972,223 and counting: Edmonton growing faster than Calgary, rest of province

Edmonton’s population is growing much faster than the rest of the province and the country, the latest census figures show.

The city’s official population reached 972,223 in April, census numbers released Thursday show.

The population increased by 72,776 people since the previous census in 2016 and reflects an average annual growth rate of 2.6 per cent, the city said in a news release.

The census, taken April 1, shows Edmonton’s population is young by Canadian standards with more than half of the population under 39.

“This is a positive sign for Edmonton — one that speaks highly and truly to the vibrancy of our city,” said Mayor Don Iveson on Thursday afternoon. 

“It also bodes very well to Edmonton’s ability to attract and attain new investment, as businesses value locations and communities with … young, engaged and educated labour forces, and that’s what we have here,” he said. 

Edmonton is on track for a population of more than one million people by the end of 2020 and more than two million within 30 years if current growth rates persist, the city said.

John Rose, the city’s chief economist, said the key drivers of growth are international migration, intra-provincial migration and inter-provincial migration. 

“Edmonton continues to be a very attractive place, not only to international migrants, but to other people in Canada and I expect that’s going to continue,” he said. 

“While we have been challenged by difficult economic conditions as a result of the downturn in energy prices, we continue to move forward,” Rose said. 

The city’s growth rate for 2019 is predicted to be 2.1 per cent, higher than Alberta at 1.9 per cent and Canada at 1.3 per cent.

Calgary’s 2019 census put that city at 1,285,711 people, an increase of 1.4 per cent over 2018.

The official census population captures only those residents who completed the census questionnaire, but using a mathematical formula similar to the one used by Statistics Canada for the federal census, the city put the unofficial population count at 992,812.

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