indicatorThe Owl

Population growth slows in Alberta

Annual rate of growth slowest since 1987

By Rob Roach, ATB Economics 1 October 2021 1 min read

Alberta’s population grew by 22,850 between July 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021 for an annual* increase of 0.5%. Population growth over the previous 12 months was notably stronger at 1.3% (+57,453).

One of the reasons for the slower growth was the net outflow of people to other parts of Canada examined in Wednesday’s Owl. Between July 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021, 11,831 more people moved from Alberta to another province or territory than vice versa for a net loss five times larger than the year before.

At the same time, the pandemic curbed the flow of international migrants such that the net inflow into Alberta from other countries fell by 55.4% from 36,264 in 2020 to 16,199 in 2021.

Natural increase (births less deaths) was also lower, falling from 23,566 in 2020 to 18,482 in 2021 (-21.6%).

When we add the growth from natural increase to the growth from international migration and subtract the outflow to other parts of Canada, we get the annual increase of 22,850 noted above. While still well above zero, this is much lower than during the last boom when growth topped 100,000 in both 2013 and 2014.

It is hard to say how quickly interprovincial migration will move back into positive territory, but vaccines should enable the flow of international migrants to improve and push population growth closer to its pre-pandemic level next year.

Nationally, “the pace of growth (estimated at +0.5%) was less than half the growth measured a year earlier (+1.2%) and the slowest population growth since 1915/1916 (+0.3%) during the First World War.” 

*Statistics Canada measures “annual” changes in population “as of July” rather than as of the end of the calendar year.

Answer to the previous trivia question: The Truth and Reconciliation Commission released its final report in 2015.

Today’s trivia question: In what year did Alberta’s population pass the one million mark?

Alberta’s population grew by 22,850 in 2021

Alberta’s population grew by 22,850 in 2021


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