The Canadian Diaspora: Estimating The Number of Canadian Citizens Who Live Abroad

Related Sustainable Development Goals and Global Compact for Migration Objectives

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SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities
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SDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals
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GCM 19
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GCM 20
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A growing number of countries are developing strategies to maintain ties with their nationals abroad and, in some cases, promote their return to their country of origin (Agunias and Newland 2012, OECD 2015), particularly in a context of labour shortages. This heightened interest in diasporas is accompanied by a growing need for accurate statistics on this population (University of Oxford 2008).

Despite the growing significance of these issues, few studies have sought to estimate the size and characteristics of the Canadian diaspora. The numerous challenges associated with accurately measuring emigration and the significant conceptual differences in international data mean that the few sources that are currently available to provide very different numbers.

The goal of this study is to calculate an estimate of the number of Canadian citizens who live abroad in order to help fill this statistical gap. This estimate is calculated using a complex demographic method that consists of incorporating data from a large number of sources over several decades to estimate the contribution of various demographic events that influence the size of this population.

The following section reviews the data sources currently available that report on the size of the Canadian diaspora. Then, the relevant concepts and an overview of the methodology developed in this study are introduced. The next sections detail how each demographic event that influences the size of the diaspora, such as emigration and mortality, are considered. The last two sections present the results of the study and a series of consistency and sensitivity analyses that were conducted to test the main assumptions of the demographic model.