London region sees second fastest population growth in Canada

City of London population sign. (File photo by Miranda Chant, Blackburn News)

Between 2018 and 2019, the population of the London area grew at a rate that was the second-highest in the country.

Figures released by Statistics Canada show the London Census Metropolitan Area, which includes St. Thomas, Strathroy, and other surrounding communities, grew at a rate of 2.3 per cent, second only to the Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge region. According to Statistics Canada, the population of the London CMA was 545,441 in July of 2019.

The growth rate for all Census Metropolitan Areas in Canada was 1.7 per cent, well below what London saw. Toronto experienced a growth rate of 2.0 per cent. Other Ontario cities, like Guelph, Windsor, Barrie, and Kingston all saw growth rates below 2.0 per cent.

“Permanent and temporary immigration continues to drive population growth in Canada’s CMAs, accounting for almost all of their growth in 2018/2019,” the Statistics Canada report said. “In contrast, international migration accounted for just over half of the population growth in non-CMAs of the country. This trend is linked to higher targets for permanent immigration, as defined by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, and to various government programs that draw many temporary workers and foreign students to the country.”

The report also showed that the average age of residents in Census Metropolitan Areas is lower than that of areas outside cities. Statistics Canada said the average age in CMAs in July of 2019 was 40.5, compared to 43.2 in regions outside a CMA.

“Although the CMA population is generally younger, it is also aging,” the report said. “From 2009 to 2019, the average age in the CMAs rose by 1.6 years, which was still less than the increase in the other regions (+2.3 years). The proportion of the population aged 65 and older in the CMAs (16.1%) was also lower than in the rest of the country (21.1 per cent) on July 1, 2019.”