Quebec City is the capital of Quebec, the second most populous Canadian province after Ontario. The city has a population of approximately 531,902 in 2017, while the metropolitan area (the administrative division of Quebec) is home to 800,296 people. This makes it Canada's seventh largest metropolitan area and Quebec's second largest city after Montreal.
The city's population density averages 228.6 inhabitants per square kilometer (592/square mile), with an average of 5.3 per square kilometer (14/square mile) for the province as a whole. The total surface area of the city comes to about 485.77 kilometers squared (187.56 square miles).
48.2% of people living in Quebec City are male while 51.8% are female, and 4.7% of these are children. In the province of Quebec, 5.2% are children – this figure increases to 5.6% in Canada overall. Most individuals living in the city are native French speakers, with only 1.5% of residents being speakers of English (this includes the metropolitan area). In the 1860s, the number of those speaking English was at its peak, with 40% of all those living in Quebec City considered Anglophone. This high number dropped as a result of fewer British immigrants moving to the city, instead choosing to move to other parts of Canada as well as to the USA.
During the yearly Quebec Winter Carnival, the number of English speakers increases dramatically as the event attracts high numbers of Anglophone tourists. As much as 94.6% of the city's population speaks French as their mother tongue. As a result of this, the city has retained its French character.
In 2016, Quebec City's population included 3% "visible minorities" (a term used by the Canadian government to refer to "persons, other than aboriginal peoples, who are non-Caucasian in race or non-white in colour"). This figure is the smallest of any major city in Canada. However, increasing numbers of individuals from North and West Africa and Latin America have been settling in the city in recent years. Newcomers tend to settle in Limoilou, Vanier, as well as the northern part of Sainte-Foy. One reason for this is that there are more lower cost apartments than in the rest of the city.
Despite the fact that Quebec City was the capital of the French empire in North America, it was no more than a large village for many years. Back in 1608 it had only 28 residents, this number increasing to just over 8000 by the time of the Conquest in 1759. Rapid growth occurred in the early 1800s, and by 1861 there were nearly 60,000 people calling the city home. This growth was a result of economic expansion associated with the timber trade and various administrative and political activities taking place in Quebec City. Between 2006 and 2011, Quebec City's population increased by 6.5%, compared to an increase of 4.9% for Quebec province.