Canada's population tops 36 million as immigrants, refugees swell numbers

A record number of immigrants and refugees arriving on Canadian shores helped push Canada's official population over 36 million as of July 1, Statistics Canada says.

Increase in people living in the country in 2016 the largest since 1988, Statistics Canada says

Syrian refugees such as Osama, left, and his baby daughter drove a surge in Canada's population last year. (Chris Young/Canadian Press)

A record number of immigrants and refugees arriving on Canadian shores helped push Canada's official population over 36 million as of July 1, Statistics Canada says.

The data agency says there were 437,815 more people living in Canada than there were on the same day a year earlier, bringing the official population to 36,286,425.

In absolute terms, that's the biggest annual surge since 1988. In percentage terms, the population grew by 1.2 per cent.

The "increase is one of the largest increases since the baby boom in the 1950s," BMO economist Doug Porter said, "although this recent increase is driven more by immigration."

Indeed, the numbers show that some 320,932 immigrants arrived in Canada between the two Canada Days. More than 30,000 Syrian refugees are included in that figure, as they are classified as permanent residents by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.

"The country had not received such a large number of immigrants in a single annual period since the early 1910s, during the settlement of Western Canada," Statistics Canada said in a release.

Ontario leads the way

Two provinces still make up the majority of the country's population:

  • Ontario at 13.9 million.
  • Quebec at 8.3 million.

By age bracket, the single largest demographic group was people between ages 50 and 54, with 2,711,318 across the country.

Other statistics as of July 1 include:

  • The average age was 40.6, up slightly from 2015's level.
  • There were 7,345 centenarians across the country.
  • There were more than 56,000 people between ages 95 and 99.

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