OTTAWA -- New census data shows the population of the metropolitan area of Barrie outpaced the national growth rate over the last five years.

Statistics Canada released the first batch of numbers from the 2016 census on Wednesday and the population of what the government agency refers to as the census metropolitan area of Barrie increased by 5.4 per cent since the last census in 2011.

The area's growth rate was above the national growth rate of 5.0 per cent, while the population of Ontario increased by 4.6 per cent.

Census metropolitan areas do not conform to established municipal boundaries. Statistics Canada defines them as a metropolitan area with a population of at least 100,000, where the urban core of that area has at least 50,000 people. Commuting patterns and other factors are used in determining these census metropolitan areas. Looking at metropolitan areas this way takes in to account the growing impact of suburban areas on Canada's largest cities.

When the 2016 census was taken last May 10, the population of the census metropolitan area of Barrie was 197,059, compared with 187,013 from the 2011 census. The population of the actual city of Barrie was 141,434, up from from 136,063 in 2011.

The census indicated that Barrie ranked No. 21 among the country's 35 census metropolitan areas.

Orillia fell below the national growth rate over the last five years. The population of Orillia increased by 1.9 per cent since the last census in 2011.

The city's growth rate was below the national growth rate of 5.0 per cent, while the population of Ontario increased by 4.6 per cent.

When the 2016 census was taken last May, the population of Orillia was 31,166, compared with 30,586 from the 2011 census.

Canada's population on census day was 35,151,728, Statistics Canada reported.

The national census is conducted every five years. The information published Wednesday is the first of several releases of data to come from Statistics Canada over the next year that will eventually paint a detailed picture of the country, right down to the local level - including age breakdowns of the population, family makeup, languages spoken, immigration and ethnic origin, the level of education attained and income earned.

Future census releases will give more insight to explain the reasons behind the population changes - whether it's related mostly to changes in birth and death rates, immigration or interprovincial migration.

At the provincial level, population levels in Alberta saw the highest increase at 11.6 per cent, followed by Saskatchewan (6.3 per cent) and Manitoba (5.8 per cent).

Growth in New Brunswick shrank by 0.5 per cent - the first time since 2006 a province has reported a negative growth rate.

British Columbia's population levels increased by 5.6 per cent, compared with Ontario (4.6 per cent), Quebec (3.3 per cent), Prince Edward Island (1.9 per cent), Newfoundland and Labrador (1.0 per cent) and Nova Scotia (0.2 per cent). Among the northern territories, the population grew by 0.8 per cent in the Northwest Territories, 12.7 per cent in Nunavut and 5.8 per cent in Yukon.

Ontario is still the country's most populous province, with a population of 13,448,494. The population of other provinces and territories: Quebec, 8,164,361; British Columbia, 4,648,055; Alberta, 4,067,175; Manitoba, 1,278,365; Saskatchewan, 1,098,352; Nova Scotia, 923,598; New Brunswick, 747,101; Newfoundland and Labrador, 519,716; Prince Edward Island, 142,907; Northwest Territories, 41,786; Nunavut, 35,944 and Yukon, 35,874.

Here is a local breakdown of census population information for communities in the Barrie region:

Community        2016      2011      %  change
Metropolitan  Barrie        197,059      187,013      5.4
City  of  Barrie        141,434      136,063      3.9
Orillia        31,166      30,586      1.9
Penetanguishene        8,962      9,111      -1.6
Midland        16,864      16,572      1.8
Bradford  West  Gwillimbury        35,325      28,077      25.8
Innisfil        36,566      32,727      11.7
New  Tecumseth        34,242      30,234      13.3
Wasaga  Beach        20,675      17,537      17.9
Collingwood        21,793      19,241      13.3
Essa        21,083      18,505      13.9
Oro-Medonte        21,036      20,078      4.8  11:44