OTTAWA - Highlights from Wednesday's first release of data -- focused on population and dwellings -- from the 2016 census:

-- The census counted 35,151,728 people on May 10, 2016, an increase of 1.7 million for a growth rate of five per cent -- slightly lower than the 5.9 per cent reported in the 2006-2011 census period, but still the highest growth rate among all G7 countries.


-- By comparison, Statistics Canada says the population count in 1871 -- the first post-Confederation census -- was just 3.5 million, and 20 million in 1966.

-- At 11.6 per cent, Alberta continued to have the highest growth rate of all the provinces, up from 10.8 per cent in 2011.

-- Nunavut's fertility rate of 2.9, the highest in the country, helped to fuel a growth rate of 12.7 per cent, also the highest in Canada. Nunavut's population now surpasses that of Yukon for the first time ever.

-- Calgary was the fastest-growing census metropolitan area in 2016, with a growth rate of 14.6 per cent, followed by Edmonton at 13.9 per cent and Saskatoon at 12.5 per cent.

-- Among smaller urban areas, Sylvan Lake, Alta., posted a growth rate of 19.6 per cent, followed by Wasaga Beach/Collingwood, Ont., at 17.9 per cent and Okotoks, Alta., at 17.8 per cent.

-- At the other end of the scale, Saint John, N.B., reported negative growth of 2.2 per cent, while the population of New Brunswick as a whole declined by 0.5 per cent. Thunder Bay, Ont., reported zero growth, while Greater Sudbury, Ont., managed growth of just one per cent.

-- Smaller urban areas with the steepest declines included Campbellton, N.B./Que., down by 9.3 per cent, followed by Elliot Lake, Ont., at 5.3 per cent and New Glasgow, N.S., at 3.7 per cent.

-- The border city of Windsor, Ont., hard hit by the decline in manufacturing after the 2008 recession, appears to be enjoying a reversal of fortunes of sorts, with a growth rate of 3.1 per cent in 2016, following negative growth of 1.3 per cent during the previous period.

-- Nearly one-third of Canadians (31.6 per cent) live in Western Canada, and the bulk of those are in B.C. (13.2 per cent) and Alberta (11.6 per cent).

-- Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, the country's three largest census metropolitan areas, are home to 12.5 million people -- 35.5 per cent of the country's population.

-- Manitoba's growth rate, 5.8 per cent, outstripped the national growth rate for the first time in 80 years, mostly as a result of international migration.


-- Quebec's population surpassed 8 million for the first time ever, although because its growth rate remains well below that of Canada as a whole, its share of the national population has continued to dwindle -- 23.2 per cent in 2016, down from 28.9 per cent in 1966.

-- In 2016, two out of three people lived within 100 kilometres of the Canada-U.S. border.

-- The census metropolitan area of Vancouver has the highest population density in Canada, with 5,492.6 people per square kilometre, followed by the Montreal suburbs of Westmount and Cote-Saint-Luc. Toronto ranks 8th on the list at 4,334.4 people per square kilometre.