May 23, 2024

Weekly EconMinute—Population Growth in Alberta

In this week’s EconMinute, we’re talking about the population growth in Alberta.

Alberta has welcomed a substantial number of individuals both internationally and from across Canada over the past year. But we didn’t know where in the province those people were settling—until now. This information, just released yesterday from Statistics Canada, is essential to better understand how Alberta’s cities and towns are evolving and how needs are changing.

In this week's EconMinute, we explore population growth in Alberta and across other cities in Canada.

Here’s what we found:

  • Calgary experienced the most significant population growth among large Canadian cities, with a 6% increase in population in 2023—amounting to nearly 100,000 more people in the city (up from a 3% increase in 2022).
  • This growth represents a huge turnaround from previous trends. From 2015 to 2019, Calgary typically saw population growth of around 1.6% per year, in line with other large cities.
  • Additionally, there was a surge in population growth across many small to mid-sized cities in Alberta.
  • Notably, Lethbridge and Red Deer both experienced a substantial population increase of around 3.4%, compared to their historical average of 1.6% and 0.5%, respectively.
  • Lacombe and Wetaskiwin were the only two towns reported that did not see population growth.

Alberta’s recent population boom is remarkable both in terms of its size as well as where people are locating. Previously, population growth was typically concentrated in Calgary and Edmonton, but Alberta is now attracting more people to almost every region of the province. Nonetheless, Calgary remains the clear leader, responsible for around half of the province’s growth since 2022.

Given this unprecedented population growth across the province, it will be critical to ensure that essential infrastructure such as housing keeps pace with growing need, especially in those areas seeing the highest growth like Calgary, Edmonton, Camrose, and Canmore. This is imperative so that Alberta is a place of opportunity not just today but for years and decades to come.

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