Experts are warning that high immigration numbers could hinder Canadian growth by driving up the cost of living and, subsequently, lowering domestic birth rates.
The latest census data shows that in 2011, two-thirds of Canada’s population growth came from immigration and only one-third was due to natural (birth) patterns.
Canadian birth rates have steadily been declining since the 1960s, when the average was 3.9 children for each woman. That rate has now fallen to 1.7, which is below the natural replacement rate of 2.1. Experts believe that the higher costs of raising a child today could be a contributing factor to this trend.
No matter the cause, the forecast seems clear – continued growth will require steady immigration in the coming years. Last year also marked the highest amount of immigrants to Canada on record, with a total of 280,000 new arrivals entering the country.
The result has kept Canada competitive with other members of the G8 nations in regards to population growth. However, some are concerned that the increased focus on immigration in Canada could be a contributing factor in the continued drop of birth rates.
Most of the new arrivals to Canada choose to settle in metropolitan areas such as Vancouver, where seven out of ten immigrants settle in the city. This has caused massive amounts of growth in large cities – an urbanization trend that is making housing a competitive and more expensive market.
Policy experts say that governments at all levels need to examine closely how these trends are having not only a direct effect on local and national economics, but also on the demographics which, in turn, will be eventually have their own repercussions on the economy.
Source: Vancouver Sun