Alberta population estimates

A population estimate is a measure of the current or historical population at a particular point in time.

Population estimates documents released June 17, 2021

International migration picks up

  • Alberta added 8,019 residents in the first quarter of 2021. As of April 1, 2021, Alberta’s population was 4,444,277.
  • In the first quarter, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic continued to dampen Alberta’s population growth, although there were signs of improvement in international migration.
    • Elevated deaths continued to weigh on natural increase
    • International migration showed some signs of recovery, supported by the highest levels of immigration and net NPRs seen throughout the pandemic.
    • Gains in international migration were reduced by an outflow of net interprovincial migrants.
  • Alberta’s population grew by 0.18% in the first quarter. Natural increase grew by 0.10% and net international migration increased 0.15%, while net interprovincial outflows weighed on overall growth (-0.08%).
  • Alberta’s year-over-year population growth was the second highest among the provinces, at 0.62%, slightly behind B.C. (0.63%) and significantly higher than the national average (0.40%).
  • The majority of B.C.’s year-over-year growth came from net interprovincial migration. Alberta has seen net interprovincial losses to B.C. every quarter since the first quarter of 2014.
  • For more details on how COVID-19 was taken into account in population estimates, see Technical Supplement: Production of Demographic Estimates for the Second Quarter of 2020 in the Context of COVID-19.

Alberta Components of Population Change, 1st Quarter of 2021

Download full graphic (JPG, 172 KB)


Graph of Alberta Components of Population Change
Source: Statistics Canada and Alberta Treasury Board and Finance

Population of provinces/territories as of April 1, 2021 and growth rates since April 1, 2020

Population of Provinces/Territories as of April 1, 2021 and Growth Rates since April 1, 2020
Province/
Territory
Population Y/Y Growth Rate
Canada 38,131,104 0.40%
NL 520,286 -0.52%
PEI 160,536 0.81%
NS 982,326 0.54%
NB 783,721 0.35%
QC 8,585,523 0.16%
ON 14,789,778 0.45%
MB 1,382,904 0.30%
SK 1,179,906 -0.02%
AB 4,444,277 0.62%
BC 5,174,724 0.63%
YT 42,596 1.47%
NWT 44,991 0.46%
NVT 39,536 1.46%

Natural increase

  • Natural increase (births minus deaths) resulted in an increase of 4,616 people.
    • There were 12,448 births and 7,832 deaths in the first quarter of 2021.
    • Alberta saw 681 more deaths than in the same period last year. Part of this increase is likely attributable to COVID-19 deaths.
  • Alberta continued to have the highest natural growth rate of the provinces at 0.10%. This was more than double the natural growth rate of the second highest province, Saskatchewan (0.05%).

International migration

  • Net international migration was positive in the first quarter, as the province welcomed 6,787 people.
  • Alberta received 6,774 immigrants, about four-fifths the level seen in the same quarter last year. For reference, throughout the pandemic, quarterly immigration has generally been less than half the level of the previous same quarter.
    • Between January and March, immigration to Canada was 70,473, which was on par with pre-pandemic levels.
    • As a response to the pandemic, the federal government has increasingly sought out people residing in Canada as a source of immigration (e.g. NPRs),
  • Alberta’s share of national immigration was 9.6% in the fourth quarter, which was lower than the same period in 2019 (12.3%) and the lowest share for the province since 2008.
  • NPRs were positive for the second consecutive quarter, adding 1,062 new residents. This net inflow of NPRs helped boost international migration.

Interprovincial migration

  • Net interprovincial outflows accelerated in the first quarter (-3,384). On a net basis, Alberta gained the most interprovincial migrants from Saskatchewan (768) and Manitoba (670). Alberta lost the most interprovincial migrants to British Columbia (-4,383).

Net Population Movement for Alberta (January 1, 2021 to March 31, 2021)


Graph of Map: Net Population Movement for Alberta
Source: Statistics Canada and Alberta Treasury Board and Finance

Interprovincial Migration Statistics, January 1, 2021 to March 31, 2021

Interprovincial Migration Statistics, January 1, 2021 to March 31, 2021
Province/
Territory
In Out Net Outflow
to Alberta
Inflow
from Alberta
Net Flow
to Alberta
NL 1,406 1,257 149 385 306 79
PEI 1009 936 73 130 135 -5
NS 4,700 2,830 1870 450 687 -237
NB 3,533 2,328 1205 301 750 -449
QC 7,261 5,897 1364 465 660 -195
ON 15,997 21,626 -5,629 4,366 4,186 180
MB 2,310 4,676 -2,366 1,222 552 670
SK 3,965 6,122 -2,157 2,480 1,712 768
AB 13,878 17,262 -3,384 0 0 0
BC 18,051 9,038 9,013 690 8,073 -4,383
YT 383 199 184 29 57 -28
NWT 409 666 -257 360 132 228
NVT 149 214 -65 0 12 -12

PDF reports: Annual and Quarterly population reports archive

These past publications detail Alberta population estimates between 2002 and 2019.

Data tables (Excel format)

Population estimates and components of growth

Components of migration, mobility and births and deaths

Animated population estimates pyramid (age and sex)

See the animated pyramid population estimates (age and sex) for 1921 to 2020 (updated October 7, 2020).

Shifts in the age distribution result from changes in fertility, mortality and migration for specific age groups.

The relative size of the major cohorts in Alberta’s population is largely due to the differences in the size of the cohort at birth. For instance:

  • an increase in fertility rates after World War II caused the large Baby Boom cohort
    (born 1946–1965)
  • the decline in fertility rates right after the Baby Boom years led to the Baby Bust cohort
    (born 1965–1974)
  • the Boomer cohort’s children also stand out in the pyramid as the Echo generation
    (born 1975–1995)

Alberta population projections

Population projections give a picture of what the future population may be like. Population growth projections for Alberta and its sub-regions use 3 scenarios:

  • medium-growth (or reference)
  • high-growth
  • low-growth

Download Alberta population projections - 2021-2046:

See below for highlights from the publication.

Alberta population projections infographicAlberta population projections infographic - 2021 to 2046. Download this infographic (PDF, 235 KB).

Highlights: 2021-2046 medium (reference) scenario

In 2046, Alberta’s population is expected to:

  • reach almost 6.4 million people, an increase of roughly 1.9 million people from 2020
  • become older, with an average age of 41.5 years, up from 38.5 years in 2020
  • become increasingly diverse, as arrivals from other countries account for about 54% of the expected growth over the projection period
  • become more concentrated in urban centres, especially along the Edmonton-Calgary Corridor; 80% of Albertans are expected to live in this region by 2046

Chart: Alberta Population Projections, 1972-2046

Alberta Population Projections, 1972-2046
Source: Statistics Canada and Alberta Treasury Board and Finance

PDF reports and infographics: Alberta population projections

The following reports are for 2021 – 2046 and were released on July 2, 2021:

Data tables: Alberta population projections

The following files are for 2021 – 2046 and were released on July 2, 2021.

Population projections data tables – Alberta and Census Divisions

Population projections data tables – Economic Divisions

  • These are available upon request. Contact Jennifer Hansen ([email protected]) for assistance.

Animated population projection pyramids (age and sex)

Animated population pyramids are available below for Alberta.

Age and sex are presented as percentages of the total population for the periods 1996 – 2020 (estimated) and 2021 – 2046 (projected) under 3 different population growth assumptions:

  • medium growth (reference scenario as most-likely case based on historical trends)
  • high growth
  • low growth

The population projection pyramids below are for 1996 – 2046 and were released on July 2, 2021.

Chart: Alberta Population by Age and Sex (Thousands), 2020 and 2046

View the pyramid animation for the medium growth scenario population projections (age and sex) to 2046. The image below shows the population for 2020 and 2046.

Alberta Population by Age and Sex (Thousands), 2020 and 2046

Source: Statistics Canada and Alberta Treasury Board and Finance

Animated population projection pyramids for Alberta

Animated population projection pyramids for Census Divisions and Economic Regions

  • These are available upon request. Contact Jennifer Hansen ([email protected]) for assistance.

Population change components

Population change is a result of the relationship between births, deaths and migration.

Definitions

Natural increase
The difference between the number of births and deaths.
Migration (net)
The difference between movements into a region and those out of a region.
International migration (net)
This includes immigrants, emigrants, non-permanent residents (net), temporarily abroad (net) and returning migrants (see definitions below).
  • Immigrants: permanent residents moving to Canada from other countries and landing in Alberta.
  • Emigrants: people permanently leaving Canada
  • Non-permanent residents (net): in and out movements of foreign students, workers and refugee claimants, and the families of each of these categories
  • Temporarily abroad (net): movements of people who do not have a residence in Canada, but intend to return
  • Returning migrants: former emigrants who have returned to Canada to live
Interprovincial migration (net)
The movement between the provinces and territories of Canada, which equals 0 at the national level.
Intraprovincial migration (net)
The movement within the province of Alberta, which equals 0 at the provincial level.

Data tables (Excel format): population change components

Demographic spotlight reports

Demographic profiles and information about the population, such as:

  • migrants
  • age cohorts
  • fertility

PDF reports: demographic spotlights

Demographic glossary of terms

We have a document listing relevant demographic terms.

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Contact

Jennifer Hansen, Manager, Demography and Social Statistics
Office of Statistics and Information
Phone: 780-427-8811
Toll free: 310-0000 before the phone number (in Alberta)
Email: [email protected]

General OSI enquiries

Hours: 8:15 am to 4:30 pm (open Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays)
Phone: 780-427-2071
Toll free: 310-0000 before the phone number (in Alberta)
Fax: 780-426-3951
Email: [email protected]

Media enquiries

Contact the Treasury Board and Finance Spokesperson.

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