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Data lens: 2021 census shows overall but uneven population growth in Calgary

Statistics Canada has begun releasing data on population and dwellings this week from the census performed in 2021.

According to the agency, Calgary increased in population by 5.5 per cent from 2016. The population grew by 67,564 people, from 1,239,220 to 1,306,784. In comparison Alberta’s second largest city, Edmonton, grew by 77,811 persons which was a 8.3 per cent change.

The growth rate for central municipalities across the country—the cities that census municipal areas are named after—grew by 5.5 per cent.

Overall the province of Alberta grew by 4.8 per cent.

Calgary saw the largest increases in population in the communities on the edge of the four quadrants of the city. Compared to the same census areas as 2016, the far Northeast area of Calgary, which contains the new communities such as Saddle Ridge, Savannah, and Skyview Ranch, saw a 94.6 per cent increase. That area of the city saw an increase from 27,138 to 52,806 people.

Northeast Calgary also saw some of the larger declines, by percentage, in population within the city. Rundle, Temple, and Whitehorn all saw decreases ranging from -4.1 per cent to -9.7 per cent.

Population change by census aggregate areas for Calgary

Solid lines on this map denote ward boundaries. Dotted lines denote census aggregate dissemination area boundaries.

To see a more detailed view of the city's infrastructure compared to the census aggregate areas, select the option "OpenStreetMap" from the upper right hand corner selection box. To close the mini-map, click the arrow button.

Ward 11's population largely declined. Meadowland Park and Windsor Park had the largest increase at 1.5 per cent, while Mayfair, Kelvin Grove, Eagle Ridge, and Chinook Park had a -8.3 per cent decline.

Calgary's Downtown and Beltline saw double digit percentage increases in population, ranging from 19.9 per cent to 24.5 per cent. Overall in 2021, Calgary had the fourth densest downtown by population with 7,778 people per square kilometre. This was 1.6x the density of Edmonton's downtown.

Two of Calgary's closest neighbour municipalities were among the top 25 communities with the highest population growth. Cochrane saw an increase in population by 24.5 per cent, and Airdrie saw an increase of 20.3 per cent. Canmore had a more modest growth at 14.3 per cent.