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Old 12-09-2009, 01:40 PM
 
Location: Bergen County, NJ
594 posts, read 947,023 times
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Canada is the World's second largest country (after Russia being #1 & ahead of the USA being #3). Despite its extremely large size, the population is only 33.8 million, and have population density of only 3.2/km2
(8.3/sq miles).

For example, its neighbor country, the USA is slightly smaller than Canada but has a population of over 300 million.


Why is Canada's population so low?
Is it because of its bitter cold winters, higher taxes or why?
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Old 12-09-2009, 02:22 PM
 
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Weather will be the primary reason. Despite its huge size. the real habitable area is probably less than 10% of its geographical size. Even Southern Ontario is deemed by many I know to be "too cold to live". 90% of Ontario and Quebec are simply inhabitable. I also personally think the entire Manitoba and Saskachewan are not suitable for human habitation unless we can create a way to simply hibernate during the 6 month winter (why there are so few people in Montana and North Dakota?) The fact that Montreal are thrive as a vibrant metropolis is already sort of a miracle and we don't see many such large cities with such severe weather. The only other case I can think of is probably Moscow.

I had the experience of encouraging many of my friends to immgrate to Canada. The top two reasons for not to were 1) too cold 2) not many jobs available.
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Old 12-09-2009, 02:41 PM
 
Location: Bergen County, NJ
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Very sad that Canada (especially even South) has bitter cold winters.

Southern Ontario & Southern Quebec's winter temperature is same as Northern Sweden!
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Old 12-09-2009, 03:41 PM
 
Location: Vancouver, BC
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... unless you're in coastal BC.

But climate is more than just a factor of north and south. Ocean currents, continental airflows, altitude, and proximity to water & mountains all play a part. It's why Vancouver is warmer than southern Ontario/Quebec, even though it's much further north, etc. Heck, winters in Vancouver are warmer than most of USA's northern states. This really confuses a lot of people.
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Old 12-09-2009, 03:59 PM
 
Location: Vancouver, BC
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Also, here's a map from the Encyclopedia Britannica which shows how the population is distributed across Canada:

http://media-2.web.britannica.com/eb...4-BBFE93FB.gif

Not only is climate a factor in why not many people live in the northern half of the country, but it also comes down to geography as well.

People aren't going to move and develop places that are too isolated away from infrastructure, trade routes, and major population centres. They're going to settle where it's easy to travel around, where it's easy to import/export, and where it's cheap to do so.

Canada's initial pioneers and settlers constructed networks or roads, trails, and railroads - and it's from those transportation networks where people settled. Pioneers and settlers needed farmland for subsistance - it's really only the southern half of the country where there's a long enough growing season. Go too far north and farming becomes impossible.

Also, a good chunk of the northern half of Canada's tundra with a severe freeze/thaw cycle. It's not just not ideal for developing infrastructure. Imagine ground that's frozen solid in winter, but in the summer months thaws into an unstable marsh-like mud? That's half of Canada for you. But it's the half of Canada where practically nobody lives. There's a reason for it.

And in other places, like BC for example - most of BC is mountainous. People that live in BC typically live at the base of mountains in the valleys or immediately along the coast.
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Old 12-09-2009, 05:22 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robynator View Post
... unless you're in coastal BC.

But climate is more than just a factor of north and south. Ocean currents, continental airflows, altitude, and proximity to water & mountains all play a part. It's why Vancouver is warmer than southern Ontario/Quebec, even though it's much further north, etc. Heck, winters in Vancouver are warmer than most of USA's northern states. This really confuses a lot of people.
Even coastal BC is not that great. Today it is minus 6 to zero degrees Celsius in Vancouver. I know for a fact that sometimes it dips to below -10C.

I agree with you that the ocean currents etc are very important. West European countries are very north, but they are all warmer than South Canada. For example, Nice, France is about the same latitude as Toronto, and it has almost the perfect weather all year round (9C average in January).

What I can say is that Canada is definitely not a lucky country when it comes to climate.

Last edited by kkgg7; 12-09-2009 at 05:31 PM..
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Old 12-09-2009, 06:03 PM
 
Location: Bergen County, NJ
594 posts, read 947,023 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robynator View Post
... unless you're in coastal BC.

But climate is more than just a factor of north and south. Ocean currents, continental airflows, altitude, and proximity to water & mountains all play a part. It's why Vancouver is warmer than southern Ontario/Quebec, even though it's much further north, etc. Heck, winters in Vancouver are warmer than most of USA's northern states. This really confuses a lot of people.
Dude, I know that North or South locations doesn't matter how cold it is. It all depends on the reason you said.

Example:
  1. Stockholm, Sweden is located same latitude as Northern Canada, but it has 20 - 40 degrees warmer weather than places at similar latitude, even warmer than the Midwest and New England!
  2. Istanbul, Rome, New York and Madrid are located at similar latitude, but New York has significant colder winters than all of those cities in Europe.
  3. Montreal's winter temperatures are very similar to NORTHERN Scandinavia's!
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Old 12-09-2009, 06:27 PM
 
Location: British Columbia ♥ 🍁 ♥
7,213 posts, read 6,570,009 times
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Aside from climate and half the country being swamps and bogs, there's other reasons for the lower population. Although Canada's population is on a slow and steady increase, there is not as much of a religious imperative to go forth and multiply; and less social imperative and peer pressure to live beyond one's means (which includes having too many children), as there is in so many other countries.

.

Last edited by Zoisite; 12-09-2009 at 07:18 PM..
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Old 12-09-2009, 07:17 PM
 
235 posts, read 797,407 times
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whoever said 90 % of the country is unhabitable is wrong. if Alaska can have 686 thousand people there's no reason Manitoba, BC shouldn't each have 5-10 million. an area of 20-30 thousand sq km's around Montreal would easily get over 5 million people, Quebec City another million, the sourthern portion of the province covering 20-25 % of it's area, outside of those two cities can easily house 10-15 million people with the way climate is now, if the place warms (climate warming says that's happening but cooler global temperatures over the last 25 years don't support that) either through climate change or just the climate of different areas changing but the overall temperature remaining constant, Canada's weather could become nicer and attract more people.
the idea of bogs keeping people from moving to different places is ridiculous. the country if not the most one of the highest amount of tree cover of any nation in the world. it is the only country with less than 140 million people ranking top 5 in freshwater.

something else is being ignored. Canada's population is growing A LOT FASTER than people think.
checkout this article from 2000
The Daily, Tuesday, March 13, 2001. Population projections
it didn't expect Canada to get to 34-39 million people until the year 2025. the population is expected to hit 34 million within a couple months. that's 450 thousand people growth per year since 2000. since 2006 the country has added about 600,000 people per year. there is no reason the country can't get to 48 million by 2025.

Canada's economy is something that is going to keep the country at the top of people's lists. new estimates of future nominal gdp by the imf has Canada surpassing Spain permanently in 2011, being larger than Russia until 2012, keeping up with India until 2013 or 2014, and putting more distance between it and countries like Australia, South Korea, Mexico. There's going to be more than enough wealth here for at least 40 million people in the near future.
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Old 12-10-2009, 07:43 AM
 
705 posts, read 1,631,237 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grmike View Post
whoever said 90 % of the country is unhabitable is wrong. if Alaska can have 686 thousand people there's no reason Manitoba, BC shouldn't each have 5-10 million. an area of 20-30 thousand sq km's around Montreal would easily get over 5 million people, Quebec City another million, the sourthern portion of the province covering 20-25 % of it's area, outside of those two cities can easily house 10-15 million
In theory yes, but most people will always try to avoid cold places and prefer warmer ones, as long as they have a choice. North Dakota has a potential to hold 10 million too, but it was a mere 600K. when people have an alternative, they are very unlikely to go to places like Manitoba, which probably needs to be 15C warmer to be considered remotely to "agreeable".

Winnipeg: Tuesday -20C, Wednesday -20C, Thursday -22C. (subtract 10C for wind chill). Regina "feels like" -40C this Friday. Ask around to see how many would want to live in a place like this, not to mention it is only early Dec. Just by looking at the questions on this forum we can know that the climate has always been one of the top priorities (along with jobs) when deciding where to move.
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