Panorama des régions du Québec: good performances in the Chaudière-Appalaches region, but mining regions are running out of steam

Québec, June 19, 2015 – The Chaudière-Appalaches region is in a favourable position according to several indicators. GDP growth for the services sector was among the strongest of all Québec regions in 2012. The Chaudière-Appalaches region also had the smallest proportion of low-income families in 2012. In addition, according to the most recent data, it had the lowest unemployment rate of all regions in 2014.

Meanwhile, despite economic performances that propelled them ahead with regard to several indicators thanks to a boom in mining activities, economic growth in the regions of Abitibi-Témiscamingue and Côte-Nord started to lose steam in 2013. Although GDP and disposable income per capita were still among the highest of all administrative regions, their growth rates slowed significantly. In addition, mining investment declined in both of these regions.

These results come from the Panorama des régions du Québec, édition 2015, published today by the Institut de la statistique du Québec on its website. This publication analyzes, compares and illustrates the evolution of the 17 Québec administrative regions using the most recent statistics on various topics.

Population aging faster in three regions

Population aging is particularly pronounced in the regions of Gaspésie–Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Mauricie and Bas-Saint-Laurent. In these regions, the share of persons aged 65 and over is greater than that of youth under the age of 20. In contrast, the Nord-du-Québec region was by far the youngest region in Québec with a median age of 29.2 years in 2014.

High low-income rate in Montréal

In 2012, the highest low-income rates among families were recorded in the regions of Montréal and Nord-du-Québec, i.e. 15.1% and 14.5% respectively. On the other hand, the Chaudière-Appalaches, Capitale-Nationale and Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean regions had the lowest proportions of low-income families.

Employment up in five regions

Between 2009 and 2014, employment rose considerably in five administrative regions: Montréal, Montérégie, Laval, Capitale-Nationale and Abitibi-Témiscamingue. However, employment declined in Bas-Saint-Laurent. The lowest unemployment rates were observed in the regions of Chaudière-Appalaches, Capitale-Nationale and Montérégie. At the other end of the spectrum were Gaspésie–Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean and Montréal, which posted the highest unemployment rates.

Low GDP per capita in Lanaudière

The Côte-Nord region once again recorded the highest GDP per capita in 2013, i.e. $81,184. In contrast, GDP in the Lanaudière region was the lowest at $24,758. In Outaouais, GDP per capita increased by 0.2%, the lowest growth rate among all Québec regions.

Building permits: boom in the institutional sector in Montréal

The value of non-residential building permits is concentrated in Montréal, which accounts for nearly half of the Québec total. It surged dramatically, mainly due to an increase in permits issued to the institutional sector, whose value rose from $442 million in 2012 to $2.3 billion in 2014, probably because of large hospital centre construction or modernization projects.

Mining investment down in Côte-Nord

For the second consecutive year, mining investment contracted in 2014 in two out of three of Québec’s major mining regions, i.e. Côte-Nord and Abitibi-Témiscamingue. They posted negative growth rates of 63.6% and 6.4% respectively, compared with 2013. Investments were up only in Nord-du-Québec, which still ranks first in terms of mining investment. Regarding mineral shipments, their value was up in all regions where mines, processing plants and smelter complexes are located, except for the Côte-Nord region where mineral shipments were down 3.9% due to falling iron ore prices.

Upswing in the manufacturing industry in six regions

In 2012, manufacturing sales in Québec were not back up to 2008 levels, i.e. pre recessions levels, but some regions managed to rebound and even exceed their results for 2008. This was the case for Bas-Saint-Laurent, Capitale-Nationale, Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Gaspésie–Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Chaudière-Appalaches and Montérégie.

Tourism: occupancy rate rises in Montérégie

In Montérégie, the occupancy rate of tourist accommodations and hotels rose 5.1 percentage points in 2014 compared with 2013 and stood at 48.5%. This was the strongest growth of all Québec regions. In terms of occupancy rates, Montréal, Laval and Québec were the top three regions, with respective rates of 69.9%, 68.8% and 61.7%.

Health: disparity between ratios of physicians to population

In Québec, the ratio of physicians was 2.26 per 1,000 population in 2013. The health regions of Gaspésie–Îles-de-la-Madeleine, of the combined regions of Nord-du-Québec, and of Montréal had the highest number of physicians per 1,000 population, i.e. 3.34, 3.27 and 3.21 respectively. On the other hand, the regions adjacent to Montréal had the lowest ratios of physicians, which ranged from 1.39 to 1.61 per 1,000 population.

Three regions have the highest percentages of university graduates

The Montréal, Laval and Capitale-Nationale regions have the highest proportion of their population holding a university certificate, diploma or degree. Montréal stands out with nearly half of its population having earned a university diploma. These three regions also have the lowest percentages of people without a diploma.

Science, technology, engineering and math graduates concentrated in Montréal

Nearly half of those holding a postgraduate university degree or a degree in science, technology, engineering and math live in the Montréal administrative region.

Government expenditures on culture up in almost all regions

The Québec government’s expenditures on culture increased over the last decade in all Québec regions, with one exception: expenditures declined in the Côte-Nord region. Cultural expenditures are concentrated in the regions of Montréal and Capitale-Nationale, which respectively accounted for 55.3% and 24.9% of total cultural spending in Québec in 2012-2013.

Statistics by RCM

The publication also includes a special section devoted to statistics by regional county municipality (RCM) in relation to three key indicators: population, disposable income per capita, and rate of workers. An analysis of the evolution of these indicators reveals that there can be strong disparities between RCMs in the same region.


The Institut de la statistique du Québec produces, analyses and disseminates official, objective and quality statistical information on various aspects of Québec society. It is the statistical coordinator for Québec and the relevance of its work makes it a strategic ally for decision makers and all those wishing to learn more about Québec.

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