February 13, 2019 2:51 pm
Updated: February 14, 2019 7:09 pm

Alberta’s baby boom is over: Fertility rates down 4%

Is Alberta's 2015 baby boom now over?

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The most-recent fertility rate data shows Albertans are having fewer babies.

In 2017, less than 54,000 babies were born in the province — a four per cent decline from the previous year.

READ MORE: Liam reclaims top spot for most popular boy’s name in Alberta in 2018

According to ATB’s The Owl publication, the number of babies born in Alberta peaked in 2015. That year, the province welcomed nearly 57,000 babies.

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The Owl points to “slower economic growth, job uncertainty and suppressed wages over the last couple of years” to possible reasons the fertility rate is down.

READ MORE: Edmonton economist warns of baby boom: ‘Be prepared’

“Despite the economic backdrop, Alberta’s relatively young population still gives the province a higher fertility rate than others,” the report said.

“This is good news for Alberta’s retailers and housing.”

READ MORE: Census 2016 shows 4 Edmonton ‘burbs are booming

Prior to 2015, the number of babies born grew consistently year-over-year starting in 2005.

Number of live births in Alberta, The OWL, ATB, Source: Stats Canada

The OWL, ATB

“The important news is that Alberta is still ahead of other provinces, both in terms of the birth rate and in actual economic growth for 2017-18,” said Lori Williams, associate professor of policy studies at Mount Royal University.

“Though we dipped toward the end of 2018, this would not be reflected in lower birth rates yet.”

Williams said that while economic prospects were arguably worse in 2015-16, perceptions were less negative.

“Despite overall economic figures, there is a cloud of pessimism and/or anxiety about the economy, closely connected to pipeline prospects,” she said, adding those emotions can be more concentrated in places more directly linked to oil and gas.

“It’s hard to draw a direct line from such intangibles to the birth rate, but I don’t doubt that it has had some impact, particularly if enough Albertans have moved out-of-province for work,” Williams said.

WATCH BELOW (Nov. 22. 2017): Edmonton’s city’s chief economist says the capital region is in the midst of a minor baby boom. John Rose says all levels of government need to be prepared or it could have a big impact on the workforce. Kent Morrison reports.

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