Statistics Canada says immigrants pushed Canada’s population up by almost a full percentage point in the third quarter of this year, the fastest quarterly growth in 65 years.
By Oct. 1, the Canadian population had hit 39,292,355 people. That was up 362,453 people, or 0.9 per cent, from the country’s population on Canada Day.
“This was the highest quarterly population growth rate since the second quarter of 1957 when the population grew by 1.2 per cent,” reports Statistics Canada.
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“At the time, Canada’s population was 16.7 million people and it increased by 198,000 people. This rapid population growth was related to the high number of births during the post-war baby boom and the high immigration of refugees following the Hungarian Revolution in 1956.”
After more than six decades, immigration is still largely responsible for the most impressive population growth in Canada.
“Canada’s total population growth for the first nine months of 2022 was 776,217 people and has already surpassed the total growth for any full-year period since Confederation in 1867,” notes Statistics Canada.
“This high level of growth was mostly, 94 per cent, due to international migration which added 340,666 people … pushed Canada’s population over 39 million for the first time.”
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s (IRCC) record-breaking immigration targets are certainly helping to drive population growth.
In its 2023-2025 Immigration Levels Plan, the federal government targets record immigration to Canada each year through 2025.
The target for next year is 465,000 new permanent residents. The country would welcome 485,000 new permanent residents in 2024 and 500,000 in 2025.
That’s a total of 1.45 million immigrants to Canada over the coming three years.
“In the third quarter of 2022, Canada welcomed 122,145 immigrants, about the same number as in the third quarter of 2021, which saw 122,911 immigrants arrive, and the second-highest number of immigrants in any third quarter since 1946, the year quarterly data became available,” reports Statistics Canada.
Temporary Residents To Canada Are The Main Driver Of Population Growth
But all of those new permanent residents are not the main driver of Canada’s population growth.
“The record population growth in the third quarter of 2022 was mainly driven by an increase of 225,198 non-permanent residents,” reports Statistics Canada. “This increase was almost 68,000 more people than the last record increase, in the second quarter of 2022, which saw an increase of 157,310 non-permanent residents.
“This increase was driven by work permit holders, but all types of non-permanent residents increased, and Canada continued welcoming people fleeing the Russian invasion of Ukraine. All provinces and territories saw an increase in the number of non-permanent residents, with Ontario, up 106,459, British Columbia, up 39,429, and Quebec, up 34,299, accounting for 80 per cent of the increase.”
Earlier this year, the statistical and demographic services agency forecast that immigrants are likely to comprise more than a third of Canada’s population within the next 19 years because they are responsible for almost all population growth in the country.
“Given that the population of Canada continues to age and fertility is below the population replacement level, today immigration is the main driver of population growth,” noted Statistics Canada on Wednesday.
“If these trends continue, based on Statistics Canada’s recent population projections, immigrants could represent from 29.1 per cent to 34 per cent of the population of Canada by 2041.”
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That’s more than one in three Canadians.
And the arrival of all of those immigrants will significantly alter the demographic composition of the country, explained Statistics Canada.
“Immigrants come from many different countries, bringing with them their cultural, ethnic, linguistic and religious heritage,” noted the agency in its latest Daily report.
“In the past, the majority of immigrants in Canada came from Europe. However, over the past 50 years, the share of new immigrants from Europe has declined, with the share of new immigrants who were born in Asia (including the Middle East) increasing.
“Over time, Asia has become the top source region of new immigrants, and this trend continued in 2021. The share of new immigrants from Africa also increased. Together, immigrants, Indigenous people – who have walked this land for thousands of years, before Europeans settled here – and their descendants have helped shape Canada as it is known today.”
According to Statistics Canada, more than 8.3 million people, or almost one-quarter, exactly 23 per cent, of the Canadian population, were, or had ever been, landed immigrants or permanent residents in Canada.
“This was the largest proportion since Confederation, topping the previous 1921 record of 22.3 per cent, and the highest among the G7,” noted Statistics Canada.