February 22, 2024

Canada and Ireland – population growth through international immigration.

We analyzed the experience of two developed countries - Canada and Ireland, which, created a new strategy to attract foreigners.

As a result, the influx of international migrants creates a great positive impulse for the economies of these countries, as well as for the economies of cities and regions. In addition, countries reduce the problem of aging and natural population decline - both problems are common to all highly developed countries.

At the same time, both countries, Canada and Ireland, successfully compete for a talented and economically active population with their closest partners and the strongest economies in the World (USA and UK).

This is not the first time in its history that Canada has experienced a strong increase in the influx of foreign migrants and today has a medium-term program that helps turn this phenomenon into a new source of economic growth and well-being of citizens. Ireland is implementing one of the most effective modern programs to attract the largest high-tech companies in the world to the country by creating a special tax environment; in our opinion, this was the driver of positive net migration due to the return of the Irish and the immigration of citizens of other countries.

As a result, over the 10 years since 2013:

 Canada’s population increased by 5.3 million people (+15.2%) and amounted to 40.5 million people at the end of 2023.

 The population of Ireland increased by more than 667 thousand people (+14.4%) and amounted to 5.28 million people as of April 2023.

CDP Center experts prepared a brief overview of the dynamics of population growth and migration growth in Canada and Ireland.


The population of Canada at the end of 2023 exceeded 40.5 million people. In just one year since the fourth quarter of 2022, the population has grown by 1.2 million people (+3.2%), in the 10 years since 2013 the population has increased by 5.3 million people (+15.2%).

Population growth is recorded in all provinces of Canada: the leaders in growth over the last decade are provinces in which a significant proportion of the population lives in large and medium-sized cities, the absolute leader in growth is the Province of Ontario (+2.2 million residents, +16%), then British Columbia (+917 thousand residents, +19.8%), Quebec (+826 thousand residents, +10%) and Alberta (+747 thousand residents, +18.8%), followed by a significant gap of less than 200 thousand in the growth of Manitoba residents and Saskatchewan, then less than 100 thousand Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island.

On average, in major provinces the population increased by 16% compared to 2013. An interesting feature is that the highest percentage of population growth is observed in two small provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador (+23.7%) and Prince Edward Island (+22.2%)

In the last decade, the rate of annual population growth decreased only twice: in 2014 relative to 2013 and in 2015 relative to 2014 (during these years, the Canadian economy felt the negative effects of lower oil prices, which resulted in a reduction of investments and jobs ) and the second time in 2020 in a pandemic year relative to 2019. Population growth has accelerated sharply in 2021, 2022 and 2023. The absolute record holder for population growth was 2023 +1.2 million people compared to 2022.

What is the reason?

International migration continues is the main source of Canada's population growth throughout the decade.

In the third quarter of 2023, the major (96.0%) of the population growth was due to international migration. Net migration to Canada in the three quarters of 2023 was more than 1 million, up 47.2 percent from the first three quarters of 2022.

Based on the results of the first three quarters of 2023, the list of leading provinces in Net migration:

Moreover, the Government of Canada has approved the strategy - Canada’s Immigration Levels Plan 2024-2026. The Plan is implementing to diversity, economic advancement, and humanitarian values.

In 2024, the plan targets the admission of 485,000 new permanent residents. This target increases to 500,000 in both 2025 and 2026.


Ireland's population in the 2023 estimate (April to April of the previous year) exceeded 5.28 million. In just one year from April 2022, the population grew by 97.6 thousand people (+1.8%), in 10 years from 2013 the population increased by more than 660 thousand people (+14.4%).

Over the past decade, we can see how the net migration has moved from negative values to a positive zone and in subsequent years has become the main source of population growth. In 2023, Net migration amounted to 77.7 thousand people, and it is accounted for over 79% of Ireland's population growth.

According to The Central Statistics Office (CSO) The number of immigrants in the 12 months to April 2023 was the highest since the year to April 2007 and consisted of 29,600 returning Irish citizens, 26,100 other EU citizens, 4,800 UK citizens, and 81,100 others citizens.

It is obvious that Dublin as a business, educational and cultural capital is the main settlement receiving a positive migration flow therefore the proportion of the population living in Dublin has increased from 27.6% of the total in 2011 to 28.4% of the total in 2023 and now stands at 1,501,500 people."

Of course, it is important to note that the policy to attract the world's largest high-tech companies to Ireland has created a positive background and basis for an increase in the number of people wishing to work and live in Ireland. In parallel, the Government of Ireland is constantly improving the services provided within the migration office, but unlike Canada, it does not have a separate Strategy with numerical and qualitative indicators.

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