Canada Year Book


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    Canada's rate of population growth has been accelerating for six straight years. On July 1, 2009, the population had grown to over 33.7 million. Since July 1, 2006, Canada's population has grown by 3.6%, or nearly 1.2 million people.

    Although the median age of Canada's population has been increasing since the end of the baby boom, it remains one of the youngest among the members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). As of July 1, 2009, the median age was 39.5 years. Roughly one in seven Canadians is aged 65 or older, whereas one in six is under 15.

    On average, the population is older east of Ontario, younger in the West and youngest in the North; British Columbia is the exception, with a median age above the national average.

    Nationally, the population growth from 2008 to 2009 was based on a 38% increase in the net number of non-permanent residents, as well as on a slight increase in natural growth (births minus deaths). The population grew in all provinces and territories except the Northwest Territories.

    Ontario surpasses 13 million

    Ontario, the country's most populous province and home to the most immigrants, has surpassed 13 million inhabitants. Yet, 2008/2009 marked the third year in a row that population growth in Ontario, at 1.0%, was below the national average. Ontario has been losing more residents through interprovincial migration—particularly to western provinces—than it has been gaining for six consecutive years.

    The most rapid population growth continues to occur in western Canada. For eight consecutive years, Alberta has had the strongest population growth of any province, 2.5% in 2008/2009. Alberta has been attracting the most migrants from other provinces and territories each year since 1996/1997.

    Nunavut has highest fertility rate

    Canada's total fertility rate, or the average number of children per woman, rose from 1.59 in 2006 to 1.66 in 2007. Nunavut had the highest fertility in the country, 2.97 children per woman, and Newfoundland and Labrador had the lowest, 1.46 children per woman. Over the last decade, the age-specific fertility rates of women aged 30 and older have increased, whereas rates of younger women have decreased.

    Chart 24.4 Population projections, children and seniors
    View data source for chart 24.1

    A metropolitan population

    On July 1, 2009, more than two-thirds of Canadians (68.8%) lived in census metropolitan areas (CMAs). From 2008 to 2009, the total CMA population increased at a greater rate (1.6%) than that of the country overall (1.2%).

    Since 1999, Calgary's population has grown 32.9%. With 3.2% growth since 2008, it remains the fastest-growing CMA in Canada, followed by Saskatoon at 2.8% and Edmonton at 2.5%. While nearly all CMAs showed positive growth in 2009, Windsor and Thunder Bay both experienced decreases in their population (-0.6% and -0.5%, respectively).

    Chart 24.2 Population growth rates, by province and territory
    View data source for chart 24.2

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