February 10, 2016 11:19 am
Updated: February 11, 2016 6:21 am

Saskatoon’s population youngest in Canada

WATCH ABOVE: New population numbers are out and according to Statistics Canada Saskatoon remains one of the youngest cities in the country. Ryan Kessler finds out what drives our average age down while our population goes up.

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Saskatoon continues to be the youngest city in Canada. A new report out Wednesday from Statistics Canada says the median age for the Saskatoon CMA on July 1, 2015 was 34.8 years.

That’s almost six years younger than the median age for Canada, 40.5 years.

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Saskatoon was only one of only two cities to see its median age drop between 2005 and 2015, the other being Regina. In 2005, the median age for Saskatoon was 34.9 while Regina’s median age was 36.5. In 2015, Regina’s dropped to 36.2, the third lowest in Canada. Edmonton, at 36.0, had the second lowest median age in the country.

The report also found that Saskatoon had the third smallest proportion of the population aged 65 or older at 11.9 per cent.

Overall, 70.5 per cent of the population was between the age of 15 and 64 while those 14 years and under made up 17.5 per cent of the population.*

Statistics Canada also found that Saskatoon was one of the fastest growing cities in the country.

The estimated population of Saskatoon on July 1, 2015 was 304,975, an increase of 2.0 per cent from the previous year. One of the main drivers of growth in Saskatoon was international migration, which accounted for just over 50 per cent of the population increase.

Many of those newcomers end up using immigration and refugee service centres like the Global Gathering Place in Saskatoon.

“Economic immigrants, they bring wealth as well. Refugees bring wealth in the future as they really start contributing to the economy,” said Lori Steward, community relations manager with the Global Gathering Place.

READ MORE: Saskatoon a ‘destination city’ in refugee plan

The only cities with a faster growth rate in that time period were Kelowna, Calgary and Edmonton. Regina’s growth rate was 1.9 per cent.

University of Saskatchewan professor Bob Patrick said the City of Saskatoon needs to be careful in how it accommodates a population increase. A large geographic footprint could lead to costly and less efficient city services, he said.

“If we spread ourselves out too thinly, we’re going to have transit chasing [people] around and not being very effective,” said Patrick, who is the acting chair of the university’s Regional and Urban Planning program.

Instead of continued urban sprawl, Patrick recommended a focus on densification in older neighbourhoods.

“I would focus more attention on how we grow, as opposed to the actual numbers of that growth.”

*Note – percentages may not add up to 100 per cent due to rounding

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