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 March 2021

  • Fourth Quarter 2020 Alberta population estimates (October 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020)
    • Data released by Statistics Canada on March 18, 2021
  • Municipal (Census Subdivision) Population Estimates (2016 - 2020)
    • File updated March 23, 2021
  • Access the data tables available below.

COVID-19 slows natural increase in the fourth quarter

  • Alberta added 8,176 residents in the fourth quarter of 2020. As of January 1, 2021, Alberta’s population was 4,436,258.
  • In the fourth quarter, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic continued to dampen Alberta’s population growth.
    • Due to COVID-19, deaths in Alberta reached the highest quarterly level in the current data series, which dates back to 1971. This led to a drop in natural increase.
    • Restrictions on international travel and difficulty getting permits continued to slow international migration between October 1, 2020 and December 31, 2020.
    • A net gain of non-permanent residents (NPRs) helped to boost net international migration to its highest level since COVID-19 travel restrictions started.
  • Alberta’s population grew by 0.18% over the fourth quarter. Because of the increase in deaths over the quarter, natural increase contributed less than usual, adding growth of 0.08%. Net international migration added 0.13% to the population, while net interprovincial outflows weighed on growth (-0.03%).
  • Alberta’s year-over-year population growth was the highest among the provinces, at 0.78%. Although this was above the national average (0.39%), it was down significantly from this time last year (1.65%).
  • 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, 4th Quarter of 2020

Download full graphic (JPG, 163 KB)

 

Alberta Components of Population Change

 

Source: Statistics Canada and Alberta Treasury Board and Finance

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

Population of Provinces/Territories as of January 1, 2021 and Growth Rates since January 1, 2020
Province/
Territory
Population Y/Y Growth Rate
Canada 38,048,738 0.39%
NL 520,438 -0.61%
PEI 159,819 0.75%
NS 979,449 0.36%
NB 782,078 0.26%
QC 8,575,944 0.23%
ON 14,755,211 0.45%
MB 1,380,935 0.29%
SK 1,178,832 -0.03%
AB 4,436,258 0.78%
BC 5,153,039 0.42%
YT 42,192 1.10%
NWT 45,136 0.04%
NVT 39,407 1.76%

Natural increase

  • Natural increase (births minus deaths) resulted in an increase of 3,578 people.
    • This was the result of 12,186 births and 8,428 deaths.
    • The fourth quarter saw an additional 1,507 deaths compared to the same period in 2019. This is largely attributable to the increase in COVID-19 deaths seen over this period.
  • Alberta continued to have the highest natural growth rate of the provinces at 0.08%, due to our relatively young population.

International migration

  • Net international migration was positive in the fourth quarter, welcoming 5,711 people.
  • Alberta received 5,280 immigrants, a little more than half the level seen in the same quarter one year earlier.
    • Between October and December, immigration to Canada was lower than the same time in 2019. This was the key reason immigration to Alberta was lower than in the past.
  • Alberta’s share of national immigration was 12.8% in the fourth quarter, which was very similar to the same period in 2019.
  • Following three quarters of net outflows, NPRs turned positive in the fourth quarter, adding 931 new residents. This net inflow of NPRs helped boost international migration.

Interprovincial migration

  • Net interprovincial outflows accelerated in the fourth quarter (-1,293). On a net basis, Alberta gained the most interprovincial migrants from Saskatchewan (527) and Manitoba (504). Alberta lost the most interprovincial migrants to British Columbia (-2,197).

Net Population Movement for Alberta (October 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020)

 

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

Interprovincial Migration Statistics, October 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020

Interprovincial Migration Statistics, October 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020
Province/
Territory
In Out Net Outflow
to Alberta
Inflow
from Alberta
Net Flow
to Alberta
NL 845 883 -38 213 246 -33
PEI 496 711 -215 42 64 -22
NS 2,620 1,918 702 268 325 -57
NB 2,017 1,557 460 255 245 10
QC 4,139 4,953 -814 367 356 11
ON 12,011 12,351 -340 2,853 2,871 -18
MB 1,437 3,293 -1,856 837 333 504
SK 2,336 3,748 -1,412 1,401 874 527
AB 8,976 10,269 -1,293 0 0 0
BC 10,908 6,030 4,878 2,589 4,786 -2,197
YT 215 230 -15 66 38 28
NWT 239 278 -39 85 107 -22
NVT 104 122 -18 0 24 -24

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 - 2020-2046:

See below for highlights from the publication.

Alberta population projections infographicAlberta population projections infographic - 2020 to 2046. Download this infographic (PDF, 222 KB).

Highlights: 2020-2046 medium (reference) scenario

In 2046, Alberta’s population is expected to:

  • reach over 6.3 million people, an increase of roughly 2.0 million people from 2019
  • become older, with an average age of 41.5 years, up from 38.3 years in 2019
  • 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 2020 – 2046 and were released on August 28, 2020:

Data tables: Alberta population projections

The following files are for 2020 – 2046 and were released on August 28, 2020:

Animated population projection pyramids (age and sex)

Animated population pyramids are available below for Alberta, 19 Census Divisions and 8 Economic Regions.

Age and sex are presented as percentages of the total population for the periods 1996 – 2019 (estimated) and 2020 – 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 August 28, 2020.

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.