According to official estimates released on February 09, Wednesday, Canada’s population will reach 37 million in 2021, up 5.2 percent from 2016, fueled primarily by immigration, with the downtowns and distant suburbs of major cities witnessing the highest growth.
Between 2016 and 2021, Canada added 1.8 million people, with roughly 80 percent of those new inhabitants coming from other parts of the world, keeping its status as the fastest-growing G7 country, according to Statistics Canada’s Census 2021 publication.
Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, and Japan comprise the Group of Seven nations. According to Statscan, nearly 90% of new immigrants settled in urban areas, raising the proportion of Canadians residing in large metropolitan areas to 73.7 percent from 73.2 percent five years before.
“Canada continues to urbanize as large urban centers benefit most from new arrivals to the country,” Statscan said. “Rapid population growth in cities is increasing the need for infrastructure, transportation, and services of all kinds -including front-line emergency services.”
Over five years, metropolitan downtowns grew at the quickest rate, increasing 10.9 percent from 2016, while urban sprawl increased, with the furthest suburbs of large cities increasing 8.8 percent. The Covid-19 pandemic, however, curbed the rapid growth of Canada’s downtowns, with Toronto’s core rising just 0.4 percent from 2020 to 2021, compared to 3.2 percent annually between 2016 and 2019.
In 2020 and 2021, both downtown Montreal and Vancouver lost population. Despite the pandemic, Canada remains the G7’s fastest-growing country, thanks in large part to immigration, according to census figures for 2021 released on Wednesday.
According to recently released census data, Canada’s population was 36,991,981 in the spring of last year, with about 27.3 million Canadians living in one of the country’s 41 major urban centers.
There are about 1.8 million more people in Canada than there were five years ago, representing a 5.2% increase between 2016 and 2021. Although Canada leads the G7 in population growth, it ranks seventh in the G20, trailing Saudi Arabia, Australia, South Africa, Turkey, Indonesia, and Mexico, and is on pace with India.
While Canada’s overall population growth rate from 2016 to 2021 was 5.2%, higher than the 5% rate of increase seen in the previous five-year cycle, the pandemic had a considerable impact.
The majority of population growth occurred prior to the outbreak of the pandemic. In 2019, for example, the country’s population increased by 583,000, or 1.6%, setting a new high.
Furthermore, with the implementation of global borders and restrictions on travel to slow the spread of Covid-19 in 2020, population growth through immigration will be less than one-quarter of what it was the previous year. Deaths caused by Covid-19 had a minor impact on population growth in 2020.
From 2016 to 2021, immigration accounted for four-fifths of Canada’s population growth, while natural increase, or the difference between births and deaths, accounted for only one-fifth. Furthermore, the immigration trend is not the same in all provinces.
Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba had the strongest growth rates at the time of the 2016 census, but the reality is drastically different five years later.
While immigration rates in other provinces climbed dramatically in the years preceding the pandemic, they remained nearly constant in the Prairie provinces. In addition, more individuals moved out of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba than moved in from other regions of the country.
Alberta, which had topped provincial population growth for five consecutive census cycles, has dropped to sixth place, as it saw the first five-year reduction in interprovincial migration since the 1991 census.
The number of Canadians living in rural areas in 2021 was 6,601,982, a 0.4% increase over 2016, however, this growth rate was significantly lower than that of Canada’s urban areas, which rose at a 6.3% rate.
In 2021, there will be 41 big urban areas, or census metropolitan areas (CMAs), with populations higher than 100,000. In comparison, there were only 35 at the time of the previous census.
According to Statistics Canada, a CMA is defined as one or more municipalities focused around a downtown core. A large urban region must have a population of more than 100,000 people, with at least 50,000 people living in the downtown core, in order to be termed a CMA.
There were no new CMAs in Ontario, Canada’s most populous province, among the six new CMAs. Three of these were in British Columbia, including Kamloops, Chilliwack, and Nanaimo. Other cities were Fredericton, Drummondville, Quebec, and Red Deer, Alberta.
With 6,202,225 citizens, Toronto remains Canada’s most populous CMA, followed by Montreal (4,291,732) and Vancouver (2,642,825 people).
Although growth in Canada’s two largest CMAs was lower than the national average of 5.2%, they welcomed a record number of permanent or temporary immigrants in comparison to previous years.
The three other Canadian CMAs with a population of over one million in 2021 are Ottawa–Gatineau (1,488,307), which has risen to the fourth position after temporarily losing that title to Calgary in 2016; Calgary (1,481,806); and Edmonton (1,418,118).