OTTAWA, May 9, 2011 ( – In late April Statistics Canada released birth rate data in Canada for 2008, the most recent data available. The report states that the number of live births in Canada has increased for a sixth consecutive year.

However, the rise in births seems to be slowing down, with a 2.7% increase in 2008, down from rises of 3.6% in 2006, and 3.7% in 2007, Statistics Canada said.

In 2008, there were 377,886 live births in Canada. This is well up from the 328,802 babies born in 2002, which was an all-time low and represented 10.5 live births per 1,000 population, the lowest since vital statistics began to be produced nationally in 1921.

From 2007 to 2008, the number of births rose in all provinces and territories except the Northwest Territories. The largest increases in number of births were in Newfoundland and Labrador (7.6%), Prince Edward Island (6.8%) and the Yukon (5.1%).

The StatsCan report notes that since 2003, the total fertility rate (TFR) has also seen an upward trend, rising from 1.53 to 1.68 in 2008, though this rate is still well below the generational replacement level of 2.1 children per woman – the rate needed to replace the country’s population in the absence of immigration.

Nunavut, the Northwest Territories and Saskatchewan had the highest fertility rates in the country, with more than two children per woman on average. In contrast, British Columbia had the lowest fertility rate of the country.

StatsCan speculates that the recent increase in births could be explained partly by a rise in births to older women who are delaying first childbirth until they are in their 30s or forties.

For a fourth consecutive year, the report says, the age-specific fertility rate for women aged 30 to 34 was the highest. In 2008, there were 107.4 births per 1,000 women in this age group. The age-specific fertility rate of women aged 40 to 44 has more than doubled from 1988 to 2008, going from 3.6 to 8.4 per 1,000 women.

Thirty years ago, the majority of live births in Canada were to mothers aged 20 to 29 years. Mothers in their 20s gave birth to 66.2% of babies in 1982. In 2002, only 47.9% of births were to mothers in this age group, and the percentage is steadily declining.

High levels of immigration are the main reason that Canada’s overall population has not declined as a result of the low birth rate.

In 2010 Canada received more than 280,000 immigrants according to a StatsCan population growth report. This was the highest level recorded since the 1950’s, and was 28,500 more immigrants than in 2009, giving the country an estimated population of 34,278,400 as of January 1, 2011.

The Statistics Canada birth rate report is available here.

The Statistics Canada population estimates report is available here.


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