Canada's population estimates

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Fourth quarter 2010 (preliminary) (Previous release)

As of January 1, 2011, Canada's population was estimated at 34,278,400, an increase of 40,400 (+0.1%) from October 1, 2010. Demographic growth was fastest on the Prairies with Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta all having growth rates above the national average.

Canada's fourth quarter population growth was lower than in the same period in 2009 (+55,900). While growth due to natural increase was relatively stable, net international migration declined from 25,400 to 10,900.

This decline in net international migration can be explained by a larger decrease in non-permanent residents living in Canada. Immigration in the fourth quarter (57,700) was similar to the level observed in the same period in 2009 (56,400).

Atlantic Canada

Newfoundland and Labrador's population remained virtually unchanged in the fourth quarter and was estimated at 509,100 on January 1, 2011.

Prince Edward Island posted a population of 143,500 as of January 1. The level of immigration to Prince Edward Island was, in relative terms, the highest amongst the provinces for the fourth consecutive quarter.

Nova Scotia's population was estimated at 943,400 at the end of the fourth quarter. The province's small decrease was mostly due to net outflows in interprovincial migration.

The population of New Brunswick was estimated at 753,200 as of January 1. During the fourth quarter, the province received more than 400 immigrants, the highest level for the fourth quarter since 1979.

Note to readers

This release presents preliminary postcensal population estimates as of January 1, 2011 and preliminary estimates of the demographic growth during the fourth quarter of 2010.

The estimates presented in this release are subject to revision. Future modifications could affect the analysis of trends, particularly where the numbers are small or the net change is close to zero.

Unless otherwise stated, historical comparisons in this analysis relate to the period between July 1, 1971, and January 1, 2011, the time frame covered by the current system of demographic accounts.

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

Net interprovincial migration is the variation in population over a given period as a result of movements of population between the provinces and territories of the country that involve a change in the usual place of residence.

Net international migration is the variation in population over a given period as a result of movements of population between Canada and other countries that involve a change in the usual place of residence. A distinction is made between 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.

Net migration is the difference between the number of arrivals and the number of departures. It can have a positive or negative sign. Net migration is positive when the number of arrivals exceeds the number of departures and negative when the opposite is true. A distinction is usually made between net interprovincial migration and net international migration.

Central Canada

Quebec's population grew by nearly 11,000 (+0.1%) in the fourth quarter to 7,943,000 on January 1. The main factor in this demographic growth was natural increase (+6,700). The province had a slight net outflow from interprovincial migration (-400). Quebec usually experiences higher outflows of interprovincial migration.

In Ontario, the population was estimated at 13,282,400 on January 1, an increase of 13,900 (+0.1%) compared with October 1, 2010. Most of the province's growth in the fourth quarter came from natural increase (+10,500).

Western Canada

Manitoba posted the fastest demographic growth in the country in the fourth quarter with an increase of over 3,600 (+0.3%). Net international migration (+2,600) was the principal factor for the demographic growth in the province. As of January 1, the population of Manitoba was estimated at 1,243,700.

The population of Saskatchewan increased by 2,300 (+0.2%) in the fourth quarter to 1,052,100. Natural growth (+1,100) and net inflows in international migration (+1,100) were the primary contributors to the demographic growth of the province.

Alberta's population was estimated at 3,742,800 as of January 1, an increase of close to 7,700 (+0.2%) compared with October 1, 2010. The province's population growth came mainly from natural increase (+7,200) and net inflows in interprovincial migration (+2,500).

The population of British Columbia had a small increase (+2,200) in the fourth quarter and was estimated at 4,554,100 on January 1. Natural increase (+2,500) was the main factor of the demographic growth in the province.

The territories

While the population of both Yukon and Northwest Territories decreased slightly in the fourth quarter, Nunavut's remained virtually unchanged. The three territories had net outflows in interprovincial migration. As of January 1, Yukon's population was estimated at 34,300, compared with 43,600 for the Northwest Territories and 33,300 for Nunavut.

Canada's population growth in 2010

Canada's population growth in 2010 was lower than that observed in 2009. The Canadian population increased by 375,600 (+1.1%) in 2010 compared with 394,400 the year before (+1.2%).

Canada received more than 280,000 immigrants in 2010, the highest level recorded since the 1950's. This was 28,500 more immigrants than in 2009. Increases in immigration were recorded by most provinces and territories.

The increase in immigration in 2010 was offset by a decline in the net inflow of non-permanent residents. The net non-permanent residents was estimated at 12,900, down from 55,400 in 2009. As a result, net international migration in 2010 was estimated at 244,400, down from 258,900 the year before.

There were an estimated 382,000 births and 250,800 deaths in 2010, resulting in a natural increase of 131,200. This was lower than the natural increase of 135,600 recorded in 2009.

Prince Edward Island, Nunavut and all provinces west of Quebec recorded 2010 growth rates above the national average.

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

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

The October to December 2010 issue of Quarterly Demographic Estimates, Vol. 24, no. 4 (91-002-X, free), is now available from the Key resource module of our website under Publications.

For further information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Statistics Canada's National Contact Centre, Client Services Division.