March 7, 2017 – The reliance on Canada immigration to continue population growth has been highlighted in new figures from Goldman Sachs.
Despite ranking third on projected population growth among the G10 nations, Canada stands out in how little of that overall increase will come naturally.
Since 2011, the country has grown by 1.7 million people, and two thirds of that growth is through Canada immigration, with the rest resulting from natural increase, or the difference between births and deaths.
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Natural population growth could be nearly zero 20 years from now and, if current trends continue, immigration to Canada will make up 80 per cent of the population growth by 2031, according to Statistics Canada.
For a country’s population to renew itself, the fertility rate needs to be around 2.1 children per female aged 15 to 49. The last time Canada reached this level was 1971.
The current fertility rate is 1.6, which is actually slightly higher than a Statistics Canada estimate of 1.59 in 2014.
But it still means that without immigration to Canada, population growth will almost totally stall in the coming two decades.
Figures show the percentage of immigrants in the working-age population has been steadily increasing for the last decade as the Canada-born proportion drops, illustrating the need to make up for the shortfall by bringing in foreign workers.
In 2006 less than 20 per cent of the workforce – those aged 15 and over – were made up from Canada immigration, while more than 78 per cent were born in Canada.
But fast forward 10 years and the latest data released by Statistics Canada shows an immigrant percentage just less than 24, while the Canada-born proportion has dropped almost as low as 74 per cent.
If the trend continues – and there’s no indication it will not – the two percentages will converge.
The numbers are increasingly dramatic over the last 12 months, when the number of immigrants in work increased by more than 260,000, 6.6 per cent higher than a year ago,
In the same period, the number of native-born workers has decreased by 93,300, although it is showing signs of recovery in the last two months.
Analysts say the data shows Canada has reached the point where it cannot grow without immigrants, with Canadian-born workers exiting the labour force at such a rate.
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