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Spurred by immigration in the West, Canada’s population growth fastest in G8

Under new rules that will take effect next year, workers aged between 18 and 36 will be the most coveted under the Federal Skilled Worker Class of immigrants. The government says the change is based on clear evidence that older immigrants are much less likely to succeed in the work force.

Moe Doiron/The Globe and Mail

Canada's population is growing faster than any other G8 country, driven largely by immigration, Statistics Canada says.

And Saskatchewan has become a magnet for newcomers, with immigration fuelling a larger share of its population growth than any other province or territory.

The country's population nudged ever closer to 35 million, sitting at an estimated 34,880,500 on July 1. The figure is up 1.1 per cent from a year earlier, making Canada's annual growth rate the highest among G8 countries. In the same period, the United States's population grew by 0.7 per cent while Japan's fell by 0.3 per cent.

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Immigration was the major factor behind Canada's population growth, as it has been for almost the past two decades. Net international migration was responsible for two-thirds of the increase for the year ending June 30, Statscan said in its report on population estimates.

The West remains the powerhouse behind the country's demographic growth, with Alberta's population growing by 2.5 per cent and Saskatchewan's increasing by 2.1 per cent in 2011-12. Immigration to Saskatchewan was up by 1.3 per cent, the highest rate in the country.

Canada's population is also continuing to age, with the median age nudging to 40 years, Statscan said.

And there are almost as many seniors in Canada as there are children: The number of those age 65 and older increased 57.6 per cent in the past 20 years while the number of children dropped 3.6 per cent. Seniors made up 14.9 per cent of the population as of July, up from 11.6 per cent two decades ago. Children age 14 and under represented 16.2 per cent of the population, down from 20.7 per cent in 1992.

Other highlights of the report:

-Immigration to Prince Edward Island grew by 1.1 per cent in 2011-12. At the same time, PEI had the highest net outflow of interprovincial migrants.

-Some 28,200 people moved from other provinces and territories to Alberta, the largest net inflow of migrants in Canada.

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-The median age of women is 41, compared to 39 for men.

-Nunavut has the youngest population in Canada, with a median age of 24.7 years. Newfoundland has the oldest, with a median age of 44.2 years.

-The Yukon's population increased by 2 per cent.

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