FREDERICTON — New figures from Statistics Canada show New Brunswick is experiencing a population boom.
The federal agency said Friday the province's population recently topped 800,000 for the first time, having gained more than 40,000 people in the past five years alone.
Premier Blaine Higgs issued a statement saying the province is experiencing higher immigration levels and positive interprovincial migration.
As a result, the province is experiencing its highest rate of population growth since 1976, having added 15,000 people in the past 12 months.
And the growth in New Brunswick is part of a wider trend.
Last month, Statistics Canada reported that in the past five years, the three Maritime provinces have largely succeeded in reversing a decades-long decline in population, thanks in part to a steady influx of immigrants and Canadians from other provinces — particularly Ontario and Alberta.
For the first time since the 1981-86 census, more people moved to the Maritimes from other parts of Canada (134,841) than moved away (98,086), the agency reported on Feb. 9. And it was the first time since the 1940s that the Maritimes grew at a faster pace than the Prairie provinces.
At the time, Statistics Canada said New Brunswick's population had reached 775,610 people, but that figure was an official census tally based on data compiled as of the second quarter of 2021.
Higgs said the latest estimate points to a healthy provincial economy that has bounced back to exceed pre-pandemic levels.
"This is a significant moment for our province," Higgs said in a statement late Friday. "Our population growth strategy is exceeding expectations. ... People are looking at New Brunswick in a new light."
As for the other Maritime provinces, Prince Edward Island was the fastest-growing province in Canada, according to the census figures released last month. And Nova Scotia grew at its fastest pace since the early 1970s.
The census figures also showed the region has succeeded in attracting a larger number of immigrants from other countries. New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and P.E.I. welcomed a record number of immigrants between 2016 and 2021, the vast majority arriving before the pandemic.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 26, 2022.
The Canadian Press