Greater Montreal's VitalSigns 2007
Foundation of Greater Montreal's Website

The census metropolitan area (CMA), commonly referred to in this report as “Greater Montreal” or simply “the region,” includes the islands of Montreal and Laval, the municipality of Longueuil and the neighbouring North and South Shore communities. For convenience, we also use the expression “the island” when we refer to the municipality, the health region, the economic region or the administrative region of Montreal.

Among all population movements into and out of the region, only international migrations show a net increase. At the same time, the birth rate is up slightly. And while average family incomes are rising, this is not benefiting the majority of the population because median family incomes are declining.


  • The population of the metropolitan census area in 2006 stood at 3,666,280 inhabitants, an increase of 4.5% over five years, and equal to 47.9% of the population of the province of Quebec. The municipalities of Montreal (51.1%), Longueuil (10.6%) and Laval (10.3%) accounted for 72% of the total. From its 45th position among the world's most populous metropolitan areas in 1975, Montreal had moved to 75th in 2005 and is expected to rank 91st in 2015. 1,2
  • The island’s population relative to the provincial total has been declining slightly but steadily in recent decades, from 30% in 1976 to 27.1% in 1986, 24.8% in 1996, and 24.5% in 2006. However, it is expected to rise to 26.3% in 2026. 1,3
  • After experiencing declines since 1991, the annual number of births and the birth rate in the region both recorded slight increases between 2003 and 2005, and grew even faster in 2006. With 5,000 fewer births than in 1991, however, the 2006 birth rate (11.4 per 1000) remained lower than it was 15 years earlier (14.2 per 1000). 4
  • The island’s birth rate in 2005 (11 per 1000) was slightly above the average for Quebec (10 per 1000). As well, the average age of mothers (30.7 years) was the highest in Quebec (average of 29.3 years). On the other hand, the island’s fertility rate (1.43 children per woman) was lower than the provincial average (1.51 children per woman) and lower than the generational replacement rate of 2.1 children. 3
  • In 2005-06, Greater Montreal received 35,058 immigrants from abroad, 12,661 persons originating from other provinces and 40,037 individuals from other regions of Quebec. Only international migrations showed a net positive balance. Overall, the net population increase associated with these movements stood at 13,691 – 3,409 less than the previous year. Although the island welcomed 86.7% of those immigrants who settled in Greater Montreal, the net result of these movements for the island was negative (8,004 individuals). 5
  • In 2006, the median age in the region was 38.9 years: 37.7 years for men and 40.1 years for women. Among both men and women, 43-year-olds formed the largest group. The average age in Greater Montreal was 39.1 years (37.8 years for men, 40.3 years for women). 6
  • Between 1996 and 2006, the aging of the population was greatest in Longueuil, in part due to a catching-up process. The median age and the average age rose by 3.8 years and 2.8 years, respectively, more than they did in the city of Montreal. 7
  • In 2006, 13.4% of the region’s population was 65 years and older, an increase of 1.4 percentage points relative to 1996; 29.4% of the population was 25 years old and under, a decline of 2.3 points. The proportion of people aged 75 years and over grew from 4.8% to 6.3% – 4.7% for men and 7.8% for women. 7
  • As in Toronto, Aboriginals represent less than 0.5% of the population of Greater Montreal. This is proportionately four times less than in Vancouver (1.9%), where the number of Native Canadians is nonetheless lower than in Edmonton and especially Winnipeg. 8
  • In 2001, the 25-and-under age group accounted for a greater share of Greater Montreal’s Aboriginal population (36.4%) than of its non-Aboriginal population (31.4%). At 38%, the number of Aboriginal children living in single-parent families was almost twice as high as that of non-Aboriginal children (20%). The gap was greater in Vancouver: 43% vs. 16%. 8


  • GDP per capita has been growing at an average annual rate of about 4.0% since 2000. In 2006, it was $39,207 across the region and $51,453 on the island. 9
  • In 2005, the median family income in the region stood at $44,300 while the average family income was $57,300. Both figures were equivalent to 91% of the Canadian averages. However, while average income had risen 5% since 1980, median income had declined by 12% over the same period. 10
  • Personal disposable income per capita rose modestly (0.1%) across the island in 2005. When the change in consumer prices is taken into account, however, residents experienced a 1.8% decline in income relative to the 2004 level. 11
  • Investment income per capita in Greater Montreal stood at $4,323 in 2005, accounting for 13% of before-tax personal income. In the city of Montreal, investment earnings made up 15.5% of pre-tax income, while in both Longueuil and Laval the proportion was 11.9%. 9
  • Montreal and its surrounding region lagged other cities in the area of business creation. At 5.5%, the region’s rate of entrepreneurial development reflected less vitality than in Calgary (15.4%), Toronto (9.2%), Vancouver (7%) and Quebec City (6.5%). 12
  • In the second quarter of 2007, 81% of the 1,903,000 jobs in Greater Montreal were in the service sector, an increase of 1.6 percentage points over the previous year. While service sector employment grew by 5%, losses were recorded in the primary sector (32%) and the secondary sector (6%). 13
  • The island’s four most important manufacturing industries in terms of the value of exports are machinery, primary metal processing, computer and electronic products, and transportation equipment. Exports of transportation equipment experienced a significant drop of 26.8% between 2003 and 2004. Overall, the value of exported goods declined four years in a row between 2000 and 2004, at an average annual rate of 8%, compared with a decline of 2.1% for Quebec as a whole. 11
  • The Port of Montreal, which celebrated its 175th anniversary in 2005, sustains some 18,000 direct and indirect jobs. In 2006, the port handled 25.1 million tonnes of goods, overtaking the record set in 1980. Ten of the world’s 15 largest companies specialized in container shipping have facilities in Montreal. 12,14
  • A total of 40,600 cruise ship passengers called at the Port of Montreal in 2006, the second largest number since 1992. They travelled aboard 47 vessels, two more than in 2005. 14
  • With some 10 million air passengers transiting through Montreal each year, the city’s airport ranks third in Canada and among the world’s 100 busiest. 12
  • Over 11.4 million passengers used Montreal’s airport in 2006 – 4.7% more than the previous year. Among them were 3.7 people using international flights, where growth relative to 2005 was greatest, at 6.5%. The domestic market was also very active, with 4.7 million passengers in 2006, an increase of 4.6% over 2005. Growth in transborder air passenger traffic was more modest: 3.1 million people flew between Montreal the United States in 2006, an increase of 2.8% over the previous year. 14
  • The number of tourists visiting the island was estimated at 7.6 million in 2006, an increase of 2.3% over the previous year. Their spending, estimated at close to $2.6 billion, helped to sustain nearly 75,000 jobs. 14
  • The city of Montreal is home to 60 international organizations as well as 85 consulates and foreign missions. 12
  • In 2005, 17% of Canadian scientific publications originated from the city of Montreal. The proportion of publications co-written with a foreign author was 45.4%, compared with 30.2% in 1993. 11, 14
  • Montreal was the beneficiary 23% of all Canadian university research funding in 2004. By comparison, Toronto received close to 14% of all such funding, while Vancouver received 8%. 14
  • In 2004, Montreal ranked first in Canada in the field of innovation, with 834 patents being granted to residents of the region. Residents of the island were granted 741 patents, double the number in 1995 and an increase of 1.3% relative to 2003. 14
  • Montreal’s aerospace industry, with close to 40,000 jobs in 2003, ranked third in North America. 12
  • About 110,000 Montrealers work in the information and communications technology sector, including 7,500 people who specialize in research and development. In addition to 2,600 private companies, there are 90 research institutes employing more than 4,000 academic researchers. 12
  • In 2003, Montreal ranked eighth in the North American biopharmaceutical industry. Strong growth was recorded the following year in the region’s life sciences sector as a whole, which included 661 companies and research institutes employing 37,250 people. 12

1 Données démographiques régionales, Institut de la Statistique du Québec
(consulted on July 31, 2007)
2 Perspective Grand Montréal, Bulletin de la Communauté métropolitaine de Montréal, Vol. 1, No. 1, July 2007
(consulted on July 31, 2007)
3 Bulletin statistique régional. Montréal, Vol. 4, No. 1, Institut de la statistique du Québec, May 2007
(consulted on July 31, 2007)
4 Naissances, décès et mariages par région métropolitaine de recensement, Québec, 1991-2006, Institut de la Statistique du Québec
Taux de natalité, de mortalité et de nuptialité par région métropolitaine de recensement, Québec, 1991-2006, Institut de la Statistique du Québec
(consulted on July 31, 2007)
5 Migrations et population immigrante, Institut de la statistique du Québec
(consulted on July 31, 2007)
6 Data provided by Linda Pouliot of the Institut de la statistique du Québec
7 Données démographiques régionales, Institut de la Statistique du Québec
(consulted on July 31, 2007)
8 Andrew J. Siggner and Rosalinda Costa, Aboriginal Conditions in Census Metropolitan Areas, 1981-2001, Trends and Conditions in Census Metropolitan Areas, Statistics Canada, June 2005
Andrew Heisz, Canada’s Global Cities: Socio-economic Conditions in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver, Trends and Conditions in Census Metropolitan Areas, Statistics Canada, July 2006
(consulted on July 31, 2007)
9 Banque de données des statistiques officielles sur le Québec, Institut de la statistique du Québec
(consulted on July 31, 2007)
10 Income Trends in Canada 1980-2005, Table 202-0605 titled “Median after-tax income, by economic family type, 2005 constant dollars, Canada, provinces and select CMAs,” based on SLID, accessed through CD-ROM, Statistics Canada
Table XI-5-c-i
Table XI-6-c-i
(consulted on August 21, 2007)
11 Bulletin statistique régional. Montréal, Vol. 4, No. 1, Institut de la statistique du Québec, May 2007
(consulted on July 31, 2007)
12 Réussir@Montréal: Stratégie de développement économique 2005-2010 de la Ville de Montréal, Service de la mise en valeur du territoire et du patrimoine, June 2005
(consulted on July 31, 2007)
13 Labour Force Survey, Statistics Canada; data provided to Marcel Côté of SECOR Consulting, and by Maxime Trottier of the Montreal Metropolitan Community
14 Chantal Langelier, Bilan économique de l’agglomération de Montréal 2006, Service de la mise en valeur du territoire et du patrimoine, Ville de Montréal, 2007
(consulted on July 31, 2007)