Québec, January 14, 2021. – Québec’s administrative regions experienced significant demographic changes between July 1, 2019 and July 1, 2020. These changes can be linked to the COVID-19 pandemic, which had an important impact on several components of the evolution of the population.
Population growth has slowed in regions where large urban centres are located, particularly in the Montréal region. The Montréal region saw its population increase by just under 5,000 in 2019-2020, compared with nearly 37,000 in the previous year. Nevertheless, a majority of regions saw their population growth accelerate.
Two analytical bulletins released today by the Institut de la statistique du Québec document the changes in the population of Québec’s regions in 2019-2020:
Of all the regions in Québec, Montréal is the one where population figures for 2019-2020 contrast the most with those of previous years. Its growth rate was only 2 per thousand, one of the lowest of all regions, compared to 18 per thousand in 2018-2019, one of the highest in that year. Population growth also slowed in the Capitale-Nationale, Outaouais, Laval and Montérégie regions, although to a lesser extent
The slower growth in large centres is partly due to a decline in the number of immigrants and non-permanent residents since the closure of international borders in March 2020. Migratory movements between Québec regions are also a factor. Large centres generally received fewer residents from elsewhere in Québec in 2019-2020. In addition, Montréal lost slightly more residents to other regions than in previous years. In the case of Montréal and Laval, the increase in deaths during the first wave of the pandemic must also be taken into account.
Annual population growth rates, administrative regions and all of Québec, 2016-2017 to 2019-2020
p Preliminary data
r Revised data
Sources: Institut de la statistique du Québec.
Statistics Canada, Annual Demographic Estimates (Subprovincial Areas, January 2021). Adapted by the Institut de la statistique du Québec.
In a majority of regions, population growth accelerated in 2019-2020. In Laurentides and Lanaudière, growth rates were already high, but they increased markedly to more than 15 per thousand. Growth also increased significantly in Mauricie, Estrie and Chaudière-Appalaches. These regions attracted more residents from elsewhere in Québec, and their residents were more likely to stay. They were also less affected by the decline in international migration and by the increase in deaths than large centres.
While their growth rates have sometimes been negative in recent years, the regions of Bas-Saint-Laurent, Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean, Abitibi-Témiscamingue and Gaspésie–Îles-de-la-Madeleine all saw their population increase slightly in 2019-2020. Côte-Nord is the only region where the number of inhabitants decreased, although the decline has slowed.
Over the past year, fewer people have left these regions to settle elsewhere in Québec, while more people from other regions have come to live in some of them, including Bas-Saint-Laurent and Gaspésie–Îles-de-la-Madeleine.
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