GDP growth rates—when not adjusted for population—give a misleading picture of the Canadian economy

Fraser Company

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, April 11, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — If journalists and politicians want to more accurately assess Canada's economic performance relative to other countries, they should stop using GDP growth figures that do not account for demographic changes. That's according to a new study released today by the Fraser Institute, an independent, nonpartisan Canadian public policy think tank.

“Canadian governments of all stripes have for years measured Canada's economic growth using the growth rate of gross domestic product. „But because of the massive increase in Canada's population in recent years, not adjusting GDP growth for population changes gives a false picture of the country's economic performance,” said Ben Eisen, senior fellow and co-author at the Fraser Institute. GDP growth not adjusted for population change—a false measure of Canada's economic progress.

Politicians often use growth in GDP (the value of all goods and services produced in a given period) to compare Canada's economic performance with other countries. But because of large differences in population growth among developed countries and Canada's recent immigration-driven population growth, it is now more useful to use GDP per person (a common indicator of living standards) to measure economic performance.

For example, between 2020 and 2023, Canada had the second-highest rate of overall GDP growth in the G7. However, after adjusting for population growth, Canada's per capita GDP growth rate over the same period remains below the group and below the G7 average.

And since 2015, growth in GDP per person has been virtually stagnant at an average of 0.3 percent per year.

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„When assessing Canada's economy, it is critical to accurately measure economic performance and quality of life so Canadians are not misled,” Eisen said.

Media communication:
Ben Eisen, Senior Fellow, Fraser Institute

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The Fraser Institute is an independent Canadian public policy research and education institution with offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Montreal and Halifax. Its mission is to improve the quality of life of Canadians, their families and future generations by studying, measuring and broadly communicating the effects of government policies, entrepreneurship and choices on their well-being. To protect the institute's independence, it does not accept grants or contracts for research from governments. arrival www.fraserinstitute.org

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