Alberta population estimates

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

First Quarter 2020 Alberta population estimates
(January 1 to March 31, 2020)

Alberta sees highest first-quarter growth in 5 years, as COVID-19 impacts begin in mid-March

  • Alberta added 15,101 residents in the first quarter of 2020. As of April 1, 2020, Alberta’s population was 4,428,247.
  • Alberta’s year-over-year population growth was 1.78%, which was above the national average (1.50%) and well above the recent low of 1.13% experienced in the first quarter of 2017.
  • This represented the third-highest year-over-year growth among the provinces, behind Prince Edward Island and Ontario.
  • International migration contributed 0.14% to quarterly growth, followed by natural increase (0.13%) and interprovincial migration (0.07%).
  • By the end of the first quarter, COVID-19 was beginning to have an impact on population growth. There was a slightly higher number of deaths, largely due to COVID-19.
  • Travel restrictions impacted international migration numbers, such as returning emigrants, immigration and non-permanent residents. The demographic effects of COVID-19 are expected to become more apparent in the second quarter.
  • For more details on how COVID-19 was taken into account, see Statistics Canada's Technical Supplement: Production of Demographic Estimates for the First Quarter of 2020 in the Context of COVID-19.

Alberta Components of Population Change, 1st Quarter of 2020

 

Alberta Components of Population Change

 

Source: Statistics Canada and Alberta Treasury Board and Finance

Population of provinces/territories as of April 1, 2020 and growth rates since April 1, 2019

Population of Provinces/Territories as of April 1, 2019 and Growth Rates since April 1, 2019
Province/
Territory
Population Y/Y Growth Rate
Canada 37,971,020 1.50%
NL 520,437 -0.46%
PEI 158,717 1.97%
NS 978,274 1.20%
NB 780,890 0.90%
QC 8,552,362 1.24%
ON 14,745,040 1.80%
MB 1,379,121 1.08%
SK 1,181,987 0.94%
AB 4,428,247 1.78%
BC 5,120,184 1.45%
YT 41,293 1.70%
NWT 44,982 0.16%
NVT 39,486 2.12%

Natural increase

  • Natural increase (births minus deaths) resulted in an increase of 5,775 people.
    • Deaths related to COVID-19 contributed to slightly higher death rates in the province.
  • Alberta continued to have the highest natural growth rate of the provinces at 0.13%, due to our young population.

International migration

  • There were 6,203 new residents added through net international migration.
  • Travel restrictions and reduced air traffic began in mid-March, leading to a decrease in returning emigrants.
  • Alberta received 8,730 immigrants, the highest first-quarter level in 2 years.
    • Alberta saw strong immigration in the first 2 months of 2020. However, the number of new permanent residents in March was lower than usual, as immigrant arrivals to Canada dropped and weighed on the province’s first quarter immigration levels.
    • The COVID-19 pandemic is expected to have a greater impact on immigration levels in the second quarter.
  • Alberta’s share of national immigration was 12.5% in the first quarter, which is slightly less than the same quarter last year.
  • A drop in international students led to a net outflow of non-permanent residents (-972). This was mainly due to a reduction in the number of active study permits for international students.

Interprovincial migration

  • Net interprovincial inflows (3,123) represented the largest first-quarter gain in 5 years.
  • This quarter, Alberta welcomed the second-highest number of interprovincial net migrants in Canada, trailing only British Columbia (3,247). Saskatchewan and Ontario saw the largest net losses (-3,295 and -2,507, respectively).
  • On a net basis, Alberta gained the most interprovincial migrants from Saskatchewan (1,337), Ontario (1,161) and Manitoba (726).

Net Population Movement for Alberta (January 1 to March 31, 2020)

 

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

Interprovincial Migration Statistics, January 1 to March 31, 2020

Interprovincial Migration Statistics, January 1 to March 31, 2020
Province/
Territory
In Out Net Outflow
to Alberta
Inflow
from Alberta
Net Flow
to Alberta
NL 1,752 2,237 -485 938 452 486
PEI 944 766 178 71 78 -7
NS 4,812 4,520 292 788 749 39
NB 3,256 2,724 532 599 585 14
QC 5,918 5,506 412 563 688 -125
ON 16,949 19,456 -2,507 5,140 3,979 1,161
MB 3,099 4,943 -1,844 1,425 699 726
SK 4,132 7,427 -3,295 3,263 1,926 1,337
AB 19,000 15,877 3,123 0 0 0
BC 15,036 11,789 3,247 5,807 6,278 -471
YT 574 383 191 52 160 -108
NWT 629 680 -51 299 271 28
NVT 628 421 207 55 12 43

PDF reports: Quarterly population reports archive

Data tables (Excel format): Population estimates, components of growth, births and deaths and components of migration

Updated September 30, 2019, except where noted:

Animated population estimates pyramid (age and sex)

See the animated pyramid population estimates (age and sex) for 1921 to 2019 (updated September 30, 2019).

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 - 2019-2046:

See below for highlights from the publication.

 

Alberta population projections infographic. By 2046, Alberta is expected to be larger (adding 2.3 million people); older (number of seniors will more than double); and more urban (4 out of 5 people will be living in the Edmonton/Calgary corridor).

 

Alberta population projections infographic - 2019 to 2046. Download this infographic (PDF, 222 KB).

Highlights: 2019-2046 medium (reference) scenario

In 2046, Alberta’s population is expected to:

  • reach almost 6.6 million people, an increase of roughly 2.3 million people from 2018
  • become older, with an average age of 41.2 years, up from 38.0 years in 2018
  • become increasingly diverse, as arrivals from other countries account for about 47% of the expected growth over the projection period
  • become more concentrated in urban centres, especially along the Edmonton-Calgary Corridor; by 2046, 80% of Albertans are expected to live in this region

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 2019 – 2046 and were released on July 3, 2019:

Data tables: Alberta population projections

The following files are for 2019 – 2046 and were released on July 3, 2019:

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 – 2018 (estimated) and 2019 – 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 3, 2019.

Chart 2: Alberta Population by Age and Sex (Thousands), 2018 and 2046

View the pyramid animation for the medium growth scenario population projections (age and sex) to 2046. The image below shows the estimate for 2018 and 2046.

Alberta Population by Age and Sex (Thousands), 2018 and 2046

Source: Statistics Canada and Alberta Treasury Board and Finance

Animated population projection pyramids for Alberta

Animated population projection pyramids for 19 Census Divisions

Animated population projection pyramids for 8 Economic Regions

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

Updated September 30, 2019 except where noted:

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: jennifer.hansen@gov.ab.ca

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: osi.support@gov.ab.ca

Media enquiries

Contact the Treasury Board and Finance Spokesperson.