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 17, 2022

Alberta's population growth continued to rally in the fourth quarter.

  • Alberta added 16,316 residents in the fourth quarter of 2021. As of January 1, 2022, Alberta’s population was 4,480,486.
  • In the fourth quarter, continued strength seen in interprovincial migration and immigration supported population growth.
    • Net interprovincial migration was positive for the second consecutive quarter. Alberta led the country in interprovincial gains for the first time since 2015.
    • Immigrant landings continued to climb higher as national admissions set another record.
    • A net loss of non-permanent residents weighed on growth.
  • Alberta’s population grew by 0.37% in the fourth quarter. Natural increase and net interprovincial migration each contributed 0.08% to overall growth while net international migration amounted to 0.21%.
  • Alberta’s year-over-year population growth picked up this quarter, bolstered by record-setting immigration, posting 1.11%. This was slightly below the national rate (1.20%) and higher than the same quarter last year.

Alberta components of population change, 4th quarter of 2021

Download full graphic (PNG, 94 KB)
Graph of Alberta Components of Population Change
Source: Statistics Canada and Alberta Treasury Board and Finance

Population of provinces and territories as of January 1, 2022 and growth rates since January 1, 2021

Population of provinces and territories as of January 1, 2022 and growth rates since January 1, 2021
Province/
territory
Population Y/Y Growth rate
Canada 38,526,760 1.20%
NL 522,453 0.54%
PEI 166,331 2.98%
NS 1,002,586 2.10%
NB 797,102 1.65%
QC 8,639,642 0.70%
ON 14,951,825 1.30%
MB 1,390,249 0.64%
SK 1,183,269 0.36%
AB 4,480,486 1.11%
BC 5,264,485 1.95%
YT 42,982 1.51%
NWT 45,640 0.70%
NVT 39,710 1.16%

Natural increase

  • Natural increase (births minus deaths) resulted in an increase of 3,376 people. Fewer births and more deaths continued to weigh on this component compared to pre-pandemic times.
    • There were 11,472 births and 8,096 deaths in the fourth quarter of 2021.
  • Alberta continued to have the highest natural growth rate of the provinces at 0.08%.

International migration

  • International migration added 9,489 new residents in the fourth quarter.
  • Alberta received 14,363 immigrants, more than twice the level seen in the same quarter last year.
    • In the fourth quarter, Canada welcomed 138,182 immigrants, beating the record set last quarter. This increase was mainly the result of temporary residents already in Canada becoming permanent residents. Further, the easing of pandemic-related border restrictions allowed previously-approved immigrants to come to Canada. People from Afghanistan have been arriving in Canada since the third quarter of 2021. Canada slightly exceeded its 2021 immigration target of 401,000. The new federal target for 2022 has been increased, with Canada aiming to welcome 431,645 permanent residents.
  • Alberta’s share of national immigration picked up for the second consecutive quarter, posting 10.4% in the fourth quarter. Despite the increase, this was 2.5 percentage points lower than the same period last year (12.9%).
  • Net losses of non-permanent residents (-2,812) weighed on growth, with broad-based losses seen across Canada. These losses are likely related to temporary residents transitioning into permanent residents.

Interprovincial migration

  • British Columbia’s recent dominance in interprovincial migration was challenged by Alberta in the fourth quarter. For the first time since 2015, Alberta saw the highest net interprovincial migration in the country, followed closely by British Columbia.
  • On a net basis, Alberta gained the most interprovincial migrants from Ontario (2,618), Manitoba (839) and Saskatchewan (540). Alberta saw a small net loss to British Columbia (-445).

Net population movement for Alberta (October 1, 2021 to December 31, 2021)

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

Interprovincial migration statistics, October 1, 2021 to December 31, 2021

Interprovincial Migration Statistics, October 1, 2021 to December 31, 2021
Province/
Territory
In Out Net Outflow
to Alberta
Inflow
from Alberta
Net Flow
to Alberta
NL 1,400 829 571 185 225 -40
PEI 950 702 248 92 98 -6
NS 4,351 2,294 2,057 413 579 -166
NB 3,308 1,720 1588 344 413 -69
QC 4,705 5,1599 -454 494 394 100
ON 12,262 18,858 -6,596 5,201 2,583 2,618
MB 1,574 4,215 -2,641 1,131 292 839
SK 2,690 4,072 -1,382 1,730 1,190 540
AB 14,314 10,863 3,451 0 0 0
BC 12,120 8,787 3,333 4,475 4,920 -445
YT 177 350 -170 97 35 62
NWT 275 271 4 128 104 26
NVT 202 208 -6 24 32 -8

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.

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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