Population growth uneven across Alberta municipalities
The population of 194 municipalities decreased between 2016 and 2022
By Rob Roach, ATB Economics 30 January 2023 1 min read
As of July 1, 2022, Alberta’s population stood at 4,543,111. This was 347,050 more than in 2016 for an increase of 8.3%.
The overall growth, however, masks some key differences across Alberta’s municipalities.*
Out of the 414 Alberta municipalities for which there is up-to-date population information, 194 saw their populations decrease between 2016 and 2022. Most of the communities that contracted were small centres or rural areas.
About 71% of Albertans live in one of the province’s 16 cities, but these communities together accounted for 91% of the population growth between 2016 and 2022.
Among Alberta’s cities, Airdrie posted the strongest growth over this period in percentage terms at +25.3% (+16,219 residents) while Calgary added the most people in absolute terms at +134,818 (+10.5%).
The cities of Wetaskiwin and Brooks, meanwhile, saw their populations decrease by 4.9% and 1.8%, respectively.
Cochrane was the fastest growing town in the province, adding 7,858 residents between 2016 and 2022 (+29.2%).
The trend toward more growth in Alberta’s more urban areas is expected to continue.
According to the Alberta Office of Statistics and Information, Alberta’s population will become more concentrated in urban centres over time with 80% of Albertans living in the Calgary-Edmonton Corridor by 2046.
*Some of the changes in population size may be due to boundary changes as well as population change. Alberta is divided into 10 municipal categories: City, Improvement district, Indian reserve, Municipal district, Special area, Settlement, Specialized municipality, Summer village, Town, and Village. For more detailed information on the population of Alberta municipalities, visit the Alberta Office of Statistics and Information.
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