The data is filed, the numbers have been calculated and Canada is still the fastest growing country in the G7.

According to census data released by Statistics Canada, the pandemic has not prevented the country’s population from increasing over the past five years. As of May 2021, it was reported there were 36,991,981 people living here — 1.8 million more than 2016.

Constituting a 5.2 per cent increase, it was also reported that 80 per cent of the 1.8 million were immigrants.

Of the five years since the 2016 census, 2019 saw a record-high growth rate with the population increasing by 583,000 people. However, the arrival of COVID in 2020 slowed that growth to 0.4 per cent, “the slowest pace of growth since the First World War,” said Statistics Canada on their website.

Nevertheless, Canada grew at almost twice the rate of any other G7 country, with Great Britain the second closest with a 2.9 per cent population increase.

The Canadian population also showed a heavy shift toward urbanization. It was reported that 27.3 million people — almost three out of four Canadians — resided in one of Canada’s 41 large urban centres.

Only 6,601,982 Canadians were living in rural areas as of May 2021. While this was technically an increase of 0.4 per cent, it was well behind the urban growth rate of 6.3 per cent.

The Maritimes were no exception to Canadian growth trends. For the first time since the 1940s, they grew at a faster rate than the Prairies, due to “rising immigration levels and an influx of Canadians migrating from other parts of the country.”

Nova Scotia grew at its fastest rate since the early 1970s, seeing its population increase to 969,383 people. This represented a growth rate of five per cent, a dramatic change from the past five censuses, which never surpassed one per cent growth.

Halifax was a particular area of interest. The municipality proved attractive to migrants from Ontario as well as immigrants, resulting in a population increase of 9.1 per cent and bringing the number of residents from 403,131 to 439,819. This meant Halifax overtook Laval to become Canada's 13th largest municipality.

In particular, Halifax’s waterfront tract (which includes parts of Sackville, Barrington and Hollis Streets) saw a residential increase of 87.3 per cent, going from 2,778 in 2016 to 5,203 people in 2021.

Additionally, of the top 25 most populated municipalities, only Surrey, B.C. and the Ontario communities of Brampton, London, Kitchener and Oakville had higher growth percentage than Halifax.

Other parts of Nova Scotia also grew. Wolfville was in the top 25 list of census subdivisions with over 5,000 residents for population percentage growth, with 20.5 per cent more people.

Victoria County’s population rose for the first time since the 1991 census.

But more growth, both Nova Scotian and national, could be in the foreseeable future. The most recent quarterly-demographic estimates suggest Canada’s population growth is now back to pre-pandemic levels.

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Josh Neufeldt

The resident esports enthusiast of King's journalism. 4th year with an affinity for gaming, movies and food.

This story is part of the 'The faces behind the numbers' series.
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