Reuters

New census figures show population dominance moving away from the east.

The first population figures from the 2011 Canadian census have been released. Overall, immigration is fueling much of the country’s population growth, its cities are showing sometimes huge growth rates, and for the first time, the majority of Canadians live in the western half of the country.

According to Statistics Canada, the country’s population is now 33.4 million people, an increase of 5.9 percent between 2006 and 2011. This represents the fastest growth rate among G8 countries. Two-thirds of the growth is attributed to net international migration.

Canada's three largest metro areas – Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver – account for 35 percent of the total population. Calgary and Edmonton are the two fastest growing metros, with growth rates of 12.6 percent and 12.1 percent, respectively. Overall, Canada's 33 metro areas grew faster than the country as a whole, with a rate of 7.4 percent compared to the national rate of 5.9 percent. Only two metros saw negative growth rates: Windsor at -1.3 percent and Thunder Bay at -1.1 percent. Both are located in Ontario.

And as this report notes, the population share of the Western provinces now exceeds that of the Eastern provinces. It’s a slight edge, with the West at 30.7 percent of the population and the East at 30.6 percent, but it's significant nonetheless. As cities and provinces in the western part of the country continue to see high growth rates, Canada as a whole will begin to become less of an eastern-dominated country. As the Globe and Mail reports:

The census results confirm what many Canadians already instinctively understand. The country is reorienting itself toward the Pacific. Oil, gas, potash and other resources are drawing newcomers. The region’s political and economic influence is growing as a result. 

Alberta looks to be the new center of growth in Canada, with 10 of the top 15 fastest growing cities in the country.

While the traditionally east-based power structure of the country looks to be heading west, the eastern provinces aren’t just drying up. The new face of Canada is likely to be bi-coastal, and the political leadership will have to pay increasing attention to the booming west.

Photo credit: Todd Korol / Reuters

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Maria Romano stands behind one of her three children, Jennifer, 10, as she gets something to eat in their Harlem apartment in New York Thursday, June 3, 2005
    Equity

    Why HUD Wants to Restrict Assistance for Immigrants

    A proposal by Ben Carson’s agency would eject immigrant families from public housing to make way for the "most vulnerable." Housing advocates aren't buying it.

  2. a rendering of the moon village with a view of Earth
    Design

    Designing the First Full-Time Human Habitat on the Moon

    SOM, in partnership with the ESA and MIT, wants to accommodate research and maybe even tourism on the moon.

  3. Solar panels on a New York City rooftop.
    Environment

    New York City Passes Sweeping Climate Legislation

    The Climate Mobilization Act lays the groundwork for New York City’s own Green New Deal.

  4. a photo of a Metro PCS store in Washington, D.C.
    Equity

    What D.C.’s Go-Go Showdown Reveals About Gentrification

    A neighborhood debate over music swiftly became something bigger, and louder: a cry for self-determination from a community that is struggling to be heard.

  5. Transportation

    Electric Scooters Aren’t a Transportation Revolution Yet

    New data show a staggering rise in shared dockless e-scooter use nationwide. But commuting habits have seen little change since the dawn of micromobility.