Home Uncategorized Despite COVID-19, census shows Canada’s population growing fastest in G7

Despite COVID-19, census shows Canada’s population growing fastest in G7

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OTTAWA — Canada’s population has grown at a faster rate than many of its peers, reaching more than 36.99 million on Census Day last year despite a historic slowdown caused by COVID-19.

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According to Statistics Canada, the national population grew by 5.2% between 2016 and 2021, nearly double the rate of any other G7 country and faster than the previous five-year period.

The agency said the main reason for growth slowing from an all-time high to its lowest rate in a century was border restrictions which, while intended to slow the spread of COVID-19, have also slowed the pace of newcomers to Canada, who have been and remain essential to sustaining growth.

Statistics Canada said there were around 1.8 million more people calling the country in 2021 than in 2016, with four out of five being immigrants.

Federal immigration plans call for 411,000 new permanent residents this year, rising to 421,000 in 2023. Michael Haan, an associate professor in Western University’s sociology department, said these historically high targets would mean the demographic curve would take off. really.

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Immigration has been key to population growth as the birth rate has fallen, but the agency notes that the rate in 2021 hit an all-time low in a notable decline since 2008.

The number of children per woman hit 1.4 in 2020, the most recent year provided by the agency, an all-time high that is below the 2.1 mark needed for births to offset deaths. which is linked to the maintenance of a flourishing economy.

Statistics Canada said some of that slowdown could be pandemic-induced, but warned it could get worse in the future. A study by the agency late last year noted that adults under 50 wanted to have fewer children than expected.

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At this point, Canada is not headed for a situation where deaths outnumber births like in Italy and Japan, at least for the next 50 years. The key to avoiding this fate is the number of new immigrants who increase the population, but also the national birth rates.

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“If you attract immigrants, you’re going to grow, and if you don’t attract immigrants, chances are you’ll end up in demographic decline,” said Doug Norris, chief demographer at Environics Analytics, who spent 30 years at Statistics Canada, including census work.

The pandemic is expected to have an effect on census results, although experts suggest the country may have to wait a few years to find out whether COVID-19 has caused a permanent or temporary change in the population portrait.

“We will have to monitor trends in the years to come, probably until the 2026 census, to draw a definitive conclusion,” said Laurent Martel, director of the center of demography at Statistics Canada.

“Certainly the pandemic has accelerated some of these trends that we were already seeing in the data.”

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Early results released Wednesday from the 2021 census, taken against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, showed the Maritimes grew faster than the Prairies for the first time since the 1940s, largely thanks to immigration. Newfoundland and Labrador was the only province to register a decline.

Most of the population still resides in Ontario. But to the west, British Columbia saw its share of the pie grow and the Prairies saw its share rise to its highest level since 1951.

East of Ontario, Quebec’s population share continued to decline, as did the Atlantic provinces.

Immigrants generally settle in urban centres. The largest cities grew between 2016 and 2021, with Edmonton and Ottawa crossing the one million mark, and the number of cities with populations over 100,000 increased from 35 to 41. Rural areas also grew, although at a much slower pace than their metropolitan cousins.

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“This continues to show that we need to better plan our urban centers to make them more livable, more walkable and more connected, while also making them more affordable,” said Dan Huang, president of the Canadian Institute of planners.

“It’s the paradox of planning, I suppose, and policy-making in the country, to which there is no easy answer.”

Statistics Canada plans to add more flourishes to the paint-by-numbers exercise over the year to reveal more information about changes among Indigenous populations and work during the pandemic.

The next release date is scheduled for the end of April when Statistics Canada will present census results on the country’s aging, housing types and, for the first time, gender identity.

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