Canadians are packing up and leaving at a fast rate, during a traditionally slow period. Statistics Canada (Stat Can) data shows emigration, the act of leaving permanently, jumped in 2021. The past year showed modest gains, rising to the highest level in half a decade. The fourth quarter is what sticks out though, showing a sudden acceleration. Canada saw the largest Q4 volumes of residents leaving since the 1970s.
Canadian Residents Had The Largest Q4 Outflow Since The 1970s
Canadians left the country at a swift pace in a quarter they usually don’t plan a move. Stat Can estimates 16,901 emigrants in Q4 2021, up 215% from a year before. Annual growth doesn’t mean much, due to the outbreak’s base-effect. Don’t let the distortion allow you to dismiss the whole trend though.
Canadian Fourth Quarter Emigration
The number of Canadians estimated to have left and severed residency ties with Canada, for the fourth quarter.
Source: Statistics Canada; Better Dwelling.
Looking at the longer term, this was a huge fourth quarter. The Q4 2021 emigration was still 55.7% higher than the 5-year median for the quarter prior to 2020. It also happens to be the biggest Q4 for people leaving since 1974.
Canadian Emigration Is The Highest Since 2016
Canadian emigration showed modest growth last year, but highlights the Q4 acceleration. There were 55,935 emigrants in 2021, up 191.5% from a year before. Compared to the 5-year median prior to 2020, last year is 7.1% higher. Annual growth sounds more impressive than it was, but the longer term trend reveals it was still the highest volume since 2016.
Population Growth Is Still Positive, But Emigration Is A Problem
It’s important to understand this doesn’t mean Canada’s population isn’t growing. The country’s population is aggressively increasing due to higher immigration. For every person that leaves, Canada has managed to attract several more. Unless you’re only trying to balance your tax revenues, net growth while ignoring rising outflows isn’t a positive.
If Canadians leave in higher volumes for sustained periods, it warrants a deep dive. Just looking for much warmer weather is one thing, since it can’t be changed. However, a structural problem forms if the outflow is due to expensive housing or eroding economic opportunity. In the short term, immigration can patch over the loss of people. If they’re leaving for a reason though, immigrants take a wider look at their options.