Canada’s population is nearly 38 million according to Statistics Canada who have just issued preliminary findings from the 2021 census.
One thing that has not changed from the last census five years ago is that Canada remains the fastest growing country in the G7. Most of that growth is attributable to more people arriving here from around the world to start a new life. Approximately 1.8 million more people were calling Canada home in 2021 compared with five years earlier, with four in five of these having immigrated to Canada since 2016. Highlights of the 2021 Census include:
- Canada’s population grew at almost twice the pace of other G7 countries from 2016 to 2021.
- Although the pandemic halted Canada’s strong population growth in 2020, it continued to be the fastest among G7 countries.
- Canada is home to almost 37 million people, 1.8 million (+5.2%) more than in 2016. Most of the increase occurred prior to the pandemic, with Canada’s population rising by a record high of 583,000 people (+1.6%) in 2019.
- Immigration, not fertility, mostly drove Canada’s population growth from 2016 to 2021 and was also the main reason for the slowdown since 2020 due to border restrictions put in place to curb the spread of COVID-19.
- The population of the Maritimes grew at a faster pace than the Prairies for the first time in the census since the 1940s.
- The population of Yukon (+12.1%) grew at the fastest pace nationally from 2016 to 2021, while Prince Edward Island (+8.0%) and British Columbia (+7.6%) had the highest growth rates among the provinces.
- Newfoundland and Labrador (-1.8%) was the lone province to see its population decline from 2016 to 2021.
- Canada continues to urbanize. The population rose in all 41 large urban centres from 2016 to 2021, with growth accelerating in most of them.
- The census counted just over 6.6 million Canadians (6,601,982) living in a rural area in May 2021, up 0.4% compared with five years earlier, but well below the pace of growth in urban areas (+6.3%). Immigrants are far more likely to settle in an urban area than a rural setting, which explains most of the difference in growth.
- In 2021, Canada had 41 census metropolitan areas with more than 100,000 people, up from 35 in the previous census. The six new large urban centres are Fredericton, Drummondville, Red Deer, Kamloops, Chilliwack and Nanaimo.
- Resort destinations such as Squamish, British Columbia; Canmore, Alberta; as well as Wasaga Beach and Collingwood in Ontario, are among the fastest growing communities in Canada.
- Within large urban centres, downtowns grew at a faster pace from 2016 to 2021 than during the previous census (2011 to 2016).