Populations of Calgary and Edmonton soared in 2023

Click to play video: 'Is Alberta ready for population growth?'
Is Alberta ready for population growth?
The provincial government’s been selling the 'Alberta Advantage' for years with promises of higher wages and lower taxes. Now, housing starts are trending up and so is the number of people migrating to the province. But questions are being asked about what the newest Albertans might find if the province keeps growing at a rapid rate. Jasmine King reports – Feb 11, 2024

The populations of Calgary and Edmonton continue to soar.

In its year-end report on Canada’s population, Statistics Canada said 1,682,509 people called Calgary home.

That’s a six per cent increase, or 95,784 more residents, than at the end of 2022.

The city of Edmonton saw its population increase to 1,563, 571 people, an increase of 4.2 per cent or 63,215 people over the previous year.

Calgary’s percentage population increase was third highest in Canada, behind only Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo in Ontario and Moncton, N.B., among Canada’s largest metropolitan areas.

Other Alberta municipalities experienced similar population growth rates between 2022 and 2023, including:

  • Lethbridge: 130,741 to 135,230
  • Red Deer: 105,654 to 109,262
  • Medicine Hat: 79,073 to 80,331
  • Grand Prairie: 66,056 to 67,606
  • Wood Buffalo: 76,734 to 78,737
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At the end of 2023, the population of Canada was 40,769,890, almost 1.3 million, or 3.2 per cent more than the previous year, and the highest increase in Canada’s population since 1957.

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In its year-end report, the federal agency credits permanent and temporary immigration for the country’s soaring population, including 471,771 permanent residents and 804,901 non-permanent residents.

“Since the end of 2020, demographic trends in Canada have shifted significantly,” says StatsCan, with the fertility rate at a record low of 1.33 children in 2022.

The population of Alberta has also been affected by soaring interprovincial migration that has reached a level not seen in 30 years, with the province experiencing the largest net gain in interprovincial migration, adding more 55,107 people from other provinces.

By contrast, British Columbia lost 8,624 people through immigration to other provinces, mostly Alberta.

The rapid population growth is also a growing challenge for municipal budgets in Alberta.

“People don’t come here with their fire trucks and police cars and firefighters and police officers, nor do they come with their pipes and wastewater treatment facilities,” says Calgary city councillor Andre Chabot.

He says managing the city’s growth, especially the needed infrastructure, is probably the city’s biggest challenge.

“It’s going to affect our bottom line. We have so many capital projects on the go right now to meet the needs of those new citizens, it will be very difficult from a financial perspective.”

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Click to play video: 'Alberta aims to poach skilled workers from B.C.'
Alberta aims to poach skilled workers from B.C.

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