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Culturally Diverse, Older and Mobile: Insights from our Updated Demographic and Segmentation Datasets

Published Jun 22, 2023, 02:23 PM by Ryan Spencer, Marketing Intern, Environics Analytics
A recap on what's changed for 2023 within EA's core databases, incorporating the latest Census data with takeaways for understanding Canada's evolving demographic landscape


The 2023 updates of PRIZM®, DemoStats and SocialValues presents a valuable opportunity for organizations to predict and prepare for Canada's evolving demographics. Incorporating the latest Census data, these new releases introduce several key takeaways relevant to organizations looking to harness data-driven insights into the dynamic Canadian landscape. Significantly, there is a rise in interprovincial migration, with a notable influx of people relocating to Alberta and the Maritimes. Another projected trend shows significant population growth within the 80 to 84 age group. And finally, Canada's population is becoming more multicultural, driven in part by a marked increase in international immigration by both permanent and temporary residents.


Canadians are on the move

With the rise in housing prices and the cost of living, there has been a considerable increase in populations moving interprovincially. The greatest interprovincial migration has been to Alberta and the Maritimes provinces, where people may be seeking more affordable areas to settle. DemoStats tracks this movement and predicts future trends, enabling organizations to better prepare for the demographic changes to these regions.

The 2023 vintage of DemoStats data also reveal that major metropolitan areas like Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver having negative internal migration. However, the churn of these residents leaving their respective metropolitan areas is offset by an increase in international immigration. Overall, these metropolitan areas see a cooling off in terms of their once-robust population growth.

Another dimension to the interprovincial migration is the surge of individuals moving to smaller urban areas. This migration is further enhanced in DemoStats with six CAs (Census Agglomerations) that recently changed to CMAs (Census Metropolitan Areas) by Statistics Canada, namely Fredericton, NB; Drummondville, QC; Red Deer, AB; Chilliwack, BC; Kamloops, BC; and Nanaimo, BC. The inclusion of these CMAs in DemoStats will be important to forecast population growth in these burgeoning areas. The latest DemoStats data include cities with a strong likelihood for growth from 2023 to 2028. The top three projected cities in Canada are Barrie, ON; Oshawa, ON and Kamloops, BC, with Barrie seeing an increase of 19.1% and Oshawa seeing an increase of 17.7% and Kamloops at 12.2% (see figure 1).

Bar graph showing projected percent population growth 2023-2028 across Canada's cities.

Figure 1. Source: Environics Analytics, DemoStats, 2023.

Interestingly, the distribution of households earning over $200K reflects a shift towards smaller communities. Highlighting this trend of wealth to smaller communities is Squamish, BC and Canmore, AB (see figure 2). It’s worth noting that both towns have a population of under 25,000. This could indicate a surprising trend that bucks the notion that wealth flocks to larger metropolitan areas.

Bar graph showing percent of households in Canada with income over $200,000 according to DemoStats 2023 data.

Figure 2. Source: Environics Analytics, DemoStats, 2023.


Canada’s golden years

Canada’s population is aging. The aging Baby Boomer generation can be seen in the latest DemoStats release with the greatest growth in the 70 to 85+ age groups (see figure 3). The 55 to 64 age group has a negative growth rate, which falls in line with the smaller Gen X cohort coming at the heels of the Boomers. There are a few peaks and valleys for the younger age groups that will even out with time due to international immigration.

Bar graph showing projected population change in Canada by ages 0 to 85 and over (2023 - 2028)

Figure 3. Source: Environics Analytics, DemoStats, 2023.

Often overlooked in favour of the 18 to 34 demographics, the 65+ and 55+ age groups show an increase in income, exerting their importance and influence as a consumer group, while those in the 35-54 cohort are in decline (see figure 4). This could dramatically impact all industries and service providers as demands and needs shift over time.

Line graph showing share of total aggregate income of total population in Canada, 1976-2020.

Figure 4. Source: Statistics Canada, Income Survey.


All roads lead to Canada

This new release of DemoStats also captures the diverse cultural background of new arrivals to Canada. The data reveal the influx of South Asian immigrants has surpassed the once-dominant Chinese newcomers. Both South Asians (India, Bangladesh, et al.) and Western Asians (Afghanistan, Iran, et al.) are among the fastest-growing newcomer groups (see figure 5).

Bar graph showing percent population growth in Canada by ethnicity, 2018 - 2023.

Figure 5. Source: Environics Analytics, DemoStats, 2023.

Understanding this changing landscape and the associated cultural nuances will be critical for marketers, policy makers and planners. DemoStats provides actionable data-driven insights by targeting newcomers who are settling on a granular, neighbourhood level. With mapping functionality through our ENVISION platform, you can gain insights on settlement patterns, such as where newcomer s are landing in the Vancouver metropolitan area (see figure 6). These spatial insights will help target newcomers as they first land and then settle into Canadian society.

Map of Vancouver CMA showing neighbourhoods with dominant racialized groups with at least 25% or more of the population.

Figure 6. Source: Environics Analytics, DemoStats, 2023.


Who’s behind the wheel?

When it comes to the attitudes of Canada’s population, SocialValues describes the hearts and minds of people living in Canada. A crucial component embedded into PRIZM®, SocialValues helps organizations tailor their messages to be more effective by appealing to what resonates the most with their audiences. A case in point is the rise of electric vehicle (EV) ownership in Canada.

SocialValues gives a peek behind the curtain into potential EV customers’ sentiments and motivations. EA conducted an analysis between two different target groups of EV consumers, known as Green Ideals and Green Tech. Both groups have a high propensity for purchasing EVs–but for very different reasons. These two target segments are nearly the same in terms of household incomes and family status (see figure 7). This is where the beauty of SocialValues comes into play to help differentiate between similar consumer segments. The Green Ideals values centre around sustainability and ecological concerns, while Green Tech’s focus is on latest tech as a status symbol and keeping up with the Joneses. It could be the same EV, but very different drivers behind the wheel. SocialValues will help your organization understand who is driving.

Graphic showing Green Ideals and Green Tech as two target groups, along with their demographic data and social values.

Figure 7. Source: Environics Analytics, SocialValues, 2023.

As an organization, you need to know where your customers are and—more importantly—what they need. By utilizing the comprehensive range of data products such as DemoStats, SocialValues and PRIZM®'s renowned segmentation approach, your organization can better prepare for Canada's population transformation, gaining valuable insights into the demographics, geographical distribution and consumer sentiments across the country.





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