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. Design

    What's Inside a Neighborhood in a Box?

    On the outskirts of New York City, a new housing model aimed at Millennials asks: What is city living?

  2. Environment

    Let's All Swim in the Once-Filthy Canals of Paris

    Unlike many cities, the French capital has made good on its promise to re-open urban waterways to bathers. How did they do it?  

  3. Environment

    Iceland Is Sick of Tourists' Bad Behavior

    Visitors are underestimating the country’s dangers—and taking locals for granted.

  4. Uber drivers sit in their cars waiting for passengers.
    Equity

    What Uber Drivers Say About Uber

    Researchers conducted in-depth interviews and discovered a lot about the pitfalls of working in the rideshare business.

  5. The Salk Institute, near San Diego
    Design

    This Is Your Brain on Architecture

    In her new book, Sarah Williams Goldhagen presents scientific evidence for why some buildings delight us and others—too many of them—disappoint.