Quebec demographic report 2024 | Immigration slows population aging

Extremely rare fact: the sharp increase in immigration to Quebec last year temporarily slowed down the aging of the population in the province, according to the demographic report of Quebec revealed on Wednesday.


Posted at 6:58 p.m.

“We had never considered it”

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Last year, the average age of Quebec’s population was 42.7 years. A year earlier, it stood at 42.8 years. This small decline, which marks a pause in the aging of the province’s population, took demographers by surprise. “We had never considered it,” points out Frédéric Fleury-Payeur, demographer at the Institute of Statistics of Quebec (ISQ). “This illustrates how exceptional immigration was in 2023.” Of the 220,000 new immigrants, around 174,000 came from temporary immigration, he notes. “So it’s not a phenomenon that we estimate will last over time. This is an interesting analytical curiosity. »

Immigration leaves the island of Montreal

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Another striking fact: more and more newcomers are settling outside the island of Montreal, we can read in the report. “The share of permanent immigrants and non-permanent residents recorded outside the island of Montreal was 30% in 2001, while it rises to 44% in 2021,” write the researchers. Among the countries of origin of permanent immigrants admitted in 2023, we find France (13%), followed by Cameroon (12%), China (11%), Algeria and Morocco (4.7% each) and Tunisia and Haiti (4.2% each).

Decline in fertility

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PHOTO FRANÇOIS ROY, LA PRESSE ARCHIVES

“The decline [de la fécondité] continues and is increasing,” notes demographer Frédéric Fleury-Payeur.

Fertility has taken a nosedive once again, to settle at 1.38 children per woman in 2023, compared to 1.48 in 2022. “The decline continues and is increasing,” notes Mr. Fleury-Payeur. This seems to be the case everywhere else. It is difficult to identify a single factor, but it is perhaps the reduction in the desire to have a child, the influence of the cost of living and access to property. If you have a four and a half, and you want a five and a half to have a kid’s room, maybe it’s too expensive, or too hard to find. »

Life expectancy

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Quebec continues to do well in the ranking of places with the highest life expectancy in the world. The life expectancy of the Quebec population was 82.5 years in 2023, a level similar to that which prevailed before the pandemic. “At 1er July 2023, 21% of the Quebec population is aged 65 and over, a share equal to that of young people under 20, while 58% is aged 20 to 64,” reports the ISQ.

Overdoses on the rise

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Among those aged 25 to 44, mortality trends are encouraging for motor vehicle accidents, suicides, and assaults (homicides and feminicides). However, accidental poisonings (overdoses) have increased significantly over the past ten years. “It is noticeable, but Quebec seems to escape the brunt of the phenomenon,” Mr. Fleury-Payeur adds. In Manitoba and Saskatchewan, as well as in the United States, overdoses are even more devastating. »

Reductions in mortality due to tumors and cardiovascular diseases

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A positive and counterintuitive trend: cardiovascular diseases and tumors are claiming fewer and fewer victims, despite the aging of the population. The decrease in smoking in society as well as advances in the medical field could explain this decrease. “Heart disease can include deaths related to COVID-19, flu, or others. Maybe it even slows down the gains observed,” says Frédéric Fleury-Payeur.

Increase in French-speaking immigration

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After a decline, the share of admitted permanent immigrants who know French or who have French as their mother tongue has reached levels that are among the highest in recent decades. Nearly 66% of immigrants admitted in 2023 knew how to express themselves in French, while nearly 28% had French as their mother tongue. This is more than double the levels that prevailed 30 years ago.

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