Immigration could drive Canada’s population to 55 million by 2068: Statistics Canada

Shelby Thevenot
Published: September 17, 2019

While many developed countries are expected to see some population decrease over the next 50 years, Canada's population is projected to flourish as a result of immigration.

Statistics Canada reports the Canadian population could reach 55 million people by 2068 under a medium-growth scenario, up from 37.1 million in 2018.

The agency created nine “plausible long-term scenarios” in order to project what Canada’s population may look like in the future: a low-growth scenario, a high-growth scenario, five medium-growth scenarios that differ in interprovincial migration assumptions, a fast-aging scenario, and a slow-aging scenario.

“In all scenarios, immigration would remain the key driver of population growth over the next 50 years,” Statistics Canada reports, “as has been the case since the early 1990s.”

Population growth in Ontario and Alberta projected to outpace other provinces

Statistics Canada projected that the population will increase in some provinces and territories but decrease in others over the next 25 years.

All scenarios showed Ontario’s population increasing, with a high estimate of 20.4 million residents by 2043 compared to 14.3 million in 2018.

The rate of population growth in Alberta would be the highest among Canadian provinces over the next 25 years, Statistics Canada says. Its population could reach a high of 7.3 million people by 2043, an increase of three million over 2018.

Most scenarios showed the population of Alberta surpassing that of British Columbia.

“Together, Alberta and Ontario would account for more than half of Canada’s projected growth between 2018 and 2043 in all scenarios,” Statistics Canada says.

Atlantic Provinces, Prairie Provinces, Quebec, Territories

The populations of Manitoba and Saskatchewan are also expected to grow over the next 25 years. Combined, the two provinces could outnumber the population of Quebec, according to all projection scenarios, by 2043.

Most scenarios showed Quebec’s population growing at a slower rate than the rest of Canada. Whereas Quebec’s share of the total Canadian population stood at 22.6 per cent in 2018, Statistics Canada’s projections showed it decreasing to between 20.1 per cent and 20.6 per cent by 2043.

Low, and in some scenarios, negative population growth is forecast for Canada's Atlantic Provinces, who are shown to represent "either a stable or a decreasing share of the Canadian population by 2043," Statistics Canada says.

The population of Canada’s three territories are expected to increase in all scenarios, yet their share of the total Canadian population would remain at about 0.3 per cent over the next 25 years.

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