Québec interregional migration in 2015–2016: gains disappearing in Laval, losses increasing in Côte-Nord

Québec, February 23, 2017 – From July 1, 2015, to July 1, 2016, migration among Québec’s administrative regions once again mainly benefitted the regions adjacent to Montréal, except Laval, where no gains were observed. As in previous years, Montréal had a migratory deficit. The city’s net loss of 16,600 people was equivalent to –0.9% of its population. However, Côte-Nord recorded the largest migratory deficit proportionally to its population, with an interregional migratory rate of –1.6%. These findings were drawn from the bulletin Coup d’œil sociodémographique, No. 50, published today by the Institut de la statistique du Québec.

Montréal and adjacent regions

Although Montréal’s migratory losses had been dropping from 2010 to 2015, they increased slightly last year. Laval continued to make gains in relation to Montréal, but these were largely reduced, while its migratory deficit in relation to adjacent regions increased. Dropping for the sixth consecutive year, the interregional migratory balance even edged into a deficit in 2015–2016 (–180 people, for a rate of –0.04%), a first since this indicator was first measured. Last year, it was the Laurentides region that made the greatest gains in relation to its population size. The balance of 5,800 people represented an interregional migratory rate of 1.0%. The Montérégie region made the greatest gains in terms of absolute numbers: the balance of 6,300 people was equivalent to 0.4% of its population.

Québec’s other administrative regions

The Chaudière-Appalaches and Estrie regions recorded their greatest internal migratory gains over the past several years, contrary to those of the Capitale-Nationale region, which were at their lowest level since the early 2000s. The regions farthest from large urban centres had the highest negative migratory balance, though the Bas-Saint-Laurent region posted a balance between incoming and outgoing migration. The migratory losses in Abitibi-Témiscamingue were reduced from the previous year, but those in other regions said to be remote, particularly Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean and Côte-Nord, increased. The migratory deficit in Côte-Nord rose for the fifth consecutive year.

Regional County Municipalities (RCM)

Mirabel posted the greatest migratory gains proportionally to the size of its population among all Québec RCMs (1,100 people, or 2.2% of its population), while La Rivière-du-Nord lead the way in total numbers (2,400 people, or 1.9% of its population). These two RCMs in the Laurentides region had had the greatest migratory gains for the previous five years. Other RCMs around Montréal recorded significant migratory gains, including Montcalm (1.4%), Vaudreuil–Soulanges (0.9%) and Beauharnois–Salaberry (0.8%). Several RCMs around Québec City also posted sizable gains, though the gains in the city proper were practically nil. The RCMs in the ring to the north of the city had relatively large gains: 1.1% in La Jacques-Cartier and 0.9% in La Côte-de-Beaupré. However, these gains were lower than they had been a few years earlier. A trend in rising migration was observed on the South Shore, notably in Lévis, which posted its greatest gains in the past eight years.

Additional interregional migratory data, including data by age group, are available on the Institut website.

Internal migration is a major component of the demographic balance of Québec’s administrative regions and RCMs. However, other components also impact the size of their populations. They include natural increase, i.e. the difference between the number of births and deaths, as well as interprovincial and international migration. In certain regions such as Montréal and Nord-du-Québec, net interregional migration is negative, but the population continues to increase, since other growth factors compensate for internal migration losses.


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