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 September 29, 2020

COVID-19 slows population growth

  • Alberta added 4,870 residents in the second quarter of 2020. As of July 1, 2020, Alberta’s population was 4,421,876.
  • Alberta’s year-over-year population growth was 1.38%, which was above the national average (1.10%) but down slightly from last year (1.48%).
  • This represented the second highest year-over-year growth among the provinces, behind Prince Edward Island.
  • Following a solid increase in the first 3 months of the year, population growth slowed significantly between April and June, as COVID-19 limited population movement around the globe. International migration was limited in the second quarter because of restrictions on international travel and difficulties getting permits due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Alberta’s population grew by 0.1% over the second quarter. Natural increase was responsible for almost all of the growth (0.15%). International migration contributed 0.02%, while interprovincial migration weighed on growth (-0.06%).
  • 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, 2nd Quarter of 2020

 

Alberta Components of Population Change

 

Source: Statistics Canada and Alberta Treasury Board and Finance

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

Population of Provinces/Territories as of July 1, 2020 and Growth Rates since July 1, 2019
Province/
Territory
Population Y/Y Growth Rate
Canada 38,005,238 1.10%
NL 522,103 -0.26%
PEI 159,625 1.50%
NS 979,351 0.99%
NB 781,476 0.59%
QC 8,574,571 0,86%
ON 14,734,014 1.30%
MB 1,379,263 0.71%
SK 1,178,681 0.54%
AB 4,421,876 1.38%
BC 5,147,712 1.11%
YT 42,052 1.39%
NWT 45,161 0.30%
NVT 39,353 1.91%

Natural increase

  • Natural increase (births minus deaths) resulted in an increase of 6,706 people.
    • COVID-19 resulted in a slight increase in deaths in the province.
  • Alberta continued to have the highest natural growth rate of the provinces at 0.15%, due to our relatively young population.

International migration

  • There were 897 new residents added through net international migration.
  • Alberta received 4,291 immigrants, about one-third the level of the same quarter last year.
    • Alberta saw strong immigration in the first 2 quarters of census year 2019-20. However, the number of new permanent residents between April to June was lower than usual, as immigrant arrivals to Canada dropped and weighed on the province’s immigration levels during the second quarter.
  • Alberta’s share of national immigration was 12.5% in the second quarter, which is slightly less than the same quarter last year.
  • The net loss of migrants to international destinations was significantly smaller in the second quarter of the year.
  • Net outflows of non-permanent residents (-3,421) accelerated over the previous quarter. This is mainly due to restrictions on the types of temporary foreign workers who could enter the country.

Interprovincial migration

  • Net interprovincial outflows (-2,733) were the largest second quarter losses in 3 years.
  • In the second quarter, Alberta had the second biggest net loss of interprovincial net migrants in Canada, trailing only Saskatchewan (-2,874). British Columbia and Nova Scotia saw the largest net gains (7,940 and 1,443, respectively).
  • On a net basis, Alberta gained the most interprovincial migrants from Saskatchewan (1,243) and Manitoba (710). Alberta lost the most interprovincial migrants to British Columbia (-3,586).

Net Population Movement for Alberta (April 1, 2020 to June 30, 2020)

 

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

Interprovincial Migration Statistics, April 1, 2020 to June 30, 2020

Interprovincial Migration Statistics, April 1, 2020 to June 30, 2020
Province/
Territory
In Out Net Outflow
to Alberta
Inflow
from Alberta
Net Flow
to Alberta
NL 1,878 2,399 -521 617 472 145
PEI 1,274 1,274 0 62 163 -101
NS 5,602 4,159 1,443 598 990 -392
NB 3,626 3,316 310 599 661 -62
QC 8,314 8,821 -507 677 810 -133
ON 21,945 23,380 -1,435 4,829 5,370 -541
MB 3,468 5,305 -1,837 1,394 684 710
SK 4,531 7,405 -2,874 3,009 1,766 1,243
AB 17,898 20,631 -2,733 0 0 0
BC 21,561 13,621 7,940 5,716 9,302 -3586
YT 582 530 52 128 121 7
NWT 550 626 -76 230 204 26
NVT 737 499 238 39 88 -49

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, components of growth, births and deaths and components of migration

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.