Last Census - 2011
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.
Projections currently show that Canada has a 2013 population of 35,163,430. The 2011 census results made Canada the 35th most populous country in the world, but it is now 37th, if the 2013 estimate is in fact accurate.
Canada Population 2013
In July 2011, the Canadian Government estimated that there were 34,482,779 people in Canada. This is just over 1 million more people than recorded in the census.
The reason for this difference is explained on the official census site; basically it's because not everyone is at home at the time the census is conducted. Statistical sampling was used to estimate how many people weren't officially recorded in the census, and the 2013 estimate of the population means Canada now has 35,163,430 residents.
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).
|Rank||Province/Territory||Abbreviation||Population (2011)||% of national population|
|9||Newfoundland and Labrador||NL||514,536||1.5%|
|10||Prince Edward Island||PE||140,204||0.4%|
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 country to the north is virtually uninhabited or with very little settlements. Toronto, meanwhile, is one of the largest metropolitan areas in the world with a density of 945.4 people per square kilometer.
The 2011 census data has not yet been broken down into this level of detail, but the 2006 census reported that 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.
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 Candians were Chistian (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%).
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 naturalised Canadian citizens who have moved back abroad -- most, but not all, to their country of origin.
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.
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."
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.
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. 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.