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Alberta's relatively young population helps it grow

Alberta's relatively young population helps it grow

Posted on: 10/13/2017 | Author: ATB Financial's Economics + Research Team

Alberta is a unique place within Canada for many reasons. One of these is the relatively large contribution to population growth generated by natural increase (births less deaths). Alberta was home to 11.7 per cent of Canadians last year but accounted for 27.3 per cent of the country’s natural increase.

Alberta’s strong natural increase numbers are the result of its relatively young population rather than something in the water. At 12.0 per cent, Alberta has the lowest proportion of seniors among the provinces (the national average is 16.5 per cent). Alberta also has the lowest median age among the provinces -- 36.4 years compared to 40.6 for the country as a whole. And we have a somewhat larger proportion of women in what Statistics Canada calls their “prime reproductive years” of 25 to 34 (16.6 per cent of women in Alberta are in this category compared to 13.8 per cent nationally).

These demographic factors lead to proportionately fewer deaths and proportionately more births in Alberta than in the country as a whole with the end result being the highest level of natural increase among the provinces. Natural increase in Alberta was 752 per 100,000 in 2016 compared to 322 per 100,000 at the national level. In Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick there were actually more deaths than births resulting in a natural decrease in population rather than an increase.

Along with the strong international migration into Alberta discussed in yesterday’s Owl, natural increase has kept Alberta’s population growing even while we have been losing people interprovincially due to the economic downturn.

Natural population increase, graph

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