The year 2023 marked a significant milestone in Canada’s history, as the country’s population reached 40 million residents. This unprecedented event is a testament to Canada’s dynamic and robust growth over the years, and serves as a cause for celebration as we look to the future.
Anil Arora, the Chief Statistician of Canada, remarked, “This is an exciting milestone for Canada. It is a strong signal that Canada remains a dynamic and welcoming country, full of potential. As we head into Canada Day, this is certainly cause for celebration!” His statement is an embodiment of the Canadian spirit, always striving for growth and inclusivity, which is evident in its diverse population.
The 40 millionth Canadian might be unknown, but they will be stepping into a vibrant, diverse society that has been shaped by myriad cultural influences, fostering a sense of belonging for all its citizens and residents.
Population Growth in Canada
Canada’s population growth in 2022 is the largest recorded in its history. Over the year, the population rose by an astonishing 1,050,110. This marks the first time Canada’s population increased by over one million in a single year, and it’s the highest annual population growth rate (+2.7%) on record since 1957, when it was +3.3%.
Previously, this record growth was primarily driven by a surge in births during the post-war baby boom era. However, the growth observed in 2022 was mostly attributed to international migration, which accounted for nearly 96% of the population increase.
In 2022, all provinces and territories in Canada, with the exception of the Northwest Territories, experienced an increase in population. Canada has also led the G7 countries in terms of population growth for the past two decades. Should this trend continue, Canada’s population could potentially double in just about 26 years.
Diverse Population in Canada
Immigrants and permanent residents form a crucial part of Canada’s diverse society. In 2021, over 8.3 million people, almost a quarter (23%) of the total population, were, or had ever been, a landed immigrant or permanent resident in Canada. This proportion is the largest since the confederation, surpassing the previous 1921 record of 22.3%, and it’s the highest among the G7 countries.
The immigrant population in Canada is a driving factor for its vibrant diversity and contributes significantly to the country’s economic and social fabric. Their cultural influences and perspectives continue to shape the Canadian landscape, reinforcing its reputation as a welcoming nation.
Indigenous Population in Canada
Canada’s Indigenous population growth has outpaced the national average, demonstrating a dynamic and growing community within the nation. Between 2016 and 2021, the Indigenous population increased by 9.4%, compared to the 5.3% growth of the non-Indigenous population during the same period.
As of the 2021 census, 1.8 million Indigenous people reside in Canada, accounting for 5% of the country’s total population, up from 4.9% in 2016. This increased presence signifies a stronger recognition of Indigenous culture and rights, and their ongoing contribution to the nation’s identity.
Since conducting its first national census in 1871, Statistics Canada has closely monitored the nation’s population growth. Over the years, Canada has witnessed several significant waves of immigration that have played a crucial role in its population increase.
The start of the 20th century saw one of the most substantial immigration waves, with many individuals settling in the Prairies. In 1913, Canada welcomed over 400,000 immigrants, a record only surpassed in 2021 and 2022.
The post-Second World War period (1946-1965) also experienced high rates of population growth, largely attributable to the baby boom. The average number of children per woman peaked at 3.94 in 1959, compared to the reduced rate of 1.4 in 2020.
After the 1960s, the fertility rate began declining, leading to immigration overtaking natural increase (births minus deaths) as the primary source of population growth by 1995. This shift has had a significant impact on Canada’s demographics, with more Canadians aged 65 and older than between 0 and 14 for the first time in history by 2015.
Impacts of COVID-19
The global pandemic led to significant changes in population trends due to the restrictions placed on international travel. In 2020-2021, population growth in Canada slowed as a result of these restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19. However, the resilience of Canada’s immigration system and the appeal of the country’s opportunities quickly led to a bounce back in population growth, reaffirming Canada’s status as a destination of choice for many.
Immigration Targets and Canada’s Future
Since 2016, Canada’s immigration targets have been on the rise in an effort to address labor shortages and the aging population. These increasing targets reveal a strategic approach to population growth and economic stability. The steady influx of international talent helps to fill labor gaps, drive innovation, and sustain the country’s social and economic growth.
As Canada continues to welcome immigrants from around the world, the cultural landscape of the country becomes even more diverse. The intermingling of cultures, ideas, and perspectives contributes to the unique Canadian identity and further strengthens its global standing.
The milestone of 40 million residents stands as a testament to Canada’s welcoming spirit, strong social policies, and economic stability. While many countries grapple with population decline, Canada has achieved significant growth, leading the G7 countries in terms of population increase.
With the current trend driven significantly by permanent and temporary migration, if this pace continues, projections indicate that Canada’s population could reach 50 million by 2043. As Canada continues to grow, it retains its reputation as a country full of potential, welcoming those who wish to call it home. The future certainly holds exciting possibilities for Canada, and it’s a future that will be shaped by an increasingly diverse and vibrant population.
As Canada celebrates this milestone, it’s also a time to reflect on the policies, strategies, and values that have enabled this growth. Continued commitment to these elements will ensure that Canada remains a dynamic and diverse nation as it strides confidently into the future.