Post War Years
Baby Boom, Suburbs and New Immigration

Questions to ask yourself:

How did demographic changes affect Canadian society?

What you will be able to do:

Explain the causes and consequences of the Baby Boom.

Describe the changes on the urban landscape.

Explain the impact of "New Arrivals."

"During the 1950s, [Canadian cities] experienced an economic boom, rapid growth, a dramatic rise in the school population, an increase in ethnic and cultural diversity, and the threat of annihilation in a global nuclear war. The children who entered school during this decade were part of an enormous post war ‘baby boom’. [...]

The economic prosperity of this time coupled with the increasing availability of new homes, automobiles, and new products such as electrical home appliances and television produced a consumer society strongly influenced by American values and culture."

Source: VSB Archives and Heritage: Chapter 5 - The Fifties

Post Depression and Postwar

The baby booms of the 1940s to the 1960s were at first due to the delayed births of the children whose parents had put off having them during the Depression. Additionally, a higher proportion of adults married and had more children. Furthermore, the "timing phenomena" of more adults marrying at a younger age and having children earlier on in their married life accounted for more than half of the baby boom births.

After the Second World War, the return of soldiers to their homeland and the economic prosperity of North America also encouraged couples to marry and start families. The excitement of married life led to an increase in natural increase, that is, more and more births than deaths.

In Canada, however, the increase in natural births is mainly due to better economic times in the mid to late 1950s,. And one shouldn't forget that is is also in part due to a decrease in infant mortality and an increase in life expectancy. i.e. The decline in infectious diseases, improved medical practices and the democratization of access to health care are contributing to the consolidation of these demographic trends.

Text sources: Paul Rombough from sources in Main Document Collection here. Also direct translations from RECITUS at HISTOIRE DU QUÉBEC ET DU CANADA: QUEBEC'S POPULATION 2. L’ÉVOLUTION DÉMOGRAPHIQUE DU QUÉBEC

War Bride and child - arrive Bonaventure Station - 4 March 1946 Source: Library and Archives Canada

Image source: Famille Conrad Legault, 1963, BANQ Under licence: (CC BY-ND)

Quebec Situation

The generation of children born during the baby boom contributed to the rejuvenation of the Quebec population, thus bringing about and accelerating an evolution of lifestyle habits and new ways of thinking within this population. Overall, the baby boom generation could be seen as a a sort of demographic catch-up from the previous period, which had been disrupted by two world military conflicts and a major economic crisis.


The birth rate among the Indigenous populations

Until the end of the 1960s, a very high birth rate characterized the demographic profile of the indigenous populations. In fact, the birth rate oscillates between 40 and 50 births per 1,000 people within this population, whereas it oscillates around 30 births per 1,000 people within the Canadian population.

This very high birth rate stimulated the growth of the indigenous population, which slowed the decline of this population and thus reversed a demographic trend that had originated in the colonial period. Despite this change, high infant mortality continued to affect the indigenous population between 1945 and 1980.


Source: J. Armand Tremblay, Jos Dubé and his family of fourteen children. Manouane Indian Reserve (1947 Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec, E6,S7,SS1,P92432. Licence: (BY-NC-ND).

The Re-establishment of soldiers and government social programs

The Canadian government introduced programs in 1945 to support the one million veterans returning to civilian life, including cash payments, retraining programs and loans. Universities were opened to veterans and preferential hiring was given to them. The 'Baby Bonus' was also introduced, which gave families a sliding scale allowance for each child. These efforts were supported by the Canadian public who wanted reforms after the war. The programs changed the relationship between citizens and the state, creating an expectation of care.

Source: Summary of sections of Tim Cook. “After Victory: The Legacy of the Necessary War.” Canada’s History. 2020 Available: After Victory: The Legacy of the Necessary War

Note: This Student Page is under Construction

While we work on this page, our curations of relevant documents and texts are available here.

1945-1980 - Post War Years -- Baby Boom, Suburbs and...

Related pages and a student task

You may find documents about Post-War life in Canada and Québec on our student page on
"Consumer Society: American Culture, New Generation, Ads!"

You can also browse this student task on mass consumption after WW2.

RECITUS2022 - Consumer society after WW2