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, 2021

Interprovincial outflows slow growth

  • Alberta added 4,107 residents in the second quarter of 2021. As of July 1, 2021, Alberta’s population was 4,442,879.
  • In the second quarter, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and net outflows of interprovincial migrants continued to dampen Alberta’s population growth, although there were signs of improvement in international migration.
    • Elevated deaths and lower births weighed on natural increase.
    • International migration showed some signs of recovery, supported by the highest levels of immigration seen since the beginning of the pandemic.
    • Gains in international migration were offset by the net outflow of interprovincial migrants.
  • Alberta’s population grew by 0.09% in the second quarter. Natural increase contributed  0.12% to overall growth while net international migration amounted to 0.10%. Substantial net interprovincial outflows weighed on the province’s population growth (-0.12%).
  • Alberta’s year-over-year population growth slowed this quarter to its lowest level since 1987, posting 0.52%. This was slightly below the national rate (0.55%). Most regions in the country experienced slower growth compared with the previous year.
  • 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 2021

Download full graphic (JPG, 25 KB)

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

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

Population of provinces and territories as of July 1, 2021 and growth rates since July 1, 2020
Population Y/Y Growth rate
Canada 38,246,108 0.55%
NL 520,553 -0.16%
PEI 164,318 1.85%
NS 992,055 1.04%
NB 789,225 0.77%
QC 8,604,495 0.31%
ON 14,826,276 0.55%
MB 1,383,765 0.23%
SK 1,179,844 0.05%
AB 4,442,879 0.52%
BC 5,214,805 1.09%
YT 42,986 1.93%
NWT 45,504 0.29%
NVT 39,403 0.63%

Natural increase

  • Natural increase (births minus deaths) resulted in an increase of 5,287 people.
    • There were 12,413 births and 7,126 deaths in the second quarter of 2021.
  • Alberta continued to have the highest natural growth rate of the provinces at 0.12%. This was more than double the natural growth rate of the second highest province, Saskatchewan (0.09%).

International migration

  • Net international migration was positive in the second quarter, as the province welcomed 4,267 people.
  • Alberta received 7,004 immigrants, 2,700 more than the level seen in the same quarter last year. While still below pre-pandemic levels, immigration shows some recovery from pandemic lows.
  • Alberta’s share of national immigration continued to drop, posting 9.4% in the second quarter, which was lower than the previous quarter and the same period in 2020 (9.6% and 12.5%, respectively). This continues to be the lowest share for the province since 2008.
  • NPRs were negative in the second quarter, with a net outflow of -1,060. This net outflow of NPRs lowered international migration slightly.

Interprovincial migration

  • For the third consecutive quarter, net interprovincial outflows accelerated (-5,447). On a net basis, Alberta gained the most interprovincial migrants from Manitoba (1,126) and Saskatchewan (1,043). Alberta lost the most interprovincial migrants to British Columbia (-6,985).

Net population movement for Alberta (April 1, 2021 to June 30, 2021)

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

Interprovincial migration statistics, April 1, 2021 to June 30, 2021

Interprovincial Migration Statistics, April 1, 2021 to June 30, 2021
In Out Net Outflow
to Alberta
from Alberta
Net Flow
to Alberta
NL 3,114 2,308 806 511 794 -283
PEI 2,116 1,247 869 63 176 -113
NS 9,263 4,585 4,678 677 1,516 -839
NB 5,897 3,752 2,145 504 670 -166
QC 10,724 10,098 626 960 1,129 -169
ON 25,349 37,206 -11,857 7,610 6,722 888
MB 4,156 7,769 -3,613 2,072 946 1,126
SK 5,394 8,756 -3,362 3,341 2,298 1,043
AB 23,639 29,086 -5,447 0 0 0
BC 31,926 16,636 15,290 7,462 14,447 -6,985
YT 666 456 210 71 116 -45
NWT 637 891 -254 286 162 124
NVT 601 692 -91 82 110 -28

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 to 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: 2021-46 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 to 2046 and were released on July 2, 2021:

Data tables: Alberta population projections

The following files are for 2021 to 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 to 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.


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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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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