Population and Power

April 27, 2017

Despite the downturn, the economy was enduring during the survey taken in May 2016, Calgary’s remains Canada’s fastest-growing city, having expanded almost 15 percent between 2011 and 2016.  It had been growing at nearly 13 percent in the previous five years.  The Calgary region encompasses three satellite areas which charted even more impressive growth.  Chestermere grew by over 34 percent, Airdrie, over 42, and Cochrane, over 47.  Canada’s fourth most-populated zone is now Calgary.

Canada’s second fastest growing contender is the Edmonton metropolitan area, which includes Wabamun, Fort Saskatchewan.  Edmonton charted a 1.8 percent growth increase this census period from the previous one, landing at 13.9 percent.

Both Calgary and Edmonton experienced significant growth, particularly in their suburbs, which outpaced some inner-city neighborhoods and rural areas.  The central area is not growing nearly as quickly as the suburbs surrounding it.

Older, more firmly established neighborhoods in Calgary are experiencing a decline in their population.  These include Signal Hill, Sundance, and Scenic Acres.  But at the same time, newer neighborhoods in the south of the city, like Chaparral and Auburn bay, have doubled in population, much like Evanston has on the north side of Stoney Trail.

The metropolitan area of Calgary is defined by communities in which half of the residents commute to the city.  The area does not include Okotoks, which has also experienced growth.  On the other hand, Drumheller, the Pincher Creek and Rocky Mountain House areas have seen declines.

Calgary remains the highest-populated zone in the province for the time being.  But if Edmonton continues to expand at its current pace, it will have outgrown the rest of the province within the next five years.

This information is anticipated to be of interest to the Alberta Electoral Boundaries Commission.  The time is approaching for it to redistribute provincial ridings, before the 2019 election.  The commission might be able to repair a discrepancy in which a Fort McMurray resident counts for three times as much as a voter in the southeast corner of Calgary.

Tense political pushback is expected, as there are many who may not want the votes of Edmonton and Calgary to count for as much as their populations would command, and there would be ripples in the communities as farming and coal regulations might dramatically change.

Calgary’s suburbs are looking to be a key factor in the approaching election.

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