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Westward ho: Census shows 33.5 million in Canada, with more in Prairies, B.C.

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OTTAWA - Highlights of population numbers from the 2011 census released Wednesday:

— As of May 2011, 33,476,688 people were enumerated in Canada, nearly twice as many as in 1961 and 10 times the number in 1861.

— Canada's population grew by 5.9 per cent between 2006 and 2011, up slightly from 5.4 per cent during the previous five years.

— For the first time, more people in Canada live west of Ontario (30.7 per cent) than in Quebec and Atlantic Canada combined (30.6 per cent).

— Canada's population growth between 2006 and 2011 was the highest among G8 countries.

— Every province and most territories saw their population increase between 2006 and 2011; the rate of growth increased everywhere except in Ontario, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut.

— Population growth in Saskatchewan hit 6.7 per cent, compared with a negative growth rate of 1.1 per cent between 2001 and 2006; the province welcomed more than 28,000 immigrants during the latest census period, nearly three times the number of the previous five-year period.

— The rate of growth in both Yukon (11.6 per cent) and Manitoba (5.2 per cent) has doubled since 2006.

— The rate of growth in Prince Edward Island (3.2 per cent), New Brunswick (2.9 per cent) and Newfoundland and Labrador (1.8 per cent) has increased substantially between 2006 and 2011.

— The growth rate in Ontario declined to 5.7 per cent, its lowest level since the early 1980s.

— Nearly seven of every 10 Canadians lived in one of Canada's 33 main urban centres in 2011.

— The rate of population growth in almost all census metropolitan areas located in Ontario slowed between 2006 and 2011.

— Of the 15 Canadian communities with the highest rates of growth, 10 were located in Alberta.

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