Statistics Canada reported on Thursday that the province’s population growth rate was 1.5 per cent in 2017-2018, compared with 1.1 per cent in 2016-2017.
“This was Alberta’s first upturn in population growth after four years of slowdown. This recent surge is mainly due to once-again positive interprovincial migratory exchanges. The province posted a gain of 1,438 people in the last year, compared with a deficit of 15,559 people in 2016-2017,” said the federal agency.
According to preliminary estimates, StatsCan said Canada’s population was 37,058,856 on July 1, up 518,588 from July 1, 2017.
“This translates into an increase of approximately one person every minute over the last 12 months,” it said. “The country’s annual population growth rate for 2017-2018 was 1.4 per cent, the highest since 1989-1990 (+1.5 per cent).
“Canada’s recent demographic growth is the highest among the G7 countries. It is twice the growth of the United States (+0.7 per cent) and exceeds the growth in the United Kingdom (+0.6 per cent), France and Germany (+0.3 per cent each). Population is decreasing in Italy and Japan.”
The federal agency said the 2017-2018 international migration increase was the highest ever measured in Canada’s history. International migration accounted for 79.6 per cent of population growth in 2017-2018, a proportion never observed up to now and attributable to an upward trend since the early 1990s.
“The strong 2017-2018 international migratory increase was fuelled not only by a high number of permanent immigrants, but also by an important increase in the number of non-permanent residents. Canada welcomed 303,257 immigrants in 2017-2018, the second largest annual number since the beginning of the period covered by the current demographic accounting system (July 1971). In 2015-2016, Canada admitted 323,192 immigrants, including close to 30,000 Syrian refugees,” said Statistics Canada.
“The number of non-permanent residents increased by 165,729 in 2017-2018. This increase surpassed the previous peak in 1988-1989, the year when the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada was created and the new refugee determination system was introduced. Although also fed by a strong increase of asylum seekers, the increase of the number of non-permanent residents in the country in 2017-2018 was still mainly explained by the rise in the number of work and study permit holders.”
Mario Toneguzzi is a veteran Calgary-based journalist who worked for 35 years for the Calgary Herald, including 12 years as a senior business writer.