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In-migration to Alberta from neighbouring provinces

In-migration to Alberta from neighbouring provinces

Posted on: 4/2/2018 | Author: ATB Financial's Economics + Research Team


Siblings are often famous for their rivalries--and for Alberta, there’s been no shortage of rivalries with our sister provinces to the west and east. In spite of the occasional spats between them, Alberta has shared a healthy flow of migration with both British Columbia and Saskatchewan. And as Alberta’s economy gradually rebounds from the recession, those migration flows are again turning positive.

The graph below shows four decades of net migration from our neighbouring provinces to Alberta. Values above zero indicate a net in-flow to Alberta.

The yellow line shows migration from Saskatchewan to Alberta. With the exceptions of a few years in the early 1980s, and again around 2007, there has been a steady flow of migration away from Saskatchewan towards Alberta. This was even the case throughout the entire recession of 2015-16 when the economies of both provinces were contracting. Over the last four years, Alberta gained a net 9,300 from Saskatchewan.

Migration flows with our other neighbouring province, however, has been different. British Columbia was the clear winner in the late 1980s and early 1990s, but many returned to Alberta in the early 2000s.

During the recession of 2015-16, British Columbia ​was once again the winner. With the strongest economy and lowest unemployment rate in Canada, B.C. drew thousands of job seekers from Alberta. But by the second half of 2017--with B.C.’s economy slowing and Alberta’s picking up--the flow of migrants between the two provinces has returned to balance.​

Interprovincial migration, graph​​​

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