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Data Dive: Fall 2023

Take a deep breath and dive deep into Newfoundland and Labrador's demographic data. In this Data Dive, RAnLab delivers practical insights from the latest data releases, shedding light on natural population change, migration patterns, and much more.

Let's dive into data that was released on September 27, 2023 by Statistics Canada. This Data Dive focuses on providing insights about the last year (July 2022 to July 2023).



  • Canada’s overall population growth rate of 3.3% was the highest seen in the country since 1957 ↑

  • NL had a record low number of births and a record high number of deaths

  • Net international migration reached its highest-ever level in NL ↑

  • NL’s growth rate of 1.8% is the highest the province has seen in decades, largely due to international migration ↑


Population change: how it works

NL had the highest population growth in 50 years

Total Population Change

The 12 months between July 2022 and July 2023 was a banner year for population growth in Canada. The overall growth rate of 3.3% was the highest seen in the country since 1957 and was sufficient to place the country at the top of the G7 (and likely in the top 20 of countries overall).

This past year, like the year before, population growth was almost entirely due to international migration. 98% of the growth came from net international migration, while births and deaths contributed only 2%.

Such is the strength of this trend that Newfoundland and Labrador experienced its fastest rate of population growth in 50 years despite growing at the slowest rate (1.8%) of all provinces as the rapid rise in migration competes with the effects of an ageing population. Alberta experienced the fastest growth at 4%, while the three Maritime provinces closely followed with greater than 3% growth each.

Growth rates by province (July 2022-July 2023)

In raw numbers, NL’s estimated total population grew by 7,023 people (from 531,583 to 538,606) over the last year. There were 3,566 births and 6,126 deaths (meaning a net natural decrease of 2,560), while net migration numbered 9,582 people (a combination of 5,186 net international immigrants, 3,854 net non-permanent residents, and 542 net interprovincial migrants).

Quick facts from The Daily:

  • “If the rate of population growth seen this past year remained constant in the future, it would lead to the Canadian population doubling in 25 years.”

  • “This estimated population of 2.2 million non-permanent residents now outnumbers the 1.8 million Indigenous people enumerated during the 2021 Census of Population.”

Read more

The Daily is Statistics Canada's daily news outlet

NL saw both the least babies born and the most deaths in 50 years

Natural Change

Births and Deaths in NL

Similar to the national trend, the pattern of recent natural population change in NL is quite distinct from that of migration. Over the past year, NL saw both a record low number of births (3,566, a decrease of 5.5% from 3,772 last year) and a record high number of deaths (6,126, an increase of 3.0% from 5,948 last year).

Let's dive beneath the surface to look at some trends related to births and deaths.

Total Fertility Rate = 1.22

Total fertility rate is an estimate of the average number of live births a woman can be expected to have in her lifetime. Natural population growth in an area requires a total fertility rate of at least 2.01 babies per female. In NL, the total fertility rate last year was 1.22 babies per woman which is a record low.

Mean age of mother = 30.4 ↑

Mean age of mother is an estimate of the average age of mothers at the time of giving birth to their children. The mean age of mothers has been increasing across the country as people become more likely to delay children until later in life. Last year, mothers in NL had a mean age of 30.4 which is a record high.

​​Quick facts from The Daily:

Read more

The Daily is Statistics Canada's daily news outlet

NL received almost double the all-time high in international migration and net non-permanent residents

Developments in migration

Migration in NL NL experienced natural population decline last year, which means the level of net migration in the province actually exceeded overall population growth. On the provincial level, migration can broadly be broken down into three categories:

  1. International migration (i.e., permanent residents or landed immigrants)

  2. Non-permanent residents (i.e., work or study permit holders, or people claiming refugee status)

  3. Interprovincial migration

Net international migration reached its highest-ever level in NL last year, with 5,337 immigrants entering the province (an increase of 87.9% from 2,841 last year) with 151 emigrants leaving.

Net non-permanent residents were also a record high, with 8,185 inflows vs. 4,331 outflows for a net gain of 3,854 people (the inflows are an increase of 52.1% from 5,380 last year).

Non-permanent residents in NL (July 2023)

Unlike international migration, net interprovincial migration experienced a decline last year. There were 542 net interprovincial migrants to the province, (a decrease of about 70% from 1,802 last year). Within this figure there were 7,795 in-migrants (a decline of approx. 2% from a record 7,960 last year) and 7,253 out-migrants (the highest value since 2019/20 and an increase of 17.8% from 6,158 last year).

Ontario was the dominant source of interprovincial migrants moving into NL, with slightly more than double the figure of second-place Alberta (3,423 vs. 1,621).

For out-migrants, Alberta and Ontario were the main destinations, with 2,301 people moving to Alberta (37.9% more than 1,668 last year and the highest value since 2018/19) and 2,171 people moving to Ontario (about 14.1% more than 1,902 last year).

​​​Quick facts from The Daily:

  • “In 2022/2023, every province and territory across Canada saw the largest population gains from international migration on record for the period where comparable data exist (since 1971).”

  • “Ontario saw net losses to interprovincial migration of 41,929 in 2022/2023. This marks highest net annual migratory losses recorded by the province since comparable data are available (1971/1972). Among all provinces, this level of net annual interprovincial migratory losses is second only to what was seen in Quebec in 1977/1978 (-46,429) during a period marked by high levels of out-migration of the English-speaking minority.”

  • “As of July 1, 2023, NPRs were estimated to represent 5.5% of the population of Canada. Among provinces, this proportion was highest in British Columbia (7.3%) and Ontario (6.3%) and lowest in Newfoundland and Labrador (2.4%) and Saskatchewan (2.5%).” Note: NPR is the abbreviation for non-permanent residents.

Read more

The Daily is Statistics Canada's daily news outlet


Data release source: Statistics Canada: Canada's demographic estimates (released September 27, 2023).

This Data Dive has been produced by the Regional Analytics Lab (RAnLab) at Memorial University. RAnLab is a part of the Harris Centre that aims to support evidence-based policies for regional development through capacity building initiatives and regional economic and spatial analytics.



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