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People walk along a street in Montreal, on March 14, 2021.

Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press

Quebec’s statistics institute says the COVID-19 pandemic dramatically slowed population growth in 2020 and led to a spike in the number of annual deaths.

Institut de la statistique du Quebec published a report today stating the province’s population on Jan. 1, 2021, was 8,576,000 – about 19,300 higher than the previous year.

But that growth was far smaller than what was reported in 2019, when Quebec’s population grew by 110,000 people compared with 2018.

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The institute says the slowdown is linked to the pandemic, which has led to a major drop in international migration to Quebec as well as an increase in annual deaths.

Total immigration to the province in 2020 was 25,000 people, compared to the 46,000 newcomers who moved to Quebec in 2019.

Quebec reported 74,550 deaths in 2020, up 10 per cent from 2019. The province usually reports an annual rise in deaths of about 2 per cent per year, due primarily to an aging population.

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