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Highlights from the 2001 Census of Population
  • Canada has experienced one of the smallest census-to-census growth rates in its population. Between 1996 and 2001, the nation's population increased by 1,160,333 people, a gain of 4%. The Census counted 30,007,094 people in Canada on May 15, 2001, compared with 28,846,761 in 1996. Growth rates decelerated in every province except Alberta, compared with the early 1990s.

  • Lake Louise, AlbertaOnly three provinces and one territory registered growth rates above the national average of 4%. Alberta's population surged by 10.3%, compared with 5.9% between 1991 and 1996. Ontario gained 6.1%, British Columbia 4.9% and Nunavut 8.1%.

  • Six provinces experienced small changes in population (less than 1.5% in either direction): Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

  • Peggy's Cove, Nova ScotiaThe population of Newfoundland and Labrador declined for the second consecutive census period. Between 1996 and 2001, the province's population decreased 7%, more than double the 2.9% rate of decline during the previous five years. Yukon Territory and the Northwest Territories also showed declines of more than 5%.

  • For Canada as a whole, immigration was the main source of growth in population between 1996 and 2001, as the nation experienced a decline of about one-third in natural increase (the difference between births and deaths) compared with the previous 5-year period.

  • The trend in urbanization continued. In 2001, 79.4% of Canadians lived in an urban area with a population of 10,000 people or more, compared with 78.5% in 1996.

  • Stanley Park, Vancouver, British ColumbiaSeven of 27 census metropolitan areas had a growth rate at least double that of the national average of 4%; the largest growth rates were in Calgary, Oshawa and Toronto.

  • From 1996 to 2001, the nation's population has continued to concentrate further in four broad urban regions: the extended Golden Horseshoe in southern Ontario; Montréal and its adjacent region; the Lower Mainland of British Columbia and southern Vancouver Island; and the Calgary-Edmonton corridor1. Between 1996 and 2001, these four regions combined grew 7.6% compared with virtually no growth (+0.5%) in the rest of the country. In 2001, 51% of Canada's population lived in these regions compared with 49% in 1996.

  • 1The designation of these regions is based on clustered patterns of demographic growth observed between 1996 and 2001. The metropolitan areas of Ottawa - Hull (with over one million people in 2001), Windsor, and Halifax also experienced significant population growth during this period.