Alberta population estimates
A population estimate is a measure of the current or historical population at a particular point in time.
Download: complete Quarterly Population Report - Third Quarter of 2018 (December 20, 2018) (PDF, 1 MB)
See below for highlights from the publication.
Alberta sees highest third quarter growth since 2014
- Population growth continued to inch up, with Alberta seeing its highest third quarter growth since 2014. Net interprovincial migration reached its highest level in over 3 years.
- Immigration also made significant gains over the same quarter last year, while natural increase remained solid.
- As of October 1, 2018, Alberta had a population of 4,330,206, an increase of 23,096, or 0.54%, over the last quarter. The province has not added over 20,000 new residents in a quarter since the third quarter of 2014 (22,408).
- Alberta’s growth rate was above Canada’s 0.50%, the second highest third quarter growth for the country.
- International migration was the largest contributor to the province’s growth (0.26%), followed by natural increase (0.20%).
- While interprovincial migration made a small contribution (0.07%), it was the largest since 2015 and a marked improvement over the net outflows of the last 3 years.
- Year-over-year population growth was the highest it had been in 4 years at 1.59%. This was greater than the national rate (1.44%) and the third highest among the provinces, behind PEI (2.16%) and Ontario (1.82%).
Map: Net Population Movement for Alberta, July 1 to September 30, 2018
PDF reports: Quarterly population reports
- 2018 Third Quarter Population Report (PDF, 1 MB) (December 20, 2018)
- Archive: 2009 Second Quarter – Current
- Archive: 2002 First Quarter – 2009 First Quarter
Data tables: Population estimates, components of growth, births and deaths and components of migration
- Population estimates and components of growth (Excel format) (December 20, 2018)
- Components of Migration - Alberta, 1971-2018 (Excel format) (September 27, 2018)
- Births and Deaths - Alberta, 1971 to 2018 (Excel format) (September 27, 2018)
Animated population estimates pyramid (age and sex)
See the animated pyramid population estimates (age and sex) for 1921-2017.
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
- the decline in fertility rates right after the Baby Boom years led to the Baby Bust cohort
- the Boomer cohort’s children also stand out in the pyramid as the Echo generation
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)
Download: complete report - 2018-2046 Alberta population projections (July 3, 2018)
(PDF, 1.5 MB)
See below for highlights from the publication.
Highlights: 2018-2046 medium (reference) scenario
- Alberta is projected to add roughly 2.1 million residents over the next 29 years, reaching 6.4 million by 2046; an average annual growth rate of 1.4%.
- The majority of the expected growth will be due to migration, with 48% from international migration and 18% from interprovincial migration.
- By comparison, natural increase is projected to account for the remaining 34% of growth.
- In the short term, net interprovincial migration will recover from the outflows of the past 2 years, leading to an increase in population growth over the next 5 years.
- Alberta’s population is projected to continue aging, where the average age is expected to climb to 41.6 years by 2046 from 37.9 in 2017.
- In 2017, a newborn girl could expect to live an average of 83.4 years, while a boy could live to 79.0 years.
- By 2046, life expectancy at birth is projected to rise to 87.1 for females and 83.5 years for males.
- The number of seniors aged 65 and older is expected to more than double from almost 530,000, or about 13% of the total population in 2017, to over 1.1 million, or around 18% by 2040.
- Almost 1 in 5 Albertans is projected to be aged 65 or older by 2046.
- While the number of Albertans in working ages (15 to 64 years) is expected to increase, the population share of this cohort is projected to drop from its current level of 69.1% to 64.0% by 2046.
- By 2046, Census Division 4 (CD 4) (Hanna) is projected to be the oldest region, with 29.7% of its population aged 65 or older. CD 17 (Slave Lake) is expected to be the youngest, with a 13.5% population share of seniors.
- Between 2017 and 2025, the population aged 5 to 17 years is expected to increase at an average annual rate of 2.1%.
- Growth is expected to be concentrated in regions with larger urban centres, especially the Edmonton‑Calgary Corridor.
- By 2046, 4 out of 5 Albertans are projected to be living in the 3 census divisions that make up this region, CD 6 (Calgary), CD 8 (Red Deer) and CD 11 (Edmonton), up from 76% in 2017.
- Except for CD 4 (Hanna), CD 7 (Stettler) and CD 13 (Whitecourt), positive population growth is expected in all regions of the province. However, growth is projected to be very small in CD 3 (Pincher Creek), CD 15 (Banff), and CD 14 (Edson).
Chart 1: Alberta Population Projections, 1972-2046
The following reports are for 2018–2046 and were released on July 3, 2018:
- Highlights (PDF, 90 KB)
- Population projections, 2018-2046 (PDF, 1.5 MB)
- Methodology and Assumptions (PDF, 496 KB)
- Archive of previous reports
Data tables: Alberta population projections
The following files are for 2018-2046 and were released on July 3, 2018:
- Population projections data tables – Alberta, Census Divisions and Economic Regions
(Excel and CSV format)
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 1996–2017 (estimated) and 2018–2046 (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, 2018.
Chart 2: Alberta Population by Age and Sex (Thousands), 2017 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 2017 and 2046.
Animated population projection pyramids for Alberta
- Alberta – medium growth (reference scenario)
- Alberta – all growth assumptions (medium, high and low growth)
Animated population projection pyramids for 19 Census Divisions
- See individual maps of the 19 Census Divisions (boundaries as of 2011 Census of Canada)
- Census Divisions – medium growth (reference scenario)
- Census Divisions – high growth
- Census Divisions – low growth
Animated population projection pyramids for 8 Economic Regions
- See individual maps of the 8 Economic Regions (boundaries as of 2011)
- Economic Regions – medium growth (reference scenario)
- Economic Regions – high growth
- Economic Regions – low growth
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: population change components
- Components of Growth (XLSX, 156 KB) (updated quarterly)
- Life expectancy in Alberta, at birth and age 65 (October 18, 2017)
- Fertility rates – Alberta and 19 Census Divisions (October 2, 2017)
- Mobility (migrants) – Alberta, 19 Census Divisions and 8 Economic Regions
(March 26, 2018 and September 29, 2017)
- Vital statistics (births and deaths) – Alberta, 19 Census Divisions and 8 Economic Regions
(March 26, 2018 and September 27, 2017)
Demographic spotlight reports
Demographic profiles and information about the population, such as:
- age cohorts
PDF reports: demographic spotlights
- Interprovincial Employees in Alberta: industrial profile by major region of origin (March 28, 2017)
- A profile of interprovincial employees in Alberta – 2012 update (September 21, 2016)
- Demographic Trends in Alberta's Economic Regions (December 9, 2011)
- The visible minority population: recent trends in Alberta and Canada (August 31, 2011)
- Fertility in Alberta (June 10, 2011)
- Migration trends in census divisions: Fort McMurray, Calgary and Edmonton (March 11, 2011)
- Mortality in Alberta (December 17, 2010)
- Census families in Alberta and Canada (July 28, 2010)
- International migration in Alberta (December 21, 2009)
- Interprovincial migration patterns in Alberta (September 26, 2009)
- Non-permanent residents in Alberta (May 21, 2009)
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
Toll free: 310-0000 before the phone number (in Alberta)
General OSI enquiries
Hours: 8:15 am to 4:30 pm (open Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays)
Toll free: 310-0000 before the phone number (in Alberta)
Contact the Treasury Board and Finance Spokesperson.