals from Ontario to other provinces was more than offset by a substantial net inflow of international migrants, +98,616.
Indeed, over the past five years approximately one of every three foreign migrants has landed in Ontario. Despite the above average net outflow of 21,323 individuals to other provinces, this very solid gain in international migrants together with a natural increase of 48,707 caused Ontario’s population to increase by 126,000 between June 2012 and June 2013, somewhat below the average increase in the province’s population over the past ten years of 131,000.
Looking ahead, given Alberta’s strong labour market, low taxes and still quite positive economic outlook, there is little reason not to expect that population growth in the province will exceed the national average over the next several years. At the same time, the improving economic prospects for Ontario and Quebec’s plans to adopt less-immigrant-friendly legislation, suggest that the population growth in the former will continue to outpace the latter for the foreseeable future.
Data Source: Statistics Canada; Chart: CanaData – Reed Construction Data.