The birth rate in Canada hit an all-time low in 2020, likely due to increased economic and restriction-related stresses during the peak of lockdowns.
According to data from Statistics Canada, the average birth rate for each woman has decreased by 0.07 per cent to 1.4 children per woman. This led to only 358,604 births in 2020, a 13,434 drop in newborns from the prior year.
As Statistics Canada notes, this is significantly lower than the 2.1 babies per woman rate needed to sustain a population (two babies per couple, plus additional babies spread out in case of infant mortality).
Conversely, the average age of women giving birth continues to rise and now sits at 31.3 years old on average.
Of all the provinces and territories, BC has the lowest birth rate, an abysmal 1.17 births per woman, while Nunavut is the only territory with above replacement level fertility. Saskatchewan comes second at 1.78 births per woman.
Nonetheless, Canada’s population continues to grow, fueled entirely by immigration. Indeed, as we previously reported, Canada welcomed a record 401,000 new immigrants in 2021, and Trudeau has promised to break this record year after year.
“To support Canada’s post-pandemic recovery and chart a more prosperous future, the Government of Canada set a target of welcoming 401,000 new permanent residents in 2021, as part of the 2021–2023 Immigration Levels Plan,” a new release from the Canadian government reads.
“The Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, today announced that Canada has reached its target and welcomed more than 401,000 new permanent residents in 2021. Surpassing the previous record from 1913, this is the most newcomers in a year in Canadian history.”
Some of this decline in fertility can be attributed to the pandemic — though the birth rate has been declining in Canada for years.
As StatsCan notes, “almost one-quarter of people aged 15 to 49 changed their fertility plans due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with most reporting that they intended to delay having children,” reports CTV News.
“It is not uncommon for fertility rates to decline during times of economic distress or social uncertainty,” professor Ana Ferrer told CTV News. “In future years, as the economy recovers, we may expect to see some recovery in fertility rates, particularly if the future of the labour force includes more opportunities for remote interaction and flexible schedules, which may help women to better combine family and work.”