Some Demographic Aspects of French-English Relations in Canada



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Nathan KEYFITZ

démographe
(1960)

Some Demographic Aspects


of French-English Relations
in Canada.”

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Médecin et chercheur en neurosciences à la retraite

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LES CLASSIQUES DES SCIENCES SOCIALES.

Cette édition électronique a été réalisée par Jacques Courville, bénévole, médecin et chercheur en neurosciences à la retraite, Montréal, Québec,

Courriel : courvilj@videotron.ca

à partir de :


Nathan Keyfitz,
“Some Demographic Aspects of French-English Relations in Canada.”
Un article publié dans l’ouvrage réalisé par Mason WADE, en collaboration avec un Comité du Conseil de Recherche en Sciences sociales du Canada sous la direction de Jean-Charles FALARDEAU, La dualité canadienne. Essais sur les relations entre Canadiens français et Canadiens anglais. / Canadian Dualism. Studies of French-English Relations, pp. 129-148. Québec : Les Presses de l’Université Laval, University of Toronto Press, 1960, 427 pp.
[Autorisation formelle accordée le 1er août 2011, par le directeur général des Presses de l’Université Laval, M. Denis DION, de diffuser ce livre dans Les Classiques des sciences sociales.]
Courriel : denis.dion@pul.ulaval.ca

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Édition numérique réalisée le 24 novembre 2011 à Chicoutimi, Ville de Saguenay, Québec.





REMERCIEMENTS

Nous sommes infiniment reconnaissants à la direction des Presses de l’Université Laval, notamment à M. Denis DION, directeur général, pour la confiance qu’on nous accorde en nous ayant autorisé, le 1er août 2011, la diffusion de ce livre dans Les Classiques des sciences sociales.

Courriel : denis.dion@pul.ulaval.ca

PUL : http://www.pulaval.com/

Jean-Marie Tremblay,
Sociologue,
Fondateur, Les Classiques des sciences sociales.
20 novembre 2011.

Nathan KEYFITZ


Some Demographic Aspects
of French-English Relations in Canada.”


Un article publié dans l’ouvrage réalisé par Mason WADE, en collaboration avec un Comité du Conseil de Recherche en Sciences sociales du Canada sous la direction de Jean-Charles FALARDEAU, La dualité canadienne. Essais sur les relations entre Canadiens français et Canadiens anglais. / Canadian Dualism. Studies of French-English Relations, pp. 129-148. Québec : Les Presses de l’Université Laval, University of Toronto Press, 1960, 427 pp.

Table des matières




Growth of canadian population

The division of labour

Population and public opinion

[129]


Deuxième partie

Material factors / Population et économie
A. Demographic considerations

Facteurs démographiques
Some Demographic Aspects of
French-English Relations in Canada.”

Nathan KEYFITZ
Department of Political Economy, University of Toronto

1955
Retour à la table des matières

THE FIRST CENTUTRY AND A HALF of Canada's population history, from 1605 to the war that ended with the cession of the colonies, was almost exclusively French-Canadian history. Fortunately the keeping of records both civil and ecclesiastical was an early habit of the colonists. The records include baptisms and a series of complete censuses at dates starting from 1666 ; more is known of what was happening demographically in Canada prior to 1760 than in some periods since.

The first significant event in the history of European settlement in Canada was the founding of Port Royal in 1605, and the survival of forty-four settlers out of seventy-nine who had undertaken to spend the winter on Ile Sainte-Croix. 1 In 1608 Champlain with twenty-seven French settlers spent the winter at Quebec, and in 1613 sixty-two English wintered at St. John's, Newfoundland. French settlement moved up the river from the base now established in Quebec, and Montreal was founded in 1642. But population grew slowly in those days ; between disease and wars with the Iroquois and the English, births in the small colony did not exceed deaths until 1638. 2

GROWTH OF CANADIAN POPULATION

Retour à la table des matières

By 1666 the population of New France was 3,215. 3 This number is known as the result of a census taken in modern style, showing the name, age, sex, and other facts concerning each person. The census of 1666 is one of which Canadians are proud, for in basic method it is [130] the earliest expression of the census-taking tradition which spread through the countries of western Europe and North America in the nineteenth century.

Canada, unlike the British colonies to the south, did not receive a flood of dissenters who sought an opportunity to practise their religion ; in fact it was by royal intention closed to French Huguenots. Immigration was slow, but some 2,500 colonists arrived between 1660 and 1672 in the favourable atmosphere created by Louis XIV and fostered within the colony by Intendant Talon. Henceforth the population grew rapidly and by the end of the seventeenth century New France contained a white population of 14,000. 4 At the same time Acadia showed 800 persons ; Newfoundland had 2,400 British residents in 1702 and 600 French in 1706. The eighteenth century showed a continuance of the rapid rate of increase so that by 1736 New France bad reached 40,000 persons, thus almost trebling in thirty-eight years, an increase of 3 per cent per year. The largest part of this high increase was due to the excess of births over deaths. Thus it is stated that : "With the end of the work of Talon little interest in colonization was taken and emigration from France practically ceased at the end of the century apart from some Acadians who moved to the St. Lawrence and some discharged soldiers." 5

It is not certain how many immigrants there were in the whole period of the French colony ; A.R.M. Lower refers to estimates varying from 4,000 to 10,000. 6 There was a good deal of travel in both directions ; while new settlers were coming some of the old were returning. The population of New France by 1758 was estimated 7 at 72,000, an increase of 80 per cent in 22 years, or 21 per cent per annum. This number somewhat exceeded the count made in 1765 of 69,810 for Canada, which included substantially the territory of New France ; there was some return to France after the conquest and Louisiana was no longer included.

That fewer than 10,000 immigrants could be the ancestors of the 70,000 or so who were present in 1763 implies fairly settled conditions and a rate of fertility among the highest ever reached, even among small populations occupying practically limitless areas. That the 70,000 of 1763 could be the recognized ancestors of over 4½ million Canadians and perhaps 1½ million Americans implies a continued high fertility, [131] as well as a degree of cultural continuity in the face of majority pressures of many kinds that has few parallels in world history.

Since immigration from France was negligible subsequent to the Peace of Paris it is of special interest to calculate the annual rate of growth that is implied by the fact that in the eighty-six years preceding 1851 the population of Lower Canada multiplied by thirteen to 890,000. Population (or money) which multiplies by thirteen in eighty six years is growing at the rate of 2.7 per cent compounded annually. If the deaths were at least 25 per thousand the births would have to be at least 52 per thousand. All the differentials which later, more detailed statistics have revealed favoured this population ; it was rural, farming, Roman Catholic, and not wealthy.

The British had taken Nova Scotia in 1713, and in 1749 Halifax, the first British settlement, was founded. It seemed to the leaders of the time that the best way out of their difficulties was to expel the Acadians, and this expulsion altered the demographic balance. After 1763 when the British took over the administration of the St. Lawrence Valley, the growth of the British population was slow, for the richer colonies to the south exerted a strong attraction. With the revolt of the Thirteen Colonies the United Empire Loyalists, estimated at 35,000 8, came north, and helped found what became the provinces of New Brunswick and Ontario. At the same time the current of emigration from the Mother Country was deflected towards a more northerly destination ; after the Napoleonic Wars, Upper Canada, established as a separate entity in 1791, began to receive British immigrants in considerable numbers.

The French Canadians continued to farm, and each generation sought new lands for its sons. When the lands that were available within the boundaries constituted by the English holdings in the south and the infertility of the north were fully occupied there was a migration, most of it to the United States. Montreal became a largely English city during the first half of the nineteenth century, and only about the time of Confederation did some of the overflow from Quebec farms enter it in the search for jobs, and restore the French majority.

Confederation had important consequences for Canadian population through the integration of vast new territories. One of the tasks of the new federation was the development of the west. 9 In 1870 the province of Manitoba was established and British Columbia joined the Confederation [132] in 1871. However, the growth of the prairies seemed to have to await the filling of the United States west, and it was only towards the end of the nineteenth century that population figures start to rise rapidly. Manitoba was the first of the three prairie provinces to be occupied, and it counted 62,000 inhabitants in the 1881 census, 153,000 in 1891, 255,000 in 1901, and 461,000 in 1911. The cycle of expansion of the other two was only slightly behind that of Manitoba ; the largest growth of any of these in any intercensal period was that of Saskatchewan between 1901 and 1911, when an increase of over 400,000 was shown.

Partly to guide federal activities aimed at settling the country, a ten-year census had been made one of the articles of Confederation in 1867. When the prairies attained a growth early in the century of nearly a million persons per decade, it was plain that more frequent censuses would be necessary to keep track of it. Accordingly a special five-year census of the present prairie provinces was arranged, and this continued from 1886 to 1946. In 1956 the scope of the prairie census will be somewhat reduced, and it will be extended to the whole of Canada. The purpose is to take account of a new phase of population growth, not primarily agricultural but rather urban, suburban, and oriented to the development of resources.

The number of French in 1881 was 1,299,000 and by 1951 these had increased to 4,319,000. This multiplication by three and one-third or an increase of 1% per cent per annum in the period of seventy years is rapid but somewhat lower than the phenomenal rates previously shown : it would imply an average birth rate of 40 to 45 per thousand and a death rate of 20 to 25 per thousand if there had been no emigration, but we shall see below that emigration was important and that the birth rate must have averaged over 45.

It is convenient to arrange population data in the form of a table which shows how the changes from one census to the next have occurred (see Table I). The four possible ways in which people can enter or leave a population are by birth, death, immigration, and emigration. But when we seek to analyse changes from one census to the next in terms of these four items we find that the official vital statistics series for Canada only go back about thirty years. We are compelled to make estimates of the births and deaths ; for deaths we can only assume the applicability to Canada of rates tabulated for other countries at the dates concerned. The assumption that mortality in Canada was similar to that in England and Wales a hundred years ago fortunately has rather little effect on the calculation as compared [133] with mortality 10 per cent higher or lower. The number of children under ten years recorded at the successive censuses gives adequate information on births once we assume infant mortality rates.

Among others Coats, Hurd and MacLean, Marshall, and the writer have made estimates for the period prior to that covered by the national registration system 10 Reconstructions of the past are difficult to verify, but something can be done by comparing the outgo of Canadian-born, estimated census by census, with the increase in the Canadian-born population of the United States. This method serves (among other things) as a check on the assumed mortality rates, because too low an estimate of deaths would exaggerate the number of immigrants from Canada, but diminish the apparent immigration into the United States, and so reveal itself. The general conclusion from the checks used is that most of the figures in Table I are within 100,000 of the truth.

To sum up the sources of data : official figures on immigration are at hand for at least a hundred years ; the number of births is inferred from the count of those less than ten years old at the successive censuses ; and the rate of mortality is taken to be the same as in other countries whose registration systems antedate that of Canada.

Given this information emigration may be calculated as a residual. The writer followed a well-beaten path in making this calculation 11 and there is no point here in taking the reader over all the statistical hurdles again ; it should be explained, however, that the data from 1941 to 1951 are corrected on the basis of the 1951 census, that official vital statistics are used for 1921 to 1951 in place of the previous life table methods, and that an attempt is made to make the reconstruction throw light on the relative growth of the French and the English.

The purpose of the construction in Table I is to show the roles played by natural increase and migration in the building of Canada. It appears that the difference between the numbers of immigrants and of emigrants during the hundred years is only about 700,000, whereas the difference between births and deaths is over 10 million. The 700,000 net does not mean that of the 7 million immigrants only [134] 10 per cent stayed, but rather that if the doors of both immigration and emigration had been closed the total population at the present time would have been less by the descendants of 700,000 persons. This statement does not fully clarify the role of immigration in attaining our present population, for we have the "loan" of population if the immigration comes before the emigration, and we receive some "interest" if the people in question are more than reproducing themselves. Thus, through immigration, we had a net gain of 700,000 in the first decade of the century ; if we were to lose 700,000 at the present time-a highly unlikely contingency presented only as an example of the arithmetical point-we would still be ahead of where we would have been if the doors both ways had been closed in 1901-11. In so far as the immigrants have high birth rates and the emigrants lower ones, the process gives Canada an additional demographic gain- though, some writers insist, a cultural loss.



TABLE I

A RECONSTRUCTION OF CANADA'S POPULATION RECORD, 1851-1951


(000's omitted)





Brths

Deaths*

Immigration

Emigration (residual)

Population at end of decade

-1851









2,436

1851-1861

1,281

611

209

86

3,230

1861-1871

1,369

718

187

377

3,689

1871-1881

1,477

754

353

439

4,325

1881-1891

1,538

824

903

1,110

4,833

1891-1901

1,546

828

326

505

5,371

1901-1911

1,931

811

1,782

1,067

7,207

1911-1921

2,338

1,018

1,592

1,330

8,788

1921-1931

2,414

1,053

1,195

967

10,377

1931-1941

2,291

1,070

150

241

11,507

1941-1951 †

3,205

1,216

548

380

14,009

1851-1951

19,390

8,903

7,245

6,502




* Includes 36,000 overseas casualties of the Second World War, and 150,000 extra deaths due to the First World War and the influenza epidemic.

† Including Newfoundland from 1949 ; estimated population at that date 345,000.


The extent to which the immigrants are themselves the emigrants of the same period has been much discussed. Successive censuses provide data on this point when set alongside statistics on immigration. It turns out that from January 1926, to May 1931, the number of immigrants who were recorded as entering Canada was 742,000, but that only 468,000 people reported to the 1931 census enumerators that [135] they had come to Canada in that period. The latter figure is only 63 per cent of the former - our rate of retention to the end of a five-year period was not high. The next census that was preceded by a major amount of immigration was that of 1951, and this time we find that the number of immigrants in the preceding five-year period was 491,000, and that the census counted 386,000 of these, or 70 per cent. It looks as though Canada's ability to hold immigrants was much higher then than in former times, perhaps partly owing to some closing of the United States immigration doors, but mostly to our solid growth and the opportunities it offers for satisfying and remunerative work.

Birth and death rates for the period of Canadian history covered by Table 1, and indeed for a longer period, are discussed in the chapter of this volume written by Mr. Henripin. In Table II we shall attempt to split the totals from Table I into French- and English-speaking persons.
TABLE II

PERSONS OF FRENCH ORIGIN AND TOTAL POPULATION, 1851-1951


(000's)

Year

Total population

French

French % of total

1851*

1,842

696

37.8

1861*

2,508

881

35.1

1871 †

3,486

1,083

31.1

1881

4,325

1,299

30.0

1891

4,833

1,405

29.1

1901

5,371

1,649

30.7

1911

7,207

2,062

28.6

1921

8,788

2,453

27.9

1931

10,377

2,928

28.2

1941

11,507

3,483

30.3

1951 ‡

13,648

4,309

30.8

* Upper and Lower Canada only.

† Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, and Ontario only.

‡ Exclusive of Newfoundland.

The periods of immigration (for example 1901-11) tend to show a decline in the percentage of French, whereas the negligible immigration of the 1930's brought the French to a higher proportion than had been seen during the present century. One may summarize by saying that after some decline, the proportion of French by 1951 was not appreciably different from that shown by the first census after Confederation.

[136]

Birth and death rates are shown in Table 111, and from them it seems a reasonable guess to take the French births as 39 per cent of all births, and French deaths as 32 per cent of all deaths for the period prior to the time for which complete statistics are to be had. For our rough purpose we can take it that there was no French immigration, and we will infer the amount of French emigration.



TABLE III

FRENCH AS PERCENTAGE OF ALL ORIGINS *



Years

Births (%)

Deaths (%)

1921-30

39.2

34.2

1931-40

38.9

31.7

1941-50

38.8

29.6

* Exclusive of Newfoundland, Yukon, and Northwest Territories.
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