Canada Population

Canada is the world’s second-largest country by total area and the largest North American country. Canada extends from the Pacific to the Atlantic and north to the Arctic Ocean.

The United States-Canadian border is the longest land border in the world. In 2015, Canada has an estimated population of 35.87 million, which ranks 37th in the world.Canada Population 2015

A census was conducted in Canada on 10 May 2011. Preliminary figures released on 8 February 2012 showed that the officially recorded population of Canada was 33,476,688. Today, Canada has an estimated population of 35.87 million.

Canada is one of the most sparsely populated countries in the world, with much of its land inhospitable.

The country’s population density is just 3 people per square kilometer (8/square mile), which ranks 228th in the world.

Rapid Population Growth

As you can see from the chart, Canada’s population has tripled since the 1940s, growing from 11 million at the time of the second world war to well over 35 million today.

Population growth has been fairly consistent over the past fifty years and shows no sign of slowing. Between the last census in 2006 and 2011, the number of people in Canada increased by an impressive 5.9%.

Canada’s growth is fueled largely by immigration. In fact, relative to its size, Canada is the largest importer of human capital in the G8, attracting even more immigrants per capita than the USA. Natural population growth, by contrast, accounts for only around a tenth of Canada’s overall population increase each year.

Given the large geographical area of Canada and its relative affluence, it is likely that its population will continue to grow rapidly for decades to come, leading some to speculate as to what a Canada of 100 million people might look like, and whether increased population combined with unrivaled access to natural resources would make Canada a global superpower.

Canada’s Population by Province and Territory

The census results also show the population of each Canadian province and territory. More than half of Canadians live in just two provinces; Ontario, where one in three Canadians live, and Quebec where almost a quarter of Canadians live.

The combined population of Canada’s three territories (Northwest, Yukon and Nunavut) is less than the population of Canada’s smallest province (Prince Edward Island).

RankProvince/TerritoryAbbreviationPopulation (2011)% of national population
British ColumbiaBC4,400,05713.1%
Nova ScotiaNS921,7272.8%
New BrunswickNB751,1712.2%
Newfoundland and LabradorNL514,5361.5%
Prince Edward IslandPE140,2040.4%
Northwest TerritoriesNT41,4620.1%

Largest Cities in Canada

The largest city in Canada by population is Toronto, home to 2,615,060 people at the time of the 2011 census. The wider Toronto metropolitan area is over twice as populous, containing 5,583,064 people in total.

Canada’s second-largest city is Montreal in Quebec, where 1,649,519 people live, followed in third place by Calgary in Alberta with 1,096,833. Calgary is growing at twice the Canadian average, however, so if current trends continue it will no doubt overhaul Montreal at some point.

Ottawa is Canada’s fourth-largest city – 883,391 people live in the capital city.

Canada Population Density

As you can see from the map, the majority of Canadians live in a narrow Southern belt along the border with the United States.
There are two main reasons for this.

The first, and most important, is that the most hospitable part of Canadian territory is in the south. Summers are warm and winters are not too harsh, making the area suitable for agriculture. The second reason is the majority of Canada’s trade (both import and export) is with its US neighbor, and it makes sense for the majority of Canadians to live as close to the US border as possible.

Canada as a whole has a population density of just 3.41 people per square kilometer (8.3/square mile), which makes it the 228th most densely populated country. Canada is also the second-largest country after Russia in terms of size, and the 4th largest in terms of land area. The population density is among the lowest in the world, mostly because a great deal of the countries to the north is virtually uninhabited or with very few settlements.

Toronto, meanwhile, is one of the largest metropolitan areas in the world with a density of 945.4 people per square kilometer.

Canada Demographics

According to the 2011 census, the most common ethnic origins in Canada are: European (77%), Asian (14%), Aboriginal (4%), Black (3%), Latin American (1%), and Multi-racial (0.5%).

32% of Canadians considered their ethnic origin to be Canadian. Other major groups recorded were English (21%), French (15.8%), Scottish (15.1%), Irish (13.9%), German (10.2%) and Italian (4.6%). The largest ethnicities of non-European origin (other than Canadian) were Chinese (4.3%) and First Nations (4.0%).

When reading these figures, you should bear in mind that census respondents could select multiple ethnic groups.

Canada’s aboriginal people are growing at twice the national rate. While 4% of the population claims an aboriginal identity, another 16% belongs to a non-aboriginal visible minority. More than 20% of the population is now foreign-born, and about 60% of new immigrants come from Asia, particularly China.

English and French are the official languages of Canada. In 2006, 59.7% of Canadians reported that English was their first language and 23.2% reported that French was their first language.

The only other language in Canada that is the mother tongue of more than a million people in Chinese. Although there are 11 aboriginal languages, only a few are spoken by enough people to ensure that they are safe from extinction.

Data on religious belief is only collected in every other census. The last data, collected in 2001, indicated that 77% of Canadians were Christian (43% Roman Catholic and 29% Protestant), 16.5% had no religion, 2% were Muslim. Other major religious groups were Jewish (1.1%), Buddhist and Hindu (1% each), and Sikh (0.9%).

Canadian Diaspora

An impressive 2.8 million Canadian citizens live outside of Canada itself; that’s equivalent to 9% of the overall Canadian population. For comparison, only 1.7% of US citizens live abroad but more than 20% of New Zealanders live abroad.

Around 1 million Canadians live in the United States. The next most popular destination is Hong Kong, where approximately 300,000 Canadians are based.

Around 4 in 10 Canadians living abroad were born in Canada, but a larger proportion (6 in 10) are naturalized Canadian citizens who have moved back abroad — most but not all, to their country of origin.

Canada Population Growth

Frank Trovato, a professor of population and demography studies at the University of Alberta, told CBS news that Canada’s population is “showing that we are growing but not by too much or too little.”

As Trovato put it, Canada still needs a robust increase to keep up with demands in the workforce and maintain a strong economy.

It may be time for policymakers in the country to consider ways to boost Canada’s fertility rates, such as with “family-friendly” policies that allow women to combine a family with a career.

Canada Population Clock
What is the population of Canada (as of November 26, 2015)?36,612,883
Last UN Estimate (July 1, 2015)35,939,927
Births Per Day5,313
Deaths Per Day3,780
Net Migrations Per Day3,014
Net Change Per Day4,547
Population Change Since January 1st1,495,963
Canada Population Indicators
IndicatorValueWorld Ranking
Median (Average) Age40.55 years31st
Crude Birth Rate10.549 births/thousand161st
Crude Death Rate7.505 deaths/thousand97th
Crude Net Migration Rate5.983 people/thousand7th
Life Expectancy (Both Sexes)82.63 years14th
Life Expectancy (Male)80.75 years9th
Life Expectancy (Female)84.44 years13th
Total Fertility Rate1.563 children/woman165th
Net Reproduction Rate0.753 surviving daughters/woman164th
Sex Ratio At Birth1.056 males per female60th
Infant Mortality Rate4.038 deaths/1,000 live births155th
Under Five Mortality4.611 deaths/thousand160th
Mean Age at Childbearing31.073 years27th Population Data via United Nations WPP (2015 Revision)

Canada Population Growth

Canada has one of the fastest growth rates of any G8 nation, growing faster than many other industrialized countries. Canada’s population has surpassed 35 million, which represents a 1.2% increase over one year and a growth that’s higher in the western provinces of the country.

Canada’s growth rate has remained rather stable over the last 30 years, ranging anywhere from 0.8% to 1.2%. For the past twenty years, net international migration has been Canada’s main source of growth, responsible for 2/3 of its growth between 2012 and 2013, and there is no indication this will change.

It’s estimated that this predictable growth will continue, and Canada may have 42.5 million residents by 2056, although it is expected to fall off a bit due to declines in natural population increases. It’s also predicted that deaths will outpace births by 2030, which means immigration will become the only growth factor for the country.

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Data Sources
  1. World Population Prospects – Global demographic estimates and projections by the United Nations

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