Canada is experiencing a population boom. In the year to 1 July 2018, the country’s population grew by over 518,000 to 37.1 million. This was the largest population increase in numbers since 1957. As a proportion of the population, the 1.4 per cent annual growth rate was the fastest for almost 30 years and represented the highest population growth rate among the G7 nations (the USA is growing at about half this rate).
What is responsible for this population growth? Largely immigration and not natural increase. The population growth seen in the second quarter of 2018 accounted for nearly a third of the growth over the entire year to 1 July and was itself driven by international migration that had “never before [been] seen for any quarter”. International migration, the number of immigrants, returning emigrants and net non-permanent residents arriving in Canada minus the net temporary emigration and emigrants departing Canada, numbered 138,978 in this quarter, or 82 per cent of Canada’s population growth. The number of new immigrants (87,661) was the highest number for a quarter since these figures began to be collected in 1971. Similarly, the number of non-permanent residents (60,446) was “significantly higher than those observed in recent years” according to Statistics Canada. This was primarily down to an increase in the number of (in order of increase): work permit holders; study permit holders; and refugee claimants.
On the other side of the equation, natural increase is lagging far behind. The number of deaths (67,997) was the highest ever recorded for a three month period in Canada and this led to a low natural population increase of 29,709, the third lowest increase recorded for a second quarter. Thus, like many nations in the West, Canada is experiencing population growth, but it is mainly due to immigration.