Migration to Alberta speeds population growth

Mar 19, 2014

Alberta’s population is growing faster than that of any other province. According to Statistics Canada, Alberta’s total population was 4,082,571 at the beginning of this year—an annual increase of 3.4%. This includes interprovincial migration as well as international migration and natural population increase (i.e., births minus deaths). That is by far the fastest rate of growth among all provinces and close to three times the national growth rate of 1.2%.

Ranked in terms of fastest population growth rates, western provinces lead the way. Alberta is first, then Saskatchewan, Manitoba and British Columbia. The combined population of Alberta and B.C. alone is 6.3% greater than the population of Quebec, which posted an annual growth rate of only 0.8%.

Much of Alberta’s increase is thanks to interprovincial migration. Between the beginning of October and the end of December, Alberta experienced a gain of 17,477 people from other provinces. Over those same three months, 11,814 people left Alberta for another province. That left a net gain of 5,663 new interprovincial migrants. While that’s a sizable number, it does represent a slowdown. In fact, it is the lowest level in two years.

The whole of 2013 saw net interprovincial migration of 43,161—not quite the record set in 2006 (46,239) but still a strong year. Over 2012 and 2013, the province gained the equivalent of a city the size of Lethbridge.

Todd Hirsch • Chief Economist