Towards a population of 10 million people in Québec by 2066
Québec, June 17, 2021. – The pandemic that marked the year 2020 and the beginning of 2021 has made it necessary to update the Québec population projections published in 2019. The main results from this update are discussed in the Bulletin sociodémographique released today by the Institut de la statistique du Québec.
Evolution of the population in the province of Québec – 2066 horizon
According to the results of the new demographic scenario, the Québec population could increase from 8.6 million in 2020 to 9 million in 2027, and to over 10 million in 2066. The population should therefore continue to increase, but its growth should gradually slow down.
After a very small population increase in 2020-2021 due to the pandemic and the measures put in place in response to it, the annual population growth rate in Québec could return to the pre-pandemic trend as early as 2021-2022 (1%), and then decrease to about 0.2% starting in the 2050s.
Natural increase (births minus deaths) is expected to remain positive until 2031. After that, the number of deaths should exceed the number of births. Population growth would then be supported by migratory growth.
Population aging remains an underlying trend
By 2066, Québec’s population should have grown by 1.5 million compared with 2020. The 65 and over age group alone could increase by nearly 1.1 million to 2.7 million. The share of seniors in the total population could rise from 20% in 2020 to 27% in 2066. For its part, the demographic weight of the 20-64 year-old population is set to decrease continuously—from 60% in 2020 to 53% in 2066. The acceleration of demographic aging by 2031 is due to the large baby boomer generations transitioning from one age group to the next.
Demographic weight of major age groups, Québec, 1986-2066
Statistics Canada, Demographic Estimates (observed data).
Institut de la statistique du Québec, Reference scenario A2021 (projected data).
Demographic trends in administrative regions – 2041 horizon
According to the new demographic scenario of the Institut de la statistique du Québec, 12 of Québec’s 17 administrative regions could continue to see their population grow until 2041. The Laurentides and Lanaudière regions have the largest projected increases over this period, at 20% and 17% respectively. In contrast, five Québec administrative regions could have smaller populations in 2041 than in 2020: Côte-Nord (-13%), Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean (-6%), Bas-Saint-Laurent (-5%), Gaspésie–Îles-de-la-Madeleine (-4%), and Abitibi-Témiscamingue (-1%).
In 2041, the share of people aged 65 and over could reach 31% or more in the four regions of eastern Québec and in Mauricie. In Gaspésie–Îles-de-la-Madeleine, this share could reach a high of 38%, followed by Bas-Saint-Laurent with 35%.
Demographic projections in a pandemic context
Population projections are modellings of future population change based on assumptions about fertility, mortality and migration. Because it is still too early to measure the medium- and long-term effect of the pandemic on demographic trends, this update incorporates most of the long-term assumptions from the previous edition (2019), with the necessary adjustments made to better reflect the most recent observations.
At the provincial level, the results of the new reference scenario were revised slightly upwards compared to those of 2019. The difference is most noticeable in the stronger growth projected by 2026. This is due to an upward revision in the projected number of non-permanent residents and a more favourable net interprovincial migration at the beginning of the projection.
Changes from the previous edition are more marked at the regional level. The projected population in 11 of the 17 administrative regions was revised upward more than for Québec as a whole for the 2041 horizon. Only the population projections for the Montréal and Laval regions were revised downward significantly.
Additional data tables
- Population projections - Québec
- Population projections - Administrative regions and metropolitan areas
- Projections of the number of private household
Data by RCM and by municipality will be released in the coming months. To be informed of upcoming releases on population projections, subscribe to e-mail alerts on the Institut de la statistique du Québec’s website.
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