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    Significant slowdown in Québec’s population growth in 2020

    Québec, March 18, 2021. – Québec’s population was estimated at 8,576,000 on January 1, 2021, up 19,300 from a year earlier. This growth is much lower than that recorded in previous years. In 2019, the population grew by nearly 110,000. This significant slowdown, which is related to the COVID-19 pandemic, is the result of a major decline in net international migration and, to a lesser extent, of an increase in deaths.

    These findings are taken from the bulletin Un aperçu de la situation démographique au Québec en 2020 published today by the Institut de la statistique du Québec.

    Fewer immigrants and non-permanent residents

    The number of immigrants admitted in Québec dropped significantly in 2020. Québec received 25,200 immigrants, compared to 40,600 in the previous year. 

    There was also a sharp drop in the net flow of non-permanent residents in 2020 in Québec (temporary workers, international students, asylum seekers). This net flow declined from a peak of 60,700 in 2019 to -9,900 in 2020. This result means that there were fewer non-permanent residents at the end of the year than at the beginning. 

    These declines are due to the border restrictions put in place starting in mid-March 2020 to curb the progression of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    However, the pandemic did not strongly affect migratory exchanges between Québec and the other Canadian provinces. Québec still reported losses to other provinces, but the deficit in 2020 (-1,700) was similar to that in 2019 (-1,500).

    Fewer births and more deaths

    The number of deaths stood at 74,550 in Québec in 2020, up 10% from the previous year (67,800 deaths). Over the past 10 years, the average annual increase in deaths was just under 2% and was mainly attributable to population aging. The marked increase in 2020 is an exception related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    In 2020, 81,850 babies were born in Québec, a 3% decline from 2019 (84,300). The total fertility rate was 1.52 children per woman, lower than in 2019 (1.57 children per woman). Since the vast majority of babies born in 2020 were conceived before the COVID-19 response measures were implemented in Québec, the full effect of these measures on the number of births should not be felt until 2021.

    Population growth by component, Québec, 2019 and 2020

      2019r 2020p

    Total increase 109,744 19,294
    Natural increase 16,509 7,300
      Births 84,309 81,850
      Deaths 67,800 74,550
    Total external migratory increase 93,344 11,994
      Net international migration 34,195 23,601
         Immigrants 40,567 25,223
         Total emigrants 6,372 1,622
      Net interprovincial migration –1,502 –1,696
      Net non-permanent residents 60,651 –9,911

    r Revised data.
    p Preliminary data.

    Note: There may be a small residual difference between the total increase and the sum of the components.
    Sources : Statistics Canada, Demographic Estimates (March 2021). Adapted by the Institut de la statistique du Québec.
                      Institut de la statistique du Québec (births and deaths).


    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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