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Migratory profile of the Québec City CMA

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Demographic overview by age in the Québec City CMA

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Immigrants' education in Québec City

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The Québec City CMA had a population of 812,205 residents in 2017, up 0.7% from 2016. This demographic growth aligns with the Institut de la statistique du Québec (ISQ)’s projections, and is caused by natural population growth and positive net migration. The area continues to have a demographic weight of 9.7% in Quebec. It is second only to Montréal (49.3%).

While natural growth (births minus deaths) has slowed, it continues to fuel demographic growth. For the 9th year in a row, there were more than 8,000 births in Québec City (8,026 in 2016). At the same time, there were 5,989 deaths. The decreasing birth rate over the past 3 years (-4.9% between 2013 and 2016) indicates that the “mini baby boom” that has been ongoing since 2003 is drawing to an end. The number of deaths has also been growing for several years; it increased by 2.9% between 2013 and 2016. As a result, the area may soon reach an annual rate of over 6,000 deaths. Combined with the decreasing birth rate, this may drop the 1.3:1 birth-death ratio to 1.2:1 in the short term.

Note that concerns about the aging population also affect the growth of the working-age population (15–64 years). The latter dropped for the fifth year in a row, falling by 0.3% in 2017 (+0.1% in Quebec). Additionally, this age group has shrunk by 3.5% over the past five years, going from 69% to 65.5%. The decline may become more marked in the coming years, given that a large part of the working-age population is made up of baby boomers. This demographic, made up of people aged 52–64, represented 29% of the working-age population in 2017. For many baby boomers, retirement is fast approaching, forcing the replacement ratio downwards. Last year, there were nine 20–29-year-olds who could potentially enter the job market for every ten 55–64-year-olds who could potentially retire. By 2022, the replacement ratio could reach 8 entries for every 10 departures.

For that reason, attracting immigrants to the Québec City CMA will be crucial to supporting demographic growth and mitigating the effects of the aging population. During the 2016–2017 fiscal year, 3,294 immigrants chose to move to Québec City. Net migration for the past five years (2012–2017) was 16,308 newcomers, an improvement of 19.3% over the 2007-2012 period. However, this data should not obscure the fact that between 2012 and 2017, 6.2% of international immigrants to Quebec chose to move to the Québec City area, a lower proportion than the area’s demographic weight of 9.7%. That said, the situation is improving gradually; between 2007 and 2012, Québec City only welcomed 5.4% of the province’s immigrants. According to Statistics Canada’s 2016 census, the immigrant population drawn to the region is young and educated. In fact, 95% of immigrants to Québec City are less than 45 years old, and 85% hold a post-secondary degree. The immigrant population also appears to be well-integrated into the job market. Census data shows that their employment rate is 67.6% (1st of Canada’s 8 major CMAs), and that figure jumps to 76.1% for immigrants with a university degree (2nd of Canada’s 8 major CMAs).

The excellent international immigration rates compensate for the negative net interprovincial migration that has affected Québec City for several years. Between 2016 and 2017, 1,465 people came to Québec City from another province, while 2,545 people from the area left the province. The net interprovincial loss exceeded 1,000 people for the third consecutive year. This is concerning, given the increased competition from other Canadian CMAs to attract labour.

Migratory gains should continue to increase, driven by favourable economic growth prospects, job availability, improved quality of life and accessible housing. The region must continue its constant efforts to attract international immigrants to mitigate the labour shortage caused by the aging population. However, the projected increase in the number of newcomers leads us to believe that Québec City’s population will continue to grow in 2018.

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