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    Record population growth in Québec in 2019, but significant slowdown in the first months of 2020

    Québec, December 9, 2020. – Québec’s population increased by 110,000 people in 2019, which corresponds to a growth rate of 12.9 per thousand (1.29%). This is the highest rate since comparable results have been available (1972).

    However, the growth of Québec’s population abruptly slowed down in the first half of 2020. As of July 1, 2020, Québec had a population of 8,575,000, only 17,900 more than as of January 1. This increase is three times less than that recorded in the first six months of 2019 (54,800). The global COVID-19 pandemic and the measures put in place to counter it, such as border closures, are directed related to this major slowdown. These findings are drawn from the 2020 edition of the Bilan démographique du Québec published today by the Institut de la statistique du Québec.

    The demographic situation in 2019

    The increase of 110,000 people in 2019 resulted from a natural increase of 16,400 people (births minus deaths), a net migration of 32,700 people (international and interprovincial migration) and the addition of 60,700 non-permanent residents (temporary workers, foreign students and asylum seekers). This is the highest number of net non-permanent residents recorded in Québec since comparable results have been available.

    Total population growth and natural, migratory and net non-permanent resident (NPR) increases, Québec, 1986–2019

    Note: In addition to the natural, migratory and net non-permanent resident (NPR) increases, total population growth takes into account the residual deviation. This is why there is a difference between total population growth and the sum of the three components presented.
    Sources: Statistics Canada, Demographic estimates (September 2020). Adapted by the Institut de la statistique du Québec. Institut de la statistique du Québec (births and deaths).

    In 2019, the main changes from 2018 were the increase in net non-permanent residents (60,700 in 2019 versus 42,200 in 2018) and lower interprovincial migration losses (-1,500 in 2019 versus -6,100 in 2018), which more than offset the decrease in the number of immigrants (40,600 in 2019 versus 51,100 in 2018). There was also a slight increase in the number of births (84,200 in 2019 versus 83,800 in 2018), the first since 2012, as well as a decline in the number of deaths (67,800 in 2019 versus 68,600 in 2018), an uncommon result in the context of population aging.

    The first six months of 2020

    While most demographic events posted levels similar to those of previous years in the first quarter of 2020, the second quarter shows significant breaks.

    The decline in net non-permanent residents (400 in the second quarter of 2020 versus 23,500 in the same quarter of 2019) as well as the drop in the number of immigrants (3,000 in the second quarter of 2020 versus 10,200 in the same quarter of 2019) account for most of the marked slowdown in growth of the Québec population in the first months of 2020. The increase in the number of deaths (21,050 in the second quarter of 2020 versus 16,800 in the same quarter of 2019) also contributed to the slowdown, but to a lesser extent.

    Age structure of the population

    As of July 1, 2020, 20.8% of the population was under the age of 20, 59.5% was aged 20 to 64, and 19.7% was 65 or over. The share of people aged 65 or over continues to increase, while that of 20–64 year-olds is declining. COVID-19 and the context surrounding the pandemic do not appear to have had a significant impact on the age structure of Québec’s population.

    Marriages

    From January to August 2020, Québec registered half as many marriages as in the same period in 2019 (-54%). The context of the pandemic particularly affected marriages celebrated by a designated person (-70%), while marriages celebrated by a notary were much less impacted (-20%). The decline was greater for marriages between two people born in Canada (-64%) than for those where at least one person was born abroad (-35%).

    Upcoming release of regional data

    Regional data on the population as of July 1, 2020 will be released in January 2021.


    The Institut de la statistique du Québec produces, analyzes and disseminates official, objective and quality statistical information on different 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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