Numbers suggest people prefer city life in Saskatchewan: Statistics Canada

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WATCH: Statistics suggest people are choosing larger urban centres such as Saskatoon or Regina over rural areas – Apr 3, 2021

Are people moving to big cities such as Saskatoon and Regina rather than rural areas?

Experts say more people are moving into bigger urban centres in the province such as the census metropolitan area (CMA) for Saskatoon and Regina over small rural communities.

Saskatoon’s CMA includes places such as Martensville, Warman, Osler, etc.

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Saskatoon and Region Home Builders’ Association CEO Chris Guérette said due to the fact Saskatchewan has the youngest population in Canada and the highest proportion of millennials, many are buying a home and taking advantage of PST rebates and low interest rates, policies that encourage homeownership.

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“Millennials that are trying to get into the market or they are already in the market where they are trying to scale up or scale down,” said Guérette. “This generation is moving around a lot.”

A graph showing the average in Saskatchewan vs Canada from the last StatsCan census report in 2016. Courtesy: Statistics Canada

Saskatchewan Realtor Association economic analyst Chris Gbekorbu said while the population has dropped across the province, the two big cities have seen a steady increase even with the COVID-19 pandemic.

“You’ve got more options,” Gbekorbu said. “That’s a big factor in drawing people into moving (to Saskatoon or Regina.) While we are seeing an increase in the population, that increase is happening in the big cities.”

A graph showing Saskatchewan's total population. Courtesy: Government of Saskatchewan

Saskatchewan’s total population was on a decline through 2020 until October, when it made a slight rebound as 1,050 people moved to the province. Experts think that the majority of those people are likely from other parts of Canada as international migration has fallen significantly.

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Trevor Glacken and his family recently moved out to Martensville from Saskatoon, after living in Stonebridge for a decade. He says they wanted to move to a bigger house they could afford and have tons of space for their two young children to ride their bikes and play outside.

“It’s slower-paced and more relaxed living,” said Glacken. “We liked the neighborhood and we really like the house. It’s like being in the big city, but it’s small-town living.”

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Glacken says their commute to work is basically the same as when they lived in Saskatoon.

According to Statistics Canada, the populations in Saskatoon and Regina have been climbing since the start of the pandemic and even before that. Those same stats indicate the population in the rest of the province has stalled or in some cases dropped.

A graph showing Saskatchewan’s working population (those 15 years of age and older.). Courtesy: StatsCan

Both Guérette and Gbekorbu agree that because of COVID-19 the way people are living has drastically changed with more people working from home. People also want to be closer to all the amenities that a big city has to offer.

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“How people were living two years ago is changing,” Guérette adds. “It means some significant changes to your family in the way you are living.”

“I think the stats and the research shows, people will drive where they can afford a home or more of a home.”

Guérette told Global News the CMA numbers for both cities have been steadily increasing over the past ten years.

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