Region’s population booms

Anyone returning to Blackfalds after a five-year absence would probably be struck by the people — or at least their numbers.

Anyone returning to Blackfalds after a five-year absence would probably be struck by the people — or at least their numbers.

The community’s population ballooned by more than a third between 2006 and 2011 — from 4,618 to 6,300 — according to the results of Canada’s 2011 census, which were released on Wednesday.

It was one of three Central Alberta towns to grow by more than 20 per cent since the previous census in 2006.

Penhold’s population jumped by 20.5 per cent, to 2,375 from 1,971; while Sylvan Lake posted a 20.3 per cent increase, to 12,327 from 10,250. The 2006 populations for all three towns were adjusted to reflect subsequent land annexations.

The City of Red Deer, which also recently annexed land, had 90,564 people last year. That marked an 8.9 per cent increase from the 83,154 people reported to be living in the city in 2006.

For the province as a whole, the census indicated a 10.8 per cent population increase — to more than 3.6 million from just under 3.3 million.

That dramatically outpaced the five-year growth rate of 5.9 per cent for the entire country, which went to 33.5 million from 31.6 million.

The population of Western Canada has now surpassed the human tally east of Ontario, with 30.7 per cent of Canadians living west Ontario and 30.6 per cent residing in Quebec and the Maritimes. Ontario accounts for 38.4 per cent.

Canada’s growth rate is the highest among the G8 countries.

Statistics Canada said the West has proven attractive to newcomers, but also has a higher fertility rate and is attracting people from other parts of the country.

The recession accelerated this migration.

“It does create its own momentum,” said Don McIver, director of research at the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies.

While energy prices have been key to luring job-seekers west, the shift in the global economy from Europe and the U.S. to Asia has also boosted the importance of West Coast trade connections, said Roger Gibbins, president of the Canada West Foundation.

“All economic eyes in the past were very much on how well Toronto was doing,” said Gibbins. “That’s changing. . . . Toronto is a second thought.”

Another population trend illustrated by the 2011 census is the shift of people to big cities from small towns and rural areas.

“Seven in 10 Canadians live in these large metropolitan areas, and that’s increasing in each census,” said Jane Badets, director general of social and demographic statistics with Statistics Canada.

Of the 31 urban and rural municipalities in Central Alberta, fewer than half grew faster than the Canadian average. Only eight exceeded the provincial average and seven experienced a decline in numbers between 2006 and 2011.

Statistics Canada’s 2011 population count, which reflects the numbers as of May, was the first of several categories of census information to be released by Oct. 24.

With files from The Canadian Press.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Photo from Town of Sylvan Lake Facebook page
Sylvan Lake communities band together on development plan

Sylvan Lake Intermunicipal Development Plan expected to be approved next spring

Tribe restaurant owner Paul Harris, left, consults with manager Brandon Bouchard about how to proceed under pandemic rules that make it hard for eateries to be profitable. (Contributed photo).
New pandemic rules deemed workable for Red Deer retailers

Stricter COVID-19 reduction measures introduced in lead-up to Christmas

Dow Chemicals employees recently volunteered at Habitat for Humanity's Blackfalds project. The federal government announced Wednesday that it is also supporting the affordable housing project. Photo contributed
Habitat for Humanity gets funding for Blackfalds housing project

Habitat for Humanity’s Blackfalds housing project will get some support from the… Continue reading

City of Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer (Advocate file photo).
Veer urges indoor mask wearing immediately

We must protect hospital capacity and each other, says Tara Veer

Here’s a list of Alberta’s new COVID rules

The Alberta government has provided a list of new COVID-19 measures to… Continue reading

A
Red Deer Games Foundation adjusts grant program due to COVID-19 pandemic

The Red Deer Games Foundation announced Wednesday that it will allow athletes… Continue reading

In this undated photo issued by the University of Oxford, a volunteer is administered the coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, in Oxford, England. Pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca said Monday Nov. 23, 2020, that late-stage trials showed its coronavirus vaccine was up to 90% effective, giving public health officials hope they may soon have access to a vaccine that is cheaper and easier to distribute than some of its rivals. (University of Oxford/John Cairns via AP)
POLL: When a COVID-19 vaccine is available, will you get the shot?

When a COVID-19 vaccine is available, will you get the shot?… Continue reading

The tournament was cancelled because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. (Image courtesy of WHL)
2020 WHL Cup cancelled

A tournament featuring the top under 16 male hockey prospects in Western… Continue reading

TORONTO, ON - DECEMBER, 7  - Susan Delacourt
Logo headshots of Toronto Star staff shot in Star studio.
December 7, 2015
Opinion: Don’t blame Trump for vaccine wait

Canadians will be getting COVID-19 vaccinations after Americans, Justin Trudeau has admitted,… Continue reading

QMJHL Roundup: Armada down Olympiques to extend win streak to seven games

QMJHL Roundup: Armada down Olympiques to extend win streak to seven games

Nashville SC ends Toronto FC’s season with stunning 1-0 extra time upset

Nashville SC ends Toronto FC’s season with stunning 1-0 extra time upset

Juve, Barça, Chelsea, Sevilla advance in Champions League

Juve, Barça, Chelsea, Sevilla advance in Champions League

Most Read