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Canada's population estimates

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Third quarter 2008 (preliminary) (Previous release)

Canada's population grew by 0.39% in the third quarter of 2008, its highest quarterly growth rate since 1990. Population growth remained faster in the western part of the country.

As of October 1, 2008, Canada's population was an estimated 33,441,300, up 129,900 from July 1. Populations rose in every province and territory, except the Northwest Territories.

The pace of Canada's population growth was faster than in the same quarter of 2007 as a result of an increase in net international migration, which set a third-quarter record of 89,100.

This upward movement in net international migration was due to an increase in the number of non-permanent residents. While immigration and emigration remained relatively steady, the number of non-permanent residents grew by 32,400, the largest third-quarter increase since 1988.

During the third quarter of 2008, 71,300 immigrants entered Canada, slightly fewer than in the same quarter of the previous year.

Canada's rate of natural increase also remained stable in the third quarter of 2008 compared with the same period in 2007, with the number of births and deaths increasing at a similar pace.

Demographic growth still higher in the West

Demographic growth remained higher in Western Canada. Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia and Yukon all had growth rates higher than the national level. East of Manitoba, only Prince Edward Island outpaced the national level.

Compared with the same period in 2007, net international migration was up in the third quarter in most provinces and territories. In fact, several quarterly records were set for numbers of immigrants, as well as for growth in the number of non-permanent residents.

For a fourth consecutive quarter, Alberta led all the other provinces in demographic growth, posting a rate of 0.72%, nearly twice the national rate. The province's growth was mainly attributable to a resurgence in interprovincial migration and a strong increase in its number of non-permanent residents. Alberta's rate of growth in non-permanent residents has been the highest of all the provinces since the fourth quarter of 2006.

Saskatchewan had the highest net interprovincial migration rate in Canada in the third quarter. Its population has been growing at a faster rate than the national level since the second quarter of 2007.

All Atlantic provinces post demographic increase

In Eastern Canada, all Atlantic provinces recorded population increases for a second consecutive quarter. Prince Edward Island continued to lead the region in demographic growth with an increase of 0.67%, mainly the result of the highest net international migration rate in Canada.

Note to readers

The natural increase is the variation in population size over a given period as a result of the difference between the number of births and deaths.

International migration represents a movement of population between Canada and a foreign country that involves a change in the usual place of residence. A distinction is made with regard to immigrants, emigrants, returning emigrants, net temporary emigrants and net non-permanent residents.

Non-permanent residents (also called temporary residents) are people from another country who have a work or study permit, or who are refugee claimants, and family members living in Canada with them.

In the third quarter of 2008, the population of Newfoundland and Labrador experienced its highest growth rate since the second quarter of 1991, primarily as a result of strong net interprovincial migration.

For a fourth quarter in a row, Ontario's demographic growth (+0.37%) was below the national level, even though the province registered its lowest net outflow in interprovincial migration since the first quarter of 2007.

Quebec's demographic growth was its highest since the second quarter of 1991. An increasing number of births and a third-quarter record in net international migration more than offset the province's large net outflow in interprovincial migration.

Yukon led the northern territories in demographic growth for a third consecutive quarter. Since the beginning of 2008, Yukon has been the only territory with net inflows in both interprovincial and international migration.

Available on CANSIM: tables 051-0005, 051-0006, 051-0017, 051-0020, 051-0037, 051-0045 and 053-0001.

Definitions, data sources and methods: survey numbers, including related surveys, 3231, 3233 and 3601.

The July to September 2008 issue of Quarterly Demographic Estimates, Vol. 22, no. 3 (91-002-XWE, free), is now available from the Publications module of our website.

For more information, to obtain additional data, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Client Services (toll-free 1-866-767-5611; 613-951-2320; fax: 613-951-2307;, Demography Division.

Table 1
Components and factors of demographic growth

Table 2
Quarterly demographic estimates