As Quebec cuts immigration, statistics foreshadow demographic crunch

Good overview of the numbers:

As Premier François Legault prepares to cut immigrationby about 20 per cent, new statistics indicate Quebec has the oldest inhabitants in Canada and its overall population is growing at a slower pace than most other provinces.

The figures may lend credence to critics of the Coalition Avenir Québec plan, including the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal and Quebec’s largest employer group, who say cutting immigration could exacerbate a demographic and labour crunch.

Quebec will cut the number of new arrivals by more than 10,000 a year — from 53,300 in 2018 to between 38,000 and 42,000 in 2019. There is no indication when or if the number will be raised in the future.

On Thursday, the Institut de la statistique du Québec published its annual demographic update — a snapshot of Quebec as of Jan. 1, 2018. Here’s some of what it revealed:

8.3 million

Quebec’s population in 2017. It grew by 85,700, or one per cent. That’s a growth rate of 10.3 per 1,000 people, which is lower than the provincial average (13 per 1,000). Only New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Nova Scotia had lower growth rates than Quebec. Ontario registered the biggest increase: 15.6 per 1,000.


Percentage of Canadians who live in Quebec. That figure has remained steady in recent years. But since the early 1970s, Quebec’s proportion of Canada’s population has fallen by more than five percentage points (from 27.9 per cent in 1971). Meanwhile, Alberta’s has increased by four points and Ontario’s has jumped by three points. The Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal has urged Quebec to increase immigration to 60,000 per year in part to maintain the province’s demographic weight. A further drop in Quebec’s weight could mean less political clout within Canada when new seats are added to the House of Commons.


Percentage of Quebec’s population 65 or older. Across Canada, the average is lower – 17 per cent. In addition to having more older inhabitants, Quebec also has fewer residents 20 or younger (20.6 per cent, compared to 21.6 per cent across Canada).


Number of babies born in Quebec in 2017. That’s 2,400 fewer than in 2016. Quebec’s fertility rate was 1.54 children per woman, slightly more than the Canadian average of 1.49. Quebec was in the middle of the pack — five provinces had lower rates and four have higher rates.


Percentage of babies born in Quebec last year who have at least one parent born outside Canada. In most of these cases, both parents were born elsewhere. This trend has grown steadily in recent years. In 1980, 13 per cent of babies had at least one foreign-born parent. By 2000, the figure had jumped to 21 per cent.


Number of immigrants who arrived in Quebec in 2017. That’s a decrease of 850 compared to the previous year. Quebec welcomed 18 per cent of the immigrants who came to Canada, less than its demographic weight (it has just under 23 per cent of Canada’s population). Quebec took in 6.3 immigrants for every 1,000 current residents. That’s lower than the Canadian average (8.3 per 1,000) but higher than the United States (3.5 per 1,000). Almost 60 per cent of Quebec’s new immigrants were in the 20-to-44 age group. Seventy-three per cent of immigrants who arrived in Quebec in 2015 still lived in the province in 2017.


Number of immigrants who came to Quebec from China, the single biggest source of newcomers in 2017. They represented 10 per cent of new immigrants. In second and third spot: France (8.6 per cent) and Syria (seven per cent). The previous year, the order was: Syria, France, China.


Number of Canadians from other provinces who moved to Quebec. That’s the highest number in more than a decade. The surge helped reduce the net outflow of residents to other provinces. In total, 6,500 more people left Quebec for other parts of Canada last year than arrived in Quebec from other provinces. That’s the smallest interprovincial population loss since 2011. Most between-province moves involve the 401. In 2017, 12,500 Ontario residents moved to Quebec, while almost 19,000 Quebecers relocated to Ontario.

Source: As Quebec cuts immigration, statistics foreshadow demographic crunch

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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