Manitoba's population increased by slightly more than 16,000 between April 2011 and April 2012.

The province is now home to 1,261,500 people, according to Statistics Canada figures released Thursday.

The main driver of the growth was a record arrival of 16,074 immigrants from around the world. As well, during the last 12 months there were 16,483 babies born in Manitoba —the highest number of births in the last 17 years.

While some people also left the province, the net gain was 16,045.

The growth of 1.3 per cent is the highest level since modern-day record keeping began in 1971, provincial trade minister Peter Bjornson stated in a news release.

"With this population gain, Manitoba has now exceeded the national growth rate for the third consecutive year," he said, adding, "our growth was the third highest among the provinces."

Manitoba's population has increased by nearly 107,000 over the last 10 years, driven by a net inflow to the province of some 53,300 people, Bjornson said.

In the previous 10-year period, the population grew by 43,800 with a net loss of 15,500 people to other provinces and countries.