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Population of Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo increased by 50,000 over past 5 years: StatCan

The clock from Market Square Shopping Centre can be seen as the snow falls on King Street in Kitchener. Kevin Nielsen / Global News File

The combined population of Kitchener, Cambridge and Waterloo is estimated to have grown by 50,000 people over the past five years, according to a report released by Statistics Canada on Thursday.

It estimated the population of the tri-cities to be at 593,882 last July, more than 50,000 above the total of 542,034 it estimated for 2016.

Read more: What Canada’s population will look like in 2036

The three cities grew at a rate of two per cent over that period, which tied them with Halifax for second-fastest in Canada.

Oshawa was atop that list and like Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo, the CMA figures some of that growth has come from Toronto, where 50,000 people left between July 2019 and July 2020.

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“The desire to live outside the largest urban centres was also reflected in the rapidly increasing housing costs in neighbouring real estate markets, a trend that has continued in spite of the pandemic,” the report read.

Read more: World population to peak in 2064, new projections suggest

“Personal health, the ability to work remotely, and higher housing costs are among the most important factors contributing to the decision of many Canadians to continue (or to no longer continue) living in large urban centres hardest hit by the pandemic.

“Whatever the exact reasons, urban sprawl is an important trend to monitor.”