Analysis

During the first quarter of 2013, Canada’s population grew by 85,500 to reach an estimated 35,141,500 as of April 1, 2013. This represents a growth rate of 0.2%, similar to what was recorded for the first quarter in 2012. 1 

Net international migration accounted for 73.3% of the country’s population growth in the first quarter of 2013 while natural increase contributed to the remaining 26.7%.

In the first quarter of 2013, net international migration was nearly 62,700, up 4,600 from the same period in 2012. During the first three months of 2013, Canada received 58,200 immigrants, 2,600 more than in the same period last year. The net flow of non-permanent residents also rose in the first quarter of 2013 compared with 2012, going from 12,900 to 14,900.

Estimates of natural increase in the first quarter of 2013 were down by 6.8% compared with the same period in 2012.

Population growth in the provinces and territories

Preliminary estimates show that in the first quarter of 2013, population growth was above the national average (+0.2%) in Alberta (+0.9%), Yukon (+0.6%) and Saskatchewan (+0.4%). Among the provinces, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba and British Columbia posted population growth rates similar to the national average.

Atlantic provinces

The population of Newfoundland and Labrador remained relatively stable in the first quarter of 2013. As of April 1, the population of the province was estimated at 513,600.

On April 1, 2013, the population of Prince Edward Island was estimated at 145,800, a decline of 0.1% (-200) from January 1, 2013.

Nova Scotia’s population declined by 1,700 (-0.2%) in the first quarter of 2013, to a total of 945,000 as of April 1. This was the largest population decrease for all quarters in Nova Scotia since 1971. 2  The population decline was mainly the result of the second largest loss in interprovincial migration (-1,800). Preliminary estimates indicate that Nova Scotia lost more than 1,100 people in interprovincial migration exchanges with Alberta.

As of April 1, 2013, the population of New Brunswick was estimated at 754,000, a decline of 700 (-0.1%) from January 1, 2013. In this quarter, the population decline was predominantly the result of a loss in interprovincial migration (-500). Preliminary estimates indicate that the province lost more than 700 people in interprovincial migration exchanges also with Alberta.

Central Canada

In the first quarter of 2013, Quebec (+0.2%) and Ontario (+0.2%) experienced a population growth that was comparable to the national average.

On April 1, 2013, Quebec’s population was estimated at 8,099,100, up 14,100 from January 1, 2013. The population of Quebec grew by 0.2% during the first three months of 2013 which was fairly similar to its first-quarter growth observed in recent years. Net international migration was mainly responsible for the province’s population growth. Between January 1 and March 31, 2013, Quebec received close to 11,700 immigrants which was the second highest first-quarter level recorded for Quebec, with the highest posted in 1992. In the first quarter of 2013, Quebec also recorded its smallest deficit in net interprovincial migration (-900) for a first quarter since 2005.

Ontario posted a population growth of 22,700 (+0.2%) during the first quarter of 2013, reaching a population of 13,583,700 on April 1. This was the smallest first-quarter growth rate since 1972 owing mainly to a record loss in net interprovincial migration for a first quarter (-6,800). In particular, Ontario lost an estimated 6,000 people in interprovincial migration exchanges with Alberta. On the other hand, Ontario’s first-quarter net international migration was higher in 2013 (+21,900) than in 2012 (+20,900).

Western Canada

Alberta continued to lead all the provinces in population growth during the first quarter of 2013. Its population growth rate of 0.9% was around four times larger than the national average and more than double the growth rate of Saskatchewan (+0.4%).

On April 1, 2013, Manitoba’s population was estimated at 1,277,300, an increase of 0.2% compared with January 1, 2013. Net international migration (+2,600) continued to be the main factor of the province’s growth in this quarter. Compared with the same period in 2012, net interprovincial migration was similar (-800).

The population of Saskatchewan was estimated at 1,093,900 as of April 1, 2013, an increase of 4,100 (+0.4%) for the last three months. The growth stemmed mainly from net international migration (+3,100). Besides 2012, both the growth in population and net international migration were the second highest ever recorded in Saskatchewan for a first quarter since 1972. During this quarter, Saskatchewan welcomed 1,900 immigrants which was also the second highest first-quarter number.

Alberta’s population grew by 0.9% or 34,000 in the first quarter of 2013 to a total of 3,965,300 as of April 1. This level of first-quarter population increase in Alberta was the largest since 1972. This growth was the result of a conjunction of record level of many demographic components. Indeed, Alberta recorded the highest numbers in immigration (+8,100), net non-permanent residents (+6,900) and net interprovincial migration (+13,400) in a first quarter since 1972. Most of the province’s net inflows in interprovincial migration came from Ontario (+6,000) and British Columbia (+2,500).

As of April 1, 2013, the population of British Columbia was estimated at 4,650,000, an increase of 10,100 (+0.2%) during the quarter. This growth was slightly larger than what was recorded in the same period last year (+8,200). Net international migration (+9,800) was the main factor behind the province’s population growth. Net interprovincial migration improved in the first three months of 2013, with net losses of 1,600 compared with 2,500 in the first quarter of 2012. During the first quarter, the number of net non-permanent residents increased, from 1,800 in 2012 to 3,400 in 2013. Preliminary estimates indicate that British Columbia lost 2,500 people in interprovincial migration exchanges with Alberta in this quarter.

The territories

Yukon was the only territory to record a population increase (+0.6%) and its population was estimated at 36,400 on April 1, 2013. The population of the Northwest Territories remained relatively unchanged and was estimated at 43,300 as of April 1, 2013. The population of Nunavut was estimated at 34,000 as of April 1, 2013, a population decline of 0.3%.

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