Rural Central Alberta’s population stable

Statistics Canada census numbers show some smaller rural communities losing population

Census around the region

Penhold is the growth leader among Central Alberta communities under 5,000.

The town grew by 38 per cent to 3,277 people last year, up from 2,375 in 2011, according to census figures released by Statistics Canada on Wednesday.

Lacombe and Olds both grew by 11.5 per cent over the same five-year period. Lacombe’s population grew to 13,057 from 11,707 and Olds saw its numbers climb to 9,184 from 8,235.

A number of other communities had more modest growth or were almost unchanged.

Eckville’s population is a model of stability with 1,125 people counted in 2011 and 2016.

Some lost population, according to Statistics Canada. Bowden lost one person to fall to 1,240.

Hardest hit among larger communities was Rocky Mountain House, which saw its population fall by 4.3 per cent to 6,635 in 2016 from 6,933 in 2011.

Among the smallest rural communities, growth has mostly remained stagnant. Alix, Bashaw, Donalda, Trochu and Elnora each lost residents, according to Statistics Canada.

Full list: 2011 (2016) percentage change

l Alix 830 (734) -11.6

l Bashaw 873 (830) -4.9

l Bentley 1,073 (1,078) 0.46

l Blackfalds 6,300 (9,328) 48.1

l Bowden 1,241 (1,240) -0.1

l Clive 675 (715) 5.9

l Delburne 830 (892) 7.4

l Donalda 259 (219) -15.4

l Eckville 1,125 (1,125) 0

l Elnora 313 (298) -4.7

l Lacombe 11,707 (13,057) 11.5

l Olds 8,235 (9,184) 11.5

l Penhold 2,375 (3,277) 38

l Ponoka 6,778 (7,229) 6.7

l Rimbey 2,378 (2,567) 7.9

l Rocky Mountain House 6,933 (6,635) -4.3

l Stettler 5,748 (5,952) 3.5

l Sylvan Lake 12,362 (14,816) 19.9

l Trochu 1,072 (1,058) -1.3

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