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Economy

Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo sees nearly 11 per cent population drop since 2015

Construction crews work to rebuild homes in the Abasand area of Fort McMurray. May 2018.
Construction crews work to rebuild homes in the Abasand area of Fort McMurray. May 2018. Fletcher Kent/Global News

The first census conducted in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo since the 2016 Fort McMurray wildfire shows a nearly 11 per cent drop in the population.

The results of the region’s 2018 census — conducted between April 9 and July 31, 2018 — were released on Tuesday and showed a 10.67 per cent decrease in population since 2015.

READ MORE: Mayor doesn’t foresee big population shift after Fort McMurray wildfire

In 2018, the northern Alberta region recorded an overall population of 111,687, dropping from 125,032 people in 2015.

“As the wildfire had significant impacts on the region’s population and housing, the primary goal of Census 2018 was to obtain an accurate and reliable count of the region’s permanent population, shadow population and housing stock,” the RMWB said in a media release Tuesday.

The census also delved into the municipality’s shadow population, which refers to anyone who has a permanent home elsewhere, but works in a commercial or industrial job in the region at least 30 days a year. These people often live in work camps, hotels and motels, campgrounds, rented rooms or suites in a private residence. Homeless people are also included in the shadow population.

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READ MORE: Fort McMurray wildfire: boreal forest slowly bouncing back

The RMWB’s shadow population in 2018 was 36,678, dropping 14.9 per cent from 2015 when the shadow population was 43,084.

The devastating wildfire — called the Horse River Wildfire — tore through the region in May 2016.

The municipality said a comprehensive report on the 2018 census would be released later this year.

Watch below: In May 2018, Fletcher Kent filed this report two years after a huge wildfire tore through Fort McMurray. Some say rebuilds of their homes have either stalled or not even begun.

Fort McMurray residents experience frustration with rebuild 2 years after massive wildfire
Fort McMurray residents experience frustration with rebuild 2 years after massive wildfire
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