Canada Has More Population Than California

Statistics Canada reports total population growth increased by 776,217 people in the first nine months of 2022. Between October 1, 2021 and October 1, 2022, Canada added 865,882 people – increasing the total population from 38.43 million to 39.29 million people. If the same or higher growth rate is also seen in 2023, Canada could potentially reach the 40 million population milestone by this time next year. The country reached its last major population milestone in 1998 when it reached 30 million. California’s population is 39,029,342 in July 2022. This was a decline of more than 113-thousand since July 2021 and down more than a half-million people since July 2020.

Canada could potentially see a growth one million people in 2022 if the fourth quarter had as much added as the third quarter. The third quarter of 2022 added 362,453.

Over 400,000 immigrants are expected in 2022, up from around 300,000 annually before 2019. The federal government has further increased its immigration targets for the coming years to 465,000 in 2023, 485,000 in 2024 and 500,000 from 2025 onwards.

Canada is currently about the 36th most populace country. Canada probably passed the population of Ukraine in 2022.

This 2-2.5% pace of annual population growth could see Canada reach about 50 million people by 2031. Canada will pass Spain and several other countries to be a top 30 population country by 2030.

Canada could reach 70-80 million people by 2050. Canada would then be a top 20 population country at that point.

In 2021, over 9 in 10 recent immigrants lived in one of Canada’s 41 census metropolitan areas (CMAs), which are large urban centres of over 100,000 residents. As was the trend over the past 50 years, Toronto (29.5%), Montréal (12.2%) and Vancouver (11.7%) continued to welcome the most recent immigrants in 2021.

Toronto should add 3 million people in each decade. Vancouver and Montréal will each be adding about 1 million people each decade.

However, the share of recent immigrants who have settled in Canada’s three largest urban centres continued to decline, falling from 56.0% in 2016 to 53.4% in 2021—with the most pronounced decrease in Montréal, where the share went from 14.8% in 2016 to 12.2% in 2021.

37 thoughts on “Canada Has More Population Than California”

  1. Question about the guys saying we have too many people. My question is the opposite. What is the minimum population size we can keep the current knowledge and technology levels.

  2. Eight billion people is about 4 billion people too much , on our planet. Canada needs to lead by example and decrease our population not increase it. This would be the kind of bold move we need is we’re going to save our planet. I won’t hold my breath on that haha.
    I am familiar with climate scientists that say the issue is not overpopulation , it’s the incorrect use of the Earth’s resources ( not recycling, burning coal, reliance on other carbon-based fuels , if we managed things properly we wouldn’t need to cut down the forests so more people could have land to live ) this lay person disagrees because I like to think I have common sense.

    • You are wrong about everything. The planet can easily handle 8 billion people. The world used to have 6 trillion trees. We currently have 3 trillion. If we add back 1.5 trillion trees (which there is room to put back), all of the excess CO2 since the start of industrialization is reversed. China is putting greenhouses to feed half the country. Greenhouses are ten to twenty times more efficient than open air farming. Grow ten to twenty times the food in the same space and with ten times less water.

      • Brian, Canada 90% land is unlivable. Rest 10% is too cold for six months. California with its 170,000 sq miles is livable across. Not a good comparison.

      • Yes. But why would you want to subject the world’s population to such miserable conditions? 75%+ of the world’s population will never own real estate, never travel beyond their own borders, never get a tertiary education. Who cares if there is minimal physical ‘space’ and basic nutrition? Who cares if we can stuff a few more trees to reduce carbon levels that will help no-one except the poorest coast-line dwellers 50 years in the future. That’s not living. That’s a human feed lot. What technology or industry will automatically come into being based on the economies of scale of adding such numbers? Why should we keep funding overwhelmed government post-retirement programs that service people leaving their work in good health before 65? One shouldn’t leave a job without savings, subsisting on a pension, if you have more than 15 years of productive life left.
        Further, I currently think, that even in G7 countries, the level of affordability for real estate will mean that the majority of under 30s will never own and pay off a mortgage within their (assumed non-extended) working life span. Witess Europe with its absurd level of multi-generational homes and 40+ year mortgages. If you can’t raise a child, pay its undergrad university/CC tuition, first home down payment, and first car; don’t raise them. You’re just subjecting them to a misery of endless debt, delayed life experiences, and increased likelihood of them also raising lower-class kids — and the cycle of mediocrity continues. Isn’t the average one-bedroom condo in the downtown of a US top 20 city require a salary of at least $120k + 20% down. How many under 30s can afford that on top of student loans and $1000/ month food/entertainment tab. One needs to ask whether we are adding good value to the economy which each additional person at or above basic replacement.

          • $1000 is pricey? $25 per day for groceries and a night out at $80 once a week -per person- doesn’t seem too excessive. I cant’ remember the last time I had a weekly grocery bill of less than triple digits.

            • Currently living in Sydney, so within the list of “modern, first world cities”.

              When by myself (wife working overseas) my weekly grocery bill is about $100. Plus $15 or so for beers with the guys on Friday.

              Arguably you could classify my reckless expenditure on bicycles as also being 90% “entertainment” so that’s another $50 per month or so. Throw in $70 internet and $10 phone bill and that comes to ~$600/month. Australian dollars, so US$450.

      • Eight billion people means a proportional amount of resource usage, waste produced, and pollution. With resources and space bing finite, we can’t afford to screw or waste any of it.

    • Not sure which planet you live on!
      Canada needs millions of immigrants, are you sure that you don’t have another agenda?
      Please send 100,000 newcomers to NL.

        • Hehe.
          Most Interesting Canadian province (or part of one).
          Contains Oldest city in North America – Sorry Williamsburg, but John Cabot landed in Newfoundland way back in 1497.
          Used to be home to world’s busiest airport – mid 20th C.
          Average 206 days of fog per year.
          Vikings lived there – Long before Columbus

  3. As someone born and raised in an urban part of Canada, I am very much conflicted about the value of immigration in our country. I am not convinced that we need to move them in as much as possible for non-meritocratic criteria. I am not convinced that they are the solution to perceived job shortages or skill gaps or that they even seek to fill those specificailly upon arrival. I am not convinced that they seek to learn and understand the languages, cultural norms, and individualistic-merit nature of a G7 country as intensely as required. I am not convinced that providing sanctuary for identified refugees provides long-term benefit for the original country or the host country in monetary/ economic terms, when full-time settlement happens; and that it serves such as insignificant amount of the actual suffering as to be essentially useless in the grand ‘world’ scheme of things. Fixing those things in the originating country would seem to be the most effective solution; yet most developing countries are unwilling or unable to improve.
    That being all said, I welcome a world where someone from Country A applies to a job in rich country B, before coming over, meets all criteria including language and cultural minimums, and gets that job in a timely fashion. I fear not for being forced out of my occupation by worldwide competition as long as language and cultural proficiency (and ability to afford accomodation) are included. Also, that being all said, it is my understanding that foreign investment in residential and commercial interests are often huge, so it appears that allowing non-meritocratic immigration, in cases of no local support needed, could be beneficial.

    • Blame the Battle of the Plains of Abraham — Wolfe vs Montcalme. That battle was not sufficient to permanently subdue the French-speaking population, who were inevitably going to assert themselves after some time. The current prime minister’s father, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, had to resort to stuntsmanship to confront that assertion from French-speaking leader Renée Levesque. The stuntsmanship Pierre Trudeau resorted to was branded as “multiculturalism” and immigration. It was the only stunt he could think of, to prevent the breakup of his country. So this “multiculturalism” and immigration that Canada has spearheaded was never some act of charity, but a desperate survival gambit against national dissolution. Howsoever ill-conceived and ad-hoc it was, the die is now cast, and all you can do now is hang on and brace for the consequences.

      • Better to have let Quebec secede and forbade automatic employment/ industry access; required a passport – just Brexit them. Removed second language support and costs; but removed all CDN army/air force equipment first. Canada’s economy would have improved immensely and Quebec would have found it hard to trade with very English US (except LA for some reason). Their very expensive social net would have easily crumbled and they are not a preferred destination for immigration. The difficulty of getting back and forth from the Maritimes would have been a hassle. Sometimers you just have to cut loose a difficult partner.

      • Right.
        So, I don’t disagree with anything you’re saying, and Canada has an ‘ecumene’ area of about 400,000 square miles -but- an area that has four seasons, i.e. summer temps above 60F and winter ‘average’ minimums above 0F, so: very livable, workable; of 3x that, ending at about 54-degreesN (some lower, some higher), plus all the resources and off-the-grid areas beyond that – still fine, like south Alaska/ north MN,MT, ND,ID.
        Also, I would say that the most efficient country in the world for being well-used (though likely not food/ energy sufficient) – good mix of urban, farming, nature, and suburban/town is Japan – likely one of the few countries that I would consider near ‘full’, with a comparable climatic range, almost, except for south islands. They have an area of 130,000 square miles with a population of 125M – average 1000 per sq. mile. That translates to a population potential of an equivalent use of 400M for Canada on the low and way over that for high.

        But why is that important? Why do people feel that we have a good enough education, family, community, government system to raise our current population to greatness, much less an influx of quarter- to half-Million a year? Our student results and the common skills of our adults are barely top 20. Our before-tax income less. Why are we not trying to improve that first, before we take in more needy people and thus dilute that? The world is very trickle-down – with most technology, research, ideas, and productivity strategies coming from a very few locations. Dilute that and we dilute that source.

        • Also, living and growing up in four-season areas just feels like real living.
          Though retiring where winters never fall below 70F appeals someday, but the christmas decorations up in 65F+ sunny weather is just plain weird.

  4. Speculating, I’d say increased WFH has been the cause of California’s population decline. Why work somewhere expensive, on a fault line, that catches fire all the time if you don’t need to be in the office?

    • As a lifelong Californian I can say that there are several reasons for California’s population decline:

      Very high tax rate
      Very high housing costs
      Very high crime/homelessness
      Work from home enabling remote work
      Poor K-12 education
      Expensive cost of living
      Virtue signaling politicians who ignore all of the above

      Californian politicians do not understand that the states are in competition for the middle class and that California is losing.

        • Texas isn’t all roses. It has higher murder and suicide rates than California. It has lower life expectancy than California. Well that is not surprising as California has the second highest life expectancy in the US after Hawaii.

      • “Californian politicians do not understand that the states are in competition for the middle class and that California is losing.”

        You’ve misidentified the problem. It’s got nothing to do with politicians not understanding the problem.
        Politicians understand very well that the REAL problem is “how do I get enough votes and political donations to keep my cool and well paid job?”.

        As long as voters keep voting for, and donating to support, current policies, then politicians will keep giving it to them. That’s how democracies work.

        • I don’t know.
          I am sort of open to the idea of the US polarizing (more) by state lines.
          Different stages of life and varying upbringings can lead people to want to live in different areas. The ability to easily re-locate is huge. Find your people.
          Raising a snowflake family? Northeast. Outdoorsy, tree-hugging? North-west.
          Uber-conservative rNeck family? – mid-west, south-central.
          Smart College? Northeast, southwest.
          IT job? Sales? Downtown life?
          No winters retirement?
          All different states. Why not? The US’s biggest advantage.

      • The usual conservative talking points. California will always be the target out of fear and the power she wields.

        • Always found it weird that state residents are so protective of their ‘brand’. Who cares? live wherever your people are at whatever stage of life you’re at… it may vary 3 – 5 times over one’s life – single, young family, mid-family, retired, etc..

    • It’s fluctuating. Covid19 was a boon for remote work and set the bar high by testing how well the companies can work remotely. A few very well, some none at all, most can endure part time in the office and part time at home.

      People love remote work, micromanagers hate it.

      Nowadays when the job market is hiring, employees can choose remote work for the jobs such a modality applies. When there are layoffs and more people looking for work, companies can force on premises work.

      But it’s true that lots of high tech jobs can be mostly remote. You only need email, IM, remote desktop and on-premises IT support. Ergo, Silicon Valley jobs can be mostly remote.

      • Once you allow people to work remotely and they move then you cannot force them back in to the office. It is more permanent than you would suspect. I also suspect that any company that expects workers to relocate to their town is at a significant disadvantage when it comes to recruiting new talent.

        “Come to California! The taxes are high, you can’t buy a home and will rent forever!” Isn’t much of a pitch to prospective workers.

        • Another source of stickiness is in the real estate itself.

          A company with a bunch of 3/4 empty offices might well want people to come back to the office. They are set up to operate this way. The office is just sitting there every day being “wasted”.

          Give if a few more years and more and more of those “empty offices” will be downsized off the balance sheets. Once those assets have been liquidated, the push to get people back now faces the cost of paying big money for new real estate. Then the employer is going to asking very close questions about how much benefit it would provide.

    • Earth quake is not that frequent. Last major earthquake happened in 1989. Earthquake resistant building codes of upto 7.0 has been upgraded. Even 1989 earthquake very little damage. Meanwhile 90% of Canada is tundra. Rest is cold for 6 months. Between California and Canada any immigrant would choose California. Plus California has beaches and other fun attractions like Theme parks. You can do rafting and you can trek 365 days of the year

  5. Appreciate the analysis Brian. As a fellow Canadian, it’s my sense we’re growing just a bit too fast. The main issue that I see is our ability to increase and then deliver high quality services and build homes/apartments to house these folks. You’re seeing the strain now in the health care system and in the watered-down offerings at many universities. The Laurentian elite like Trudeau and the coterie that surround him are okay with this strain because in the final analysis, new Canadians tend to vote Liberal or NDP. It will be interesting to see if enough centre-right Liberals feel like I do – which is we need to pump the breaks giving ourselves time to more effectively accept these new future tax payers. We want and support immigration, just not at levels that affect the country’s fundamental promise to its populace, which is peace, order and good governance. My two cents.

    • Agree. Our health care is already stretched to the limit. Then we bring in almost 1 million new people in a year. Some of those are doctors, but they are not allowed to work as doctors in Canada. So effectively we’ve burdened the system with another million people. It’s too much too fast. Canada is growing at the rate of a developing country.

      • Yep. Also, bringing people from the developing world to the developed world increases global greenhouse gas emissions. Individual carbon footprints are lower in a poorer, less developed country than a rich advanced economy. A family of four from India or Kenya or wherever might use 3x, 5x or more resources and energy in their host country than in their home country. (And no matter what they might tell you in English, most will still consider their country of origin “home”.) Funnily enough, many of those terrified of anthropomorphic climate catastrophe also welcome mass migration from the Third to the First World. Go figure.

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