The birth rate is one of the most important contributors to a country’s population growth. It also greatly impacts the country’s decisions on policies regarding the economy and health, education, and pension systems. Canada, along with other Western countries has seen falling birth rates for several decades, which is one of the causes behind the aging population and workforce shortages.

In this article, you will find information on current and historical statistics of birth rates in Canada as well as UN predictions until 2100. The article also includes information on the impact a falling birth rate is likely to have in Canada.

Birth Rate Statistics for Canadians

  • Canada currently has a birth rate of just over 10 live births per 1,000 people.
  • Canada’s current birth rate is almost three times lower than in 1950 when it was 27.41.
  • Canada’s birth rate is predicted to fall below 9 live births per 1,000 people by the end of the century.
  • Ukraine had the lowest birth rate in 2022 at 5.1 live births per 1,000 people.
  • There were 351,679 live births in Canada in 2022.
  • In 2022, 141,699 babies were born in Ontario.
  • Almost one out of six babies in 2022 were born in Toronto.
  • Nunavut has the highest fertility rate in Canada at 2.23.
  • The cost of raising children, now 11% higher than in 2015, may have contributed to lower birth rates in Canada.
  • Lower birth rates in Canada can contribute to labour shortages and an aging population, which may put a strain on, for example, healthcare and pension systems.

Birth Rate in Canada

Birth rates are calculated by the number of births per 1,000 people in the target group, for example, the population of a country or a region. The birth rate in Canada is currently 10.072, which is 0.75% lower than in 2022. 

It is estimated that the birth rate in Canada was around 40 live births per 1,000 people in 1800. Since then it has been falling every year, despite a brief increase following the Second World War. By the 1950s the birth rate in Canada had fallen rapidly and was 27.41 births per 1,000 people. It fell below 20 births per 1,000 people for the first time in 1967 when the birthrate was 19,712. This was also the biggest decline in a year as the birth rate fell by 6.030% compared to 1966.

Following some significant yearly decreases in the birth rate in the 1960s and 1970s, the decline slowed down in the 1980s. Apart from occasional larger declines, such as in 1994 when the birth rate fell by 3.110%, the birth rate has declined by under 1% per year since the 1980s.

Will Canada’s Birth Rate Continue to Fall?

Based on predictions by the United Nations, Canada’s birthday will continue to fall throughout the rest of this century. By 2050, the birth rate in Canada is expected to have fallen to less than 9 live births by 1,000 people. It will continue to decline year by year and by 2100, it is estimated that the birth rate in Canada will be approximately 8.5 births per 1,000 people.

How Does Canada’s Birth Rate Compare with Other Countries?

While Canada’s birth rate has been in decline for many decades, it is still higher than many other countries around the world. In 2022, the lowest birth rate was in Ukraine where only 5.1 babies were born per 1,000 people. However, that low rate is likely to have been caused by the war.

Hong Kong had the second lowest birth rate in 2022 with 5.5 live births per 1,000 people. It was followed by South Korea with 5.6, San Marino with 5.9, Japan with 6.6, and Italy with 6.9 births per 1,000 people.

The highest birth rates are found in African countries with Niger having the highest birth rate in 2022 with 44.7 live births per 1,000 people. It was followed by Somalia and Chad. Both countries had a birth rate of 42.6.

Number of Births in Canada

Even though the birth rate has fallen in Canada year by year, the number of births has remained relatively even. In 2021, there were 367,684 live births in Canada, excluding Yukon. The number of live births declined in 2022 when there were 351,679 births recorded in Canada.

Number of Births in Canada per Province and Territory

In 2022, Ontario welcomed the most new babies into the world out of the provinces and territories when 141,699 babies were born in the province. It was followed by Quebec and Alberta with far lower new births as the list below shows. The lowest numbers of births were seen in the territories.

  • Ontario 141,699
  • Quebec 83,300
  • Alberta 49,970
  • British Columbia 42,783
  • Manitoba 15,258
  • Saskatchewan 14,212
  • Nova Scotia 7,990
  • New Brunswick 6,469
  • Newfoundland and Labrador 3,850
  • Prince Edward Island 1,499
  • Nunavut 797
  • Northwest Territories 546
  • Yukon 419

Live Births in Canadian Metropolitan Areas

In 2022, one out of 5.6 children in Canada were born in Toronto, which saw 62,463 live births that year. It was followed by Manitoba where 42,331 babies were born and Vancouver with 23,124 live births.

The lowest numbers of births within the metropolitan areas were in Belleville, Ontario where only 1,088 babies were born in 2022. Thunder Bay and Peterborough, also in Ontario, recorded low numbers, too, with 1,119 and 1,185 live births, respectively.

Fertility Rates in Canada

The fertility rate has also been falling in Canada. It refers to the average number of children per woman of reproductive age (between 15 and 49 years of age). In 2022, the fertility rate in Canada was 1.492 births per woman. In 2023, the rate declined by 0.54% compared to the previous year and is currently 1.484 births per woman. However, the fertility rate is currently higher than in 2020 when it was 1.4, the lowest recorded.

While the number of births often corresponds to the size of the population, fertility rates can be a better reflection of the future potential population growth of a country or a region.

For example, while Toronto had by far the highest number of live births in 2022, it had a fertility rate of only 1.27. Nunavut, which had the third lowest number of live births, had a fertility rate of 2.23, which was the highest in the country. British Columbia has the lowest fertility rate at 1.11.

Below are the fertility rates for all provinces and territories except Yukon for which there was no fertility rate available.

  • Nunavut 2.23
  • Saskatchewan 1.69
  • Quebec and Northwest Territories 1.49
  • Alberta 1.45
  • Manitoba 1.43
  • New Brunswick 1.33
  • Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador 1.22
  • Ontario 1.27
  • Nova Scotia 1.18
  • British Columbia 1.11

Why is the Birth Rate declining in Canada?

It is not possible to pinpoint a single reason for the declining birth rates in Canada and other countries around the world because the reasons for having fewer/no children are individual. However, there are a range of trends that have contributed to the decline.

One of the key reasons why people may decide to have no children or have fewer children is the cost of raising a child. It is estimated that in Canada it costs $281,880 to raise a child until they are 18 years of age. It now costs around $27,000, or 11%, more to raise a child in Canada than in 2015.

Another reason for declining birth rates is that women are now more educated and more likely to pursue careers than women from previous generations. This may have resulted in some women having no children, while others delay having children until they are older and will have fewer children than in the past.

The COVID-19 pandemic has also impacted Canadians’ plans to have children. According to a report by Statistics Canada, 14.3% of 15 to 49-year-old Canadians were considering postponing having children because of the pandemic. In addition, 10.9% of the respondents were considering having fewer children because of the pandemic.

Has Canada’s Population Decreased Because of Lower Birth Rates?

Despite the birth rate decreasing year by year in Canada, the country’s population is still growing. According to Statistics Canada, immigration is an important factor in sustaining population growth in Canada. Immigration can also help to increase Canada’s fertility rate and has helped to keep the number of births reasonably steady despite the falling birth rate.
What is the Impact of Low Birth Rates in Canada?

Low birth rates in a country can lead to a range of economic, demographic, and social changes. In Canada, it is likely to lead to further aging of the population and a rising median age. This can place a strain on healthcare and pension systems in Canada because there will be fewer people who are of working age.

It can also further increase labour force shortages in Canada, increase labour costs, and reduce productivity, which can hinder Canada’s economic development and global competitiveness.

Conclusion

Canada has seen declining birth rates for several decades, which is a common trend among similar countries. The birth rate is currently just over 10 live births per 1,000 people and it is predicted to decline further. By the end of the century, it is predicted that there will be 8.5 live births per 1,000 in Canada.

Fewer births mean an aging population that can lead to, for example, labour shortages and an overstretched healthcare system. Therefore in Canada, the falling birth rate needs to be taken into consideration when planning policies for healthcare provision and pension systems to prevent issues in the future.

Frequently Asked Questions

Canada has seen its birth rate decline year on year for several decades now, which means it has a low birth rate of just over 10 live births per 1,000 people. However, Canada’s birth rate is still significantly higher than countries such as Japan and Italy where birth rates are below 7 or China, where the birth rate is 5.5. Ukraine had an even lower birth rate in 2022 at 5.1, but this was likely because of the war.

Birth rate and fertility rate are not the same thing. While birth rate measures the number of live births in a country or a region per 1,000 people, fertility rate refers to the average number of children a woman of child bearing age (15 to 49-years-old) is likely to have. Both can be used to indicate if the population of a region or country is likely to grow or fall.

There is no single reason for the declining birth rate in Canada since every person makes their decisions not to have children or to have fewer children based on their own reasons. However, it is likely that factors such as rising costs of bringing up children and more women choosing to pursue careers before having children have contributed to the falling birth rate in Canada.

While the birth rate has continued to fall in Canada year on year, the country’s population is still growing. This is because Canada is a popular destination for immigrants. In addition, while the birth rate has fallen, the number of children born in Canada has remained relatively steady in recent years.

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