Migratory profile of the Québec City CMA
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(Balance = 100)
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The Québec City CMA’s 2016 population report found that the population increased by 0.7% between 2015 and 2016, reaching 807,211 inhabitants. The area relies as much on natural growth as it does on immigration. Additionally, the CMA continues to have a demographic weight of 9.7% in Quebec. It is second only to Montréal (49.2%).
The natural growth rate (births minus deaths) highlights its importance as a demographic improvement factor. In fact, this rate was responsible for 40% of the population increase between 2011 and 2015, compared to 30% between 2006 and 2010. The high birth rate (8,356 in 2015) suggests that the natural growth rate will continue to improve. However, the CMA needs to be aware of the effects of an ageing population, which is gradually increasing the death rate. Its effect on the natural growth rate is already being felt: between 2011 and 2015, there were 13,230 more births than deaths, a 1.9% decrease from the 2006–2011 period.
The aging population also raises concerns about the size of the pool of working-age residents in the Québec City area. First of all, the number of 15–64 year olds decreased by 0.4% in 2016 (-0.02% across the province), making it the fourth consecutive year of decreases. According to the reference scenario set by the Institut de la Statistique du Québec (ISQ), this downward trend is likely to continue and may reach 1.1% between 2016 and 2021 (-0.5% across the province). As a result, the labour force is likely to be affected; it already experienced a 1% decrease in 2016. Secondly, Québec City’s replacement index is starting to become unbalanced. 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. This ratio may even fall to 8:10 within five years, curbing the growth of the labour force.
That said, Québec City’s ability to attract immigrants has mitigated the effects of the aging population. For the 2015-2016 fiscal year, 3,310 foreign immigrants chose to settle in Québec City, bringing the five-year total to 16,150 immigrants (vs. 2,200 emigrants). This represents a 31.1% increase over the 2006–2011 period. Note that the CMA has attracted 6.1% of the immigrants who settled in the province over the past five years, an improvement over the figure of 5.1% observed between 2006 and 2011. While this ratio is improving, there is still some room for improvement as the percentage remains below that of the region’s demographic weight. Efforts should also be made to slow interprovincial emigration, which continues to be an issue. During the 2015–2016 fiscal year, 1,379 people came to Québec City from another province, while 2,808 people from the area left the province. The result is a net interprovincial loss of 3,915 people for the last five-year period (2010–2015).
Increased natural growth and positive net migration will help to grow the number of residents in the CMA. With all these factors in mind, Québec City’s population is expected to grow by an average of 0.8% per year from now until 2021, approaching a total of 840,000 residents. This prediction is based on an anticipated increase in households, which will sustain the birth rate. Additionally, the region has taken steps to raise awareness about labour needs, the availability of various jobs and the quality of life in the area. By doing so, it hopes to grow migratory gains.