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According to Statistics Canada, there may be 63 million people living in Canada by 2073.

Based on data from 2023 to 2073, which is modelled using what Statistics Canada calls “various projection scenarios,” the number of people living in Canada in 50 years could range from 47.1 to 87.2 million.

It is made clear by Statistics Canada that “projections are not predictions.” Furthermore, the department states that “recent trends” and “the opinions of population experts who were specifically consulted during the development of these projections” are taken into account in its projections.

However, the 63 million estimate is predicated on the medium-growth scenario (M1) used by Statistics Canada.

How is Canada’s population going to grow?

This projected growth, of roughly 21 million* over 50 years, is despite the aging of Canada’s natural population.

*Canada’s population, led by immigration, has recently surpassed 41 million less than a year after reaching the 40 million milestone

In fact, by 2073, “older adults” (aged 65 and older) in Canada could make up between 21.9% and 32.3% of the total population.

Simultaneously, the percentage of children (0 to 14 years old) in Canada’s population is projected to decrease by 2073. This is according to “most” of Statistics Canada’s projection models, including the M1 scenario that produced the 63 million population figure.

Overall, due to the projected increase in older residents and the decrease in children across the country, Canada’s average age would reach between 42.6 and 50.1 years in 2073. This is up from an average age of 41.6 years in 2023.

The population of Canada faces challenges.

According to the report, life expectancy has dropped for three years in a row (from 2020 to 2022), and fertility has hit a record-low level in 2022.

In fact, Statistics Canada reports that a number of factors, such as the aging population in the nation (along with low fertility and declining life expectancy), may account for the country’s declining life expectancy and declining rates of birthrate. As a result, the country’s annual population growth rate is expected to decline by 0.33% over the next fifty years, from an average of 1.12% over the previous thirty years to 0.79% in 2072/2073 (based on M1 projections).

This implies that two significant tendencies that contribute to population decline must be actively countered, even with Canada’s recent population growth. Lower birth rates prevent Canada from producing the new citizens required to repopulate the nation locally, in addition to reducing the population at the upper end of the population distribution. For example, in 2022, the fertility rate dropped to a record-low 1.33 births per woman. Reversing demographic declines through domestic births necessitates a fertility rate of 2.1 offspring per woman.

Furthermore (as mentioned already) another factor adds context to Canada’s natural population—an increasingly aging population. Older populations in countries like Canada can produce strain on Canada’s social systems such as healthcare. This is because these systems reduce costs to the individual by placing the majority of the burden on the working population at large—through taxes for example.

In the context of an aging population, this means that costs incurred through healthcare are increased while the number of people who can bear these costs for the country at large are reduced—with fewer young people able to enter and contribute to the Canadian labour force.

The key ingredient

One important tactic used to counteract the aforementioned trends is immigration. Not only does immigration account for nearly all of Canada’s labor force growth, but it also brings in the young people required to maintain demographic balance in the country and helps fill labor shortages in important industries. In reality, immigration has caused Canada’s population average age to drop from 40.9 to 40.6 years old—the lowest level in 65 years.

Crucially, immigration is a continuous solution. “The effect of receiving a high number of immigrants in 2022 and 2023 on the decline of the average and median ages is temporary, as population aging is an inevitable phenomenon,” states Statistics Canada. Although Canada’s immigration policy has received a lot of attention lately, Statistics Canada data suggests that, should the current trend continue, the nation’s economy, population, and standard of living depend heavily on the annual inflow of new immigrants.

In turn, this partnership will benefit the immigrants. In addition to enjoying a higher standard of living in a welcoming and multicultural society, immigrants (both temporary and permanent) often outearn native-born Canadians by the middle of their 20s, according to Statistics Canada data, depending on when they arrived.

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