Alberta once again led the provinces in population growth, accelerating three times faster than the national average, according to new demographic data released by Statistics Canada.

Alberta's population reached an estimated 3,474,000 as of July 1, 2007 with an influx of immigrants from other provinces accounting for half of the increase.

The growth represents more than triple the national growth rate and is the largest increase since 1981-1982.

Migrating Canadians accounted for an increase of 51,000 people in the province, boosting the population rate to an all-time high.

However, the preliminary demographic data suggests interprovincial migration is beginning to cool off.

Quebec saw a spike in its immigration numbers with 45,100 new Canadians settling in the province, the highest number since 1992-1993.

Despite the influx of immigrants and a soaring birthrate, the province's population grew at a pace similar to previous years.

Ontario's population growth slowed to 1980-1981 levels, representing a 0.8 per cent increase due to slowing immigration rates and interprovincial migration.

However, the province still attracted 48.5 per cent of all immigrants to Canada in 2006-2007.

Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and Yukon showed declines in population between July 1, 2006 and June 30, 2007. After two years of losses, Saskatchewan rebounded with a demographic increase.

Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick populations increased, mainly the result of fewer losses in interprovincial migration and higher numbers of immigrants.

High birthrate fuels national growth

Canada's national population is teetering on the 33-million mark due to an overall increase of 1 per cent.

National population statistics for 2006-2007 include:

  • 352,800 babies born in Canada
  • 238,100 new immigrants received
  • 439,100 non-permanent residents

Net international migration and births continue to be the two main engines that fuel the national population, accounting for about two-thirds of the demographic increase.

But national immigration was down by 16,300 fewer people than the previous year.

While countries like Russia and the U.S. face all-time birthrate lows, Canada's birthrate rose to its highest level in a decade with births especially strong in Quebec, British Columbia and Alberta.