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    Québec demographic overview for 2023: sharp decline in fertility, life expectancy stays at pre-pandemic level

    Québec, May 8, 2024. – In 2023, Québec recorded one of the lowest fertility rates in its history, while life expectancy stagnated at the level attained before the pandemic. In this context, the natural increase of the population (births minus deaths) was close to zero. However, the arrival of a record number of international migrants resulted in strong demographic growth and led to a temporary slowdown in population aging. At the end of 2023, Québec’s population reached almost 9 million people. These findings come from the Bilan démographique du Québec published today by the Institut de la statistique du Québec.

    Fertility rate among the lowest on record in Québec, but higher than in the majority of the other provinces

    In 2023, 77,950 babies were born in Québec, a 3% decline from 2022 (80,700) and the lowest number since 2005.

    The fertility rate dropped sharply to 1.38 children per woman in 2023 from 1.48 in 2022, staying just above the historic low of 1.36 in 1987. The drop in the past year is part of a general downward trend observed over the past 15 years.

    The decline in fertility is not unique to Québec. It is also observed in Canada and in many other developed countries. Within Canada, fertility is higher in Québec than in the majority of the other provinces.

    In 2023, the fertility of Québec women decreased across all age groups except women aged 40 and over. Maternal mean age at childbirth continued to increase and reached 31.3 years.

    Life expectancy at birth among the highest in the world despite stagnation in recent years

    The number of deaths in Québec in 2023 is estimated at 77,550, down slightly from 78,400 in 2022. As a result, the life expectancy of Quebecers returned to a similar level as before the pandemic, at 82.5 years. Women can expect to live to the age of 84.3 years and men to 80.7 years based on the conditions observed in 2023. Even though life expectancy has stalled in Québec since 2016, it remains among the highest in the world.

    Mortality increased among those aged 25 to 44 during the period from 2020 to 2023, mainly because of overdose deaths. However, this increase is not as high in Québec as in the rest of Canada or the United States.

    Record migration gains, but smaller than in the rest of Canada

    In 2023, Québec’s international and interprovincial migration exchanges resulted in a total gain of about 217,600 people, far exceeding the previous record set in 2022 (about 150,700 people).

    On a per capita basis, population growth due to external migration stood at 2.5% in 2023, making it the largest increase since at least 1972. In the rest of Canada, migration growth was even higher at 3.3%, an unprecedented increase for an OECD country since at least 1950.

    In 2023, Québec welcomed 52,800 immigrants as permanent residents, but most of all, it experienced a record-high increase of 174,200 non-permanent residents (mainly temporary foreign workers, international students and asylum claimants). Meanwhile, net emigration to other countries
    (-5,200 people) and net interprovincial migration (-4,200 people) produced limited losses.

    Over a third of immigrants come from France, Cameroon and China

    In 2023, Québec welcomed 11% of all persons admitted to Canada as permanent residents.

    France topped the list of countries of origin of those admitted to Québec (13%), ahead of Cameroon (12%) and China (11%). These countries are followed by Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia and Haiti, where between 4% and 5% of immigrants come from.

    More than 560,000 non-permanent residents in Québec on January 1, 2024

    As a result of the large increase in the number of non-permanent residents in 2023, their total number rose to 560,200 on January 1, 2024. On that date, Québec was home to 54% of asylum claimants present in Canada, 19% of temporary workers, 11% of international students, and 15% of work and study permit holders, according to Statistics Canada’s estimates based on administrative data from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.

    Rare decline in mean age of population

    In 2023, the mean age of the Québec population was 42.7 years, compared to 42.8 years in 2022. This modest decrease marks a break in the upward trend of the past decades. The slowdown in population aging results from the arrival of an unprecedented number of international migrants whose mean age is lower than that of the overall population. On July 1, 2023, 21% of the Québec population was aged 65 or over, the same proportion was under 20 years, and 58% was aged 20 to 64.

    Read highlights on:

    Population change

    Births and fertility

    Deaths and mortality

    External migration

    Regional data

    The data used to provide a demographic overview for the province’s 17 administrative regions will be published later in May. Data will also be available at the level of RCMs, census metropolitan areas, and municipalities. Subscribe to the ISQ’s press releases and notices of release to be notified when new content is published.


    For 25 years, the Institut de la statistique du Québec has been producing, analyzing, and disseminating official, objective and high-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 an essential source of information for all those wishing to learn more about Québec.

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