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    Interregional migration in Québec in 2020-2021: record gains for several regions outside large centres

    Québec, January 13, 2022. – The number of Quebecers who changed their administrative region of residence between July 1, 2020 and July 1, 2021 was 232,000, 19% more than in 2019-2020. A portrait of interregional migration in 2020-2021, the first one to be fully included within the context of the pandemic, was released in a Bulletin sociodémographique published today by the Institut de la statistique du Québec.

    Several regions recorded their largest gains in migratory exchanges with other Québec regions since the data became available in 2001-2002. This is particularly true of regions adjacent to Montréal such as Laurentides and Lanaudière, but also of Estrie, Mauricie and certain more remote regions such as Gaspésie–Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Bas-Saint-Laurent and Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean. On the other hand, the regions where the largest centres are located saw their migration balance deteriorate.

    Several regions posted their strongest gains in 20 years

    The Laurentides region is the one that recorded the strongest gains in its migratory exchanges with other Québec regions in 2020-2021. It had a net gain of 12,700 people, the equivalent of 2% of its population. This was the region’s highest result since the early 2000s. The Estrie region, which now includes the Brome-Missisquoi and La Haute-Yamaska RCMs, also posted its largest gains of the past 20 years, coming in second place with a net increase of 8,600 people. Gains also rose sharply and reached record levels in Mauricie, Centre-du-Québec and Chaudière-Appalaches. All of those regions had also seen a strong increase in their net migration in 2019-2020.

    Gaspésie–Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Bas-Saint-Laurent and Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean also posted their highest net interregional migration balance in 2020-2021, with gains of about 1,500 people. Proportionately, Gaspésie-Îles-de-la-Madeleine ranked fourth among all regions in terms of the size of its gains (1.5% of its population). These three regions, which have often posted deficits in their migratory exchanges, saw their migration balance improve in recent years, with particularly strong increases in the past two years.

    An unfavourable year for large centres, especially Montréal

    Montréal recorded net losses of -48,300 people in its migratory exchanges with other administrative regions in 2020-2021, which represents a -2.6% deficit in proportion to its population. This was its largest deficit since the statistical series began in 2001-2002. Its losses have tended to increase in recent years, but this trend was amplified in 2019-2020 and even more markedly in 2020-2021.

    Montérégie, Capitale-Nationale, Outaouais and Laval also saw their interregional migration balance deteriorate in 2020-2021. The last three regions even posted their least advantageous results of the past 20 years. Montérégie and Capitale-Nationale were still among the winning regions, but with smaller gains, while Outaouais saw its gains disappear, a first for the region. As for Laval, it remained on the losing side with increased losses compared to 2019-2020.

    Apart from the regions where large centres are located, the only regions that did not see a significant increase in their internal migration balance in 2020-2021 are Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Côte-Nord and Nord-du-Québec. All three regions continued to lose residents to other regions.

    To learn more about the demographic report on administrative regions

    Internal migration is an important component of the demographic balance of Québec’s administrative regions and RCMs, but it is not the only one that impacts the size of their population. These other components include natural increase, i.e. the difference between the number of births and deaths, as well as interprovincial and international migration.

    For an overview of these various components in the 17 administrative regions, see the publication Fiches démographiques – Les régions administratives du Québec en 2021, also released today.


    The Institut de la statistique du Québec produces, analyzes and disseminates official, objective and quality statistical information on various aspects of Québec society. It is responsible for conducting all statistical surveys of general interest. The relevance of its work makes it a strategic ally for decision makers and all those wishing to learn more about Québec.

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