The results of Edmonton’s first ever paperless municipal census were released at City Hall today, revealing that Edmonton’s population has grown by 2.5% since 2014 from 877,926 to 899,447. That is much more modest growth than we saw in the period between 2012 and 2014 when our city’s population grew by 7.4%. From today’s news release:
“The impact of the recent economic slowdown and higher unemployment in Alberta and Edmonton is evident in the stable population growth figures recorded over the past two years,” said John Rose, Chief Economist for the City of Edmonton.
The slowdown mirrors to some extent what is happening provincially and federally. Estimates put Alberta’s growth rate at 3.9% from 2014 to 2016, down from 6.5% between 2012 to 2014, and Canada’s growth rate at 2.0% from 2014 to 2016, down from 2.3% between 2012 and 2014.
The update to the Capital Region Board’s Growth Plan projects that Edmonton’s population will grow to at least 1.3 million people by 2044, which we’ll achieve if we can grow at an average of 1.8% per year.
“Although we saw more moderate growth these past two years, Edmonton’s population has increased by 117,000 since 2009. When you add to that the growth of neighbouring municipalities, it highlights the need for us to combine our efforts to ensure effective use of land and smart infrastructure planning.” said Mayor Iveson. “We need to work together and leverage our resources as well as those of the provincial and federal governments to ensure an ongoing strong and growing region, one that continues to attract and retain people and investments.”
Regional cooperation is especially important because it looks like Edmonton is getting even more suburban. Ward 6, which includes Downtown, Oliver, and other central neighbourhoods, saw its population decrease 5.0% from 2014 with a loss of 3,769 people. In fact, the centrally-located wards (6, 7, 8, 10, 11) all saw their populations decrease by anywhere from 2.2% to 5.0% while the outer wards (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 9, 12) all saw their populations increase by anywhere from 1.1% to 12.1%. This is a big shift from the 2014 Municipal Census in which every ward grew.
It’s disappointing to me to see “population loss in a number of core and mature neighbourhoods” while the developing neighbourhoods like Walker, Laurel, Summerside, Chappelle, Windermere, and McConachie all show strong population gains. A decrease of 1,012 people in Oliver and 380 people in Downtown is cause for concern. Inglewood, Central McDougall, and Strathcona were some of the other central neighbourhoods that saw their populations decrease. We are continuing to grow out when we really need to be growing up.
You can see a comparison of census results from 2016, 2014, 2012, and 2009 in PDF here. There are 201 datasets related to Edmonton’s municipal census in the Open Data Catalogue with more to come. You can also access the latest results in PDF here. And here’s my post about the 2014 Municipal Census.