Canada's population estimates: Subprovincial areas, July 1, 2013

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On July 1, 2013, 24,517,700 people, or over two-thirds (69.7%) of the Canadian population, were living in a census metropolitan area (CMA). Canada's three largest CMAs together (Toronto, Montréal and Vancouver) were home to more than one in three Canadians (35.2%).

Between July 1, 2012 and July 1, 2013, the population growth rate was higher for the CMAs (+1.5%) than for non-CMAs (+0.3%). In comparison, for Canada as a whole, the population growth rate was 1.2% during this period. The population living in CMAs was generally younger than the population living outside CMAs. The median age of the population residing in CMAs was 39.0 years while it was 43.4 years for those living outside CMAs.

Strongest increases in census metropolitan area population growth are on the Prairies

For a second consecutive year, the four fastest growing CMAs were in Alberta and Saskatchewan, with Calgary recording the strongest population growth rate at 4.3%. The next highest population growth rates were in the CMAs of Saskatoon (+3.9%), Edmonton (+3.8%) and Regina (+3.1%). Oshawa (+1.6%) and Winnipeg (+1.6%) were the only two other CMAs in the country recording population growth rates higher than the average rate of all CMAs (+1.5%). On the other hand, Saint John (-0.5%), New Brunswick, was the only CMA in Canada to see its population decline.

Population growth also varied outside CMAs. While the non-CMA part of Alberta grew at a rate of 2.3% between July 1, 2012 and July 1, 2013, population decreases were recorded in the non-CMA parts of four provinces: Nova Scotia (-1.1%), Newfoundland and Labrador (-0.8%), New Brunswick (-0.5%) and Ontario (-0.3%).

Chart 1 
Population growth rates by census metropolitan area, 2012/2013, Canada
Bar clustered chart – Chart 1: Population growth rates by census metropolitan area, 2012/2013, Canada

Chart description: Population growth rates by census metropolitan area, 2012/2013, Canada

CSV version of chart 1

International migration the main driver of census metropolitan area population growth

International migration was responsible for just over two-thirds of the population growth of CMAs in 2012/2013. This situation was particularly true for Canada's largest CMAs. In each of the eight most populated CMAs, international migration was the main driver of population growth. On the other hand, in most CMAs with populations under 200,000, the largest part of the population growth was explained by intraprovincial migration.

In 2012/2013, Saskatoon had the largest net international migration rate for a CMA in Canada (+2.1%). The largest natural increase was recorded in the Calgary CMA (+0.9%), which also registered the highest net interprovincial migration rate in Canada (+1.3%).

Census metropolitan areas have a younger population than non-census metropolitan areas

On July 1, 2013, the median age of the population residing in a CMA was 39.0 years, compared with 43.4 years for the non-CMA population. The proportion of the population 65 years of age and older (seniors) was also lower in CMAs (14.2%) than in areas outside CMAs (17.9%).

Trois-Rivières and Peterborough were the CMAs with the highest proportion of seniors (20.3%). Trois-Rivières also posted the highest median age amongst CMAs at 45.7 years. On the other hand, Saskatoon had the lowest median age (34.5 years) while Abbotsford–Mission had the largest proportion of people under the age of 15 (18.4%). Calgary had the smallest proportion of seniors (9.9%).

Chart 2 
Distribution of population by age group and census metropolitan area, Canada, July 1, 2013
Stacked bar chart – Chart 2: Distribution of population by age group and census metropolitan area, Canada, July 1, 2013

Chart description: Distribution of population by age group and census metropolitan area, Canada, July 1, 2013

CSV version of chart 2

Population also ageing in census metropolitan areas

While the population living in CMAs was younger than the population living outside CMAs, it was nonetheless also getting older. Between July 1, 2003 and July 1, 2013, the proportion of people 65 years of age and older living in CMAs rose from 12.1% to 14.2%. Meanwhile, the proportion of people 65 years of age and older living in areas outside CMAs rose from 14.4% to 17.9%.

Over the 10-year period, the proportion of people 65 years of age and older increased in all CMAs except Regina and Saskatoon, which posted small declines. The largest gains were in the CMAs of Saguenay (up 5.2 percentage points to 18.5%) and Trois-Rivières (up 4.9 percentage points to 20.3%).

As of July 1, 2013, the number of people 65 years of age and older exceeded the number of people under 15 years of age in 13 of Canada's 34 CMAs. In the past year, 2 CMAs, Hamilton and Saint John, both saw their proportion of people 65 years of age and older exceed that of people under 15 years of age for the first time.

Note to readers

Annual demographic estimates by age and sex for census divisions, census metropolitan areas and economic regions as of July 1, 2013 are now available. Revised estimates as of July 1, for the years 2001 to 2012, are also available.

Estimates released today are based on 2011 Census counts adjusted for census net undercoverage and incompletely enumerated Indian reserves.

These estimates are also based on the 2011 Standard Geographical Classification.

A rate that is higher than -1 per thousand and lower than 1 per thousand is considered to be neutral or low. Rates are based on the average population during the period examined. Preliminary postcensal estimates are subject to revision. Future updates could affect trend analysis.

Available in CANSIM: tables CANSIM table051-0056 to 051-0064.

Definitions, data sources and methods: survey number survey number3608.

The publication Annual Demographic Estimates: Subprovincial Areas, 2006 to 2013 (Catalogue number91-214-X), is now available from the Browse by key resource module of our website under Publications.

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; infostats@statcan.gc.ca) or Media Relations (613-951-4636; mediahotline@statcan.gc.ca).