The newest data from Statistics Canada has confirmed that Canada remains the fastest-growing country in the G7. In fact, our population grew at almost twice the rate of other G7 countries.
In the spring of 2021, Canada’s agency for the collection of demographic, economic, social and cultural data completed a new census of the population – the first since 2016. As they roll out the results, they’ve provided interesting comparative data and put a spotlight on some of the most interesting findings.
Here are some highlights:
Canada is the fastest growing G7 country
From 2016 to 2021, our population grew at almost twice the rate of even the fastest-growing G7 countries – the United Kingdom and the United States – and nearly five times the rate of France and Germany. Italy and Japan had negative population growth over that period. Canada was also the fastest growing G7 nation in the previous period – 2011 to 2016.
Much of this growth is due to strong immigration levels over the last decade, including business immigration. However, unlike most other G7 countries, Canada’s natural growth – via fertility – continues to be positive – about 0.1% - and is not expected to become negative within the next 50 years. The populations of Japan and Italy are experiencing decline due to low birth rates and low immigration rates.
Canada was the seventh-fastest growing G20 nation.
COVID-19 had a real affect on immigration
As with most G7 countries, Canada’s population growth is primarily driven by immigration rather than fertility and, as a result, our growth rate slowed during the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2019, Canada had a record high growth rate of 1.6% followed by its lowest growth rate in a century at 0.4% in 2020.
However, even in this downturn Canada was outperforming our neighbour to the south. In the period from July 1, 2020 to July 1, 2021 the population in the United States experienced just 0.1% growth.
The most recent quarterly demographic estimates from Statistics Canada suggest that Canadian population growth is back to pre-pandemic levels.
Canada's cities are flourishing
Like much of the rest of the world, Canada is rapidly urbanizing. About three-quarters of all Canadians live in one of our 41 largest urban centres and 90% of new immigrants settle in one of these communities. For the first time in 30 years, all urban centres experienced positive population growth.
Canada’s biggest cities – Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary – all experienced positive growth from 2016 to 2021, but the rate of growth in Toronto, Calgary and Edmonton has slowed since the previous period, 2011 to 2016.
Waterloo remains one of Canada's fastest growing communities
We have previously reported that Waterloo is one of Canada’s fastest growing communities, and that remains true. According to Statistics Canada, we were the 6th fastest-growing community in Canada from 2016 to 2021, with a 9.9% growth rate, which is nearly double the growth rate captured in previous census.