More than 1.28 million people now live in Manitoba, according to the 2016 census. And for the first time in almost three generations, Manitobans can say their province has grown faster than the national average.
The population grew by more than 70,000 since 2011, an increase of 5.8 per cent. The national average was five per cent.
Statistics Canada attributes Manitoba’s growth to international migration.
WATCH: Census 2016: Here are the biggest takeaways.
The finding comes as a surprise to Laurent Martel, Statistics Canada’s director of demography.
Martel says the province has substantially increased its immigration levels over the last five years, in much the same way as neighbour Saskatchewan did leading up to the 2011 population count.
Manitoba population breakdown
According to the census, most of the growth was in Winnipeg, Brandon, Steinbach and Winkler. These four cities accounted for 69.4 per cent of Manitoba’s total growth between 2011 and 2016.
Although most of the growth is in Winnipeg, many rural communities are also expanding quite rapidly. In Headingley, the population growth was 12 per cent, which was double Winnipeg’s growth.
Towns that saw population spike:
- Niverville: 30.2 per cent growth
- St. Anne: 30 per cent growth
- Neepawa: 27 per cent growth
- Snow Lake: 24.3 per cent growth
The Rural Municipality of Richot is one of the fastest growing municipalities in Canada with a growth rate of nearly 22 per cent.
A lot of the population growth is due to immigration and some people moving out of the city to settle in bedroom communities, according to the census.
Winnipeg population breakdown
There were 705,244 residents in the city of Winnipeg in May 2016. That’s an additional 41,627 people compared to 2011 census.
According to the census, areas in the city that saw more than 65 per cent increase in growth included: Amber Trails, West Kildonan, Sage Creek and Waverley West.
There was also a population spike in Winnipeg’s downtown area (near The Forks and MTS Centre), the Centennial neighbourhood and parts of the south Broadway area.
Areas that saw a population decrease included: parts of St. James near the airport, Southdale, Elmwood and River East.
With files from the Canadian Press