Canada's population estimates

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First quarter 2011 (preliminary) (Previous release)

As of April 1, 2011, Canada's population was estimated at 34,349,200, up 70,800 (+0.2%) from January 1, 2011. Alberta registered the fastest first-quarter increase (+0.4%) in the country.

Nationally, the growth in population was lower than the increase of 85,200 estimated for the first quarter of 2010. This slowdown was mainly the result of a decline in net international migration. Canada had a net inflow from international migration of 49,300 in the first quarter, down from 61,300 in the first quarter of 2010. This decline was due mainly to lower levels of immigration.

During the first quarter, Canada received 49,500 immigrants compared with 58,100 for the same quarter in 2010.

Atlantic Canada

Newfoundland and Labrador's population fell by 700 (-0.1%) to 508,400 as of April 1, partly the result of a net outflow of about 500 people to interprovincial migration.

Prince Edward Island's population rose by nearly 400 (+0.2%) to 143,800. It was the only province in Atlantic Canada in which the population increased in the first quarter. The province received nearly 500 immigrants, the highest level among all the provinces relatively to its total population.

As of April 1, Nova Scotia's population was estimated at 942,300, down nearly 1,100 (-0.1%) from January 1. The main factor contributing to this decrease was a net outflow of about 1,000 people to interprovincial migration. This was Nova Scotia's highest net outflow to other provinces since the first quarter of 2007.

The population of New Brunswick changed little in the first quarter and was estimated at 753,000 on April 1.

Central Canada

Quebec's population increased by 14,600 (+0.2%) to 7,957,600. The province's natural increase during the first quarter was estimated at 4,600, compared with 5,800 in the first quarter of 2010. In addition, Quebec had a net outflow of 900 people to other provinces, its smallest for a first quarter since 2005.

Note to readers

This release presents preliminary postcensal population estimates as of April 1, 2011 and preliminary estimates of the demographic growth during the first quarter of 2011.

The estimates presented in this release are subject to revision. Future updates 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 April 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.

As of April 1, Ontario's population was estimated at 13,310,900, up by 28,400 (+0.2%) from January 1, the slowest first-quarter growth since 1996. This was mainly a result of immigration levels. The province received 20,100 immigrants in the first quarter, its lowest first-quarter level since 1998. Meanwhile, Ontario's net outflow from interprovincial migration (-700) was the smallest first-quarter net outflow since 2003.

Western Canada

Manitoba's population increased by just over 2,700 (+0.2%) to 1,246,400. Manitoba had a net inflow of nearly 2,800 people from international migration, the highest for a first quarter since 1972, the first year covered by the current demographic accounting system. However, the province had a net outflow of 1,000 in its exchanges with other provinces, the largest first-quarter net outflow since 2006.

As of April 1, Saskatchewan's population was estimated at 1,054,000, an increase of just over 1,900 (+0.2%) compared with January 1. The province's increase was tempered by a net outflow (-600) from interprovincial migration. It was Saskatchewan's first net outflow in its exchange with other provinces since the third quarter of 2006.

Alberta's population reached 3,758,200, an increase of just under 15,500 (+0.4%). Alberta had a net inflow of nearly 5,300 in its exchanges with other provinces, the highest for a first quarter since 2006. However, the province's net inflow of 3,600 from international migration was the lowest for a first quarter since 2004.

As of April 1, the population of British Columbia was estimated at 4,563,300, up just over 9,200 (+0.2%) since January 1. It was the slowest increase for a first quarter since 2005. The province had a net inflow from international migration of just over 7,000, the lowest level for a first quarter since 1998. In addition, British Columbia had net outflows of interprovincial migration close to zero, the smallest since the second quarter of 2003.

The territories

The population of the three territories remained relatively unchanged in the first quarter. The Yukon's population was estimated at 34,400, compared with 43,500 for the Northwest Territories 33,400 for Nunavut.

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 January to March 2011 issue of Quarterly Demographic Estimates, Vol. 25, no. 1 (91-002-X, free), is now available from the Key resource module of our website under Publications.

For further information regarding Quarterly Demographic Estimates data, contact Statistics Canada's National Contact Centre (613-951-8116; toll-free 1-800-263-1136; infostats@statcan.gc.ca).

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@statcan.gc.ca), Demography Division.