Canada’s population could nearly double by the year 2068, with much of that growth the result of continued immigration, said Statistics Canada (StatsCan) in a new report released Tuesday.
The report looked at population projection for the country, and how those projections might evolve in the near future, as well as the current situation.
“The Canadian population has grown substantially in recent years, increasing from 30.7 million people in 2000 to 37.1 million in 2018,” said StatsCan.
The agency said that while the populations of many developed countries are expected to decrease, Canada’s population is projected to grow over the next 50 years, largely because of strong immigration numbers.
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That said, where this growth takes place “is likely to vary” across the country, with the population of some provinces and territories increasing and others decreasing.
“The projections show that growth would continue in Canada over the next 50 years, and that the population could reach between 44.4 million and 70.2 million inhabitants by 2068,” said StatsCan. “In the medium-growth scenario, the Canadian population would grow from 37.1 million inhabitants in 2018 to 55.2 million by 2068.”
According to the low- and medium-growth scenarios, the rate of population growth would slow in the coming years, owing mainly to an increasing number of deaths relative to births, said StatsCan. The expected increase in the number of deaths is mainly related to population ageing.
However, in all scenarios, “immigration would remain the key driver of population growth over the next 50 years, as has been the case since the early 90s,” said StasCan.
An ageing population
According to all scenarios, Canada’s population would continue to become older in the coming years at both the national and the provincial and territorial levels.
“Over the next two decades in particular, the proportion of people aged 65 and older in the population would grow rapidly as the large baby-boom cohort (those born between 1946 and 1965) reaches age 65,” said StatsCan.
By 2068, the proportion of the population aged 65 and older would reach between 21.4% and 29.5%, depending on the scenario. In comparison, 17.2% of Canadians were aged 65 and over in 2018.
During the same period, the share of the working-age population — people aged 15 to 64, most of whom are in the labour force — would decrease according to all projection scenarios, from 66.7% in 2018 to between 57.9% and 61.4% in 2068.
By 2068, the number of Canadians aged 80 and older would reach 5.5 million according to the medium-growth scenario, compared with 1.6 million in 2018.
“Driven by the baby boomers reaching age 100 and increasing life expectancy, the number of centenarians (people who are aged 100 or older) in Canada would peak at 90,200 people in 2065 according to the medium-growth scenario, compared with 10,000 people in 2018,” said StatsCan.
Ontario and Alberta make up “more than half” of projections
When it comes to where this growth would physically take place, StatsCan said Ontario and Alberta would make up more than half of Canada’s projected population growth between 2018 and 2068.
According to all projection scenarios, the population of Ontario would increase over the next 25 years, reaching between 16.5 million and 20.4 million inhabitants by 2043. The province would continue to remain the most populous.
In all scenarios, the rate of population growth in Alberta would be the highest among Canadian provinces over the next 25 years. By 2043, Alberta’s population would number between 6 million and 7.3 million inhabitants depending on the scenario, compared with 4.3 million in 2018.
Together, Alberta and Ontario would account for more than half of Canada’s projected growth between 2018 and 2043 in all scenarios.