Bleeding of Resident Population from City of Toronto and Peel Region Accelerated Again in 2020
By: Frank Clayton and Daniel Bailey
February 24, 2021
News headlines earlier this month were dominated by the latest sub-provincial population estimates released by Statistics Canada as of July 1, 2020 and the changes between mid-2019 and mid-2020. Much was made of the net population losses from one component of population change – net intraprovincial migration - and the reported net loss from the Toronto census metropolitan area and/or the city of Toronto. (Net intraprovincial migration measures the net flow of the resident population between Ontario municipalities. Municipalities are approximated by census divisions.1)
In this blog we examine the Statistics Canada net intraprovincial migration data for municipalities in Ontario to identify areas losing and gaining population from this source. We also provide our opinion on the reasons for the net outflow patterns and whether it appears COVID-19 influenced the intraprovincial migration flows in the Statistics Canada 2000 estimates.
Statistic Canada estimates the population as of July 1st, 2020. Therefore, the latest intraprovincial migration data measure the number of people moving in and out of municipalities between July 1st, 2019 and July 1st, 2020 – referred to as 2020. Four months of the pandemic are included in the latest data release (March to June 2020).
It should be kept in mind that all the population estimates released by Statistics Canada since the 2016 Census was conducted are preliminary estimates and thus these numbers are estimates and subject to revision after the 2021 Census of Canada results are available.
Resident population leaving the GTA in sizeable numbers
Figure 1 shows the net flow of intraprovincial migrants for the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), the rest of the Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH) and the rest of Ontario. There was over a doubling in the average annual net outflow of resident population from the GTA between 2017-2019 and the prior 5 years from 23,885 to 47,014. The pace of net outflow continued at 46,680 in 2020.