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Calgary population surges by staggering 6%, Edmonton by 4.2% in latest StatsCan estimates

Calgary’s metro-area population grew by nearly 96,000 people last year — a staggering six per cent increase in the span of just 12 months — according to new estimates released Wednesday by Statistics Canada.

Edmonton, meanwhile, added more than 63,000 people, marking a 4.2 per cent increase.  

That’s the largest year-over-year increase for both cities in the modern StatsCan records, which date back to 2001.

Alberta’s recent population boom has been well documented, but these new figures provide a clearer picture of just how many more people are now living in its two largest metropolitan areas.

There were 1.68 million people living in Calgary and the surrounding area as of July 1, 2023, according to these latest estimates, up from 1.59 million the year before.

The Edmonton metro area grew to 1.56 million, up from 1.5 million.

Both cities have seen rapid population gains in the past but nothing like this in recent memory.

Calgary’s growth rate of six per cent far exceeds its previous high of 3.5 per cent in 2006.

And Edmonton’s 4.2 per cent growth bested its 2014 high mark by a full percentage point.

Immigration and interprovincial migration

The majority of the population growth in both Calgary and Edmonton was due to the arrival of people from other countries, including both permanent immigrants and temporary international residents.

Natural increase (more births than deaths) accounted for less than 10 per cent of the growth in both cities.

Both Calgary and Edmonton also saw high levels of growth due to interprovincial migration — that is, more people moving to the Alberta cities from other provinces than people departing those cities for other provinces.

Calgary led the country in net interprovincial migration, with a gain of 26,662 residents from other provinces.

Edmonton was second, with a gain of 16,082 residents.

Halifax was a distant third with a gain of 3,464 people due to interprovincial migration. And Lethbridge, Alta., was fourth with a gain of 1,651.

Other major cities, by comparison, lost residents to other provinces.

Vancouver saw a net decline of 4,795 residents. Winnipeg lost 7,643. Montreal lost 8,975.

And Toronto saw the biggest loss to other provinces, with a net decline of 16,092.  

Calgary had highest growth rate among major cities

In terms of total population growth, Calgary had the highest rate among major cities in Canada.

Of all 41 metropolitan areas tracked by Statistics Canada, it was exceeded only by Moncton, N.B., and Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo, Ont., both of which saw population gains of 6.1 per cent.  

Edmonton’s 4.2 per cent mark was tied with the Vancouver metropolitan area.

The Statistics Canada definition of Calgary’s metropolitan area includes Airdrie, Beiseker, Chestermere, Cochrane, Crossfield, Irricana, Rocky View County and the Tsuut’ina Nation.

 It doesn’t include Okotoks or Strathmore. (Here is a PDF map of the full Calgary boundaries.)

The Edmonton metropolitan area includes Stony Plain, Spruce Grove, Leduc, Sherwood Park and Fort Saskatchewan, as well as smaller communities in the vicinity. (Here is a PDF map of the full Edmonton boundaries.)

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