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Population growth unevenly spread across Alberta communities

Population growth unevenly spread across Alberta communities

Posted on: 4/11/2018 | Author: ATB Financial's Economics + Research Team

Population change is a key factor affecting Alberta’s economic growth.

Alberta's population grew by a respectable 4.3 per cent between 2014 and 2017. But our overall growth masks some big differences within the province.

Looking at Alberta communities with at least 1,000 people, population change between 2014 and 2017 ranges from a drop of 25.1 per cent in Northern Sunrise County to an increase of 30.1 per cent on the Tsuut’ina Nation reserve. Our two largest cities, Calgary and Edmonton, grew by 4.3 per cent and 6.2 per cent, respectively.

The hardest hit communities in terms of population loss are those that rely heavily on nearby oil and gas projects or, in the case of Grande Cache, coal mining. The fastest growing places tend to be either First Nations communities or smaller centres located near larger cities. Nobleford, for example, is a bedroom community near Lethbridge.

The 10 communities with the largest population declines in percentage terms lost a total of 7,632 people since 2014 whereas the 10 communities that posted the fastest growth increased by a total of 23,689.

The good news is that Alberta’s population continued to grow during the recent downturn. The bad news is that not every community experienced that growth with many smaller centres dependent on the energy sector seeing an outflow of residents.

​​Population change in Alberta​​​​

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