Population of Canada
Population Change Since Midnight
The world is changing at a rapid pace, and Canada is falling behind. Our population is aging, we’re having fewer children, and our workforce is shrinking. If we stay the course, Canada’s annual GDP growth will decline, along with our influence on the world stage.
Growing our population to 100 million by 2100 would reduce the burden on government revenues to fund health care, old age security, and other services. It would also mean more skilled workers, innovation, and dynamism in the Canadian economy. 100 million by 2100 is not just a number. It’s a vision for the Canada we want to build for future generations.
A population of 100 million by 2100 is not as ambitious as it sounds. There are two main ways we can get there: by supporting people who want to have more children—which would increase our fertility rate—and by increasing our immigration levels.
In 2020, Canada’s fertility rate was at a record low of 1.40, well below the 2.1 rate required to keep the population steady. We could raise our fertility rate to the OECD average of 1.6, but we’ll need substantial improvements to how we approach issues like child care and parental leave, which make it easier for families to have the number of children they choose.
Immigration will also be key, but we’re not talking about massive leaps in Canada’s annual targets. We're proposing regular increases over time, and we’ve done it before. In 1913, immigration peaked with the arrival of 400,000 newcomers to Canada, which was more than 5% of the population at the time. Our current rate is closer to 1%. We can, and must, do more.
In winter 2022, Century Initiative commissioned the Conference Board of Canada to update population projection scenarios on immigration levels needed to grow to a population of 100 million by 2100. Their modelling assumes Canada will achieve the ambitious immigration level targets set by the Government of Canada in February 2022, and also recognizes the lower immigration intake in 2020 as a result of COVID-19.
The two scenarios below were developed based on potential fertility rates in future years: a fertility rate that remains around 1.5, and a fertility rate that increases to 1.6 over the 2020s. In both scenarios, consistent increases in immigration are required to achieve 100 million, though those numbers will shift depending on the degree to which fertility rates change. The assumptions underpinning these long-term projections will be updated over time to account for changes in the environment.