Manitoba's population soared by 15,700 people in the past year — the second-highest level since record keeping in the province began in 1971.

As a result of the surge, Manitoba's population is now 1,254,700, according to Statistics Canada figures released Tuesday morning.

This recent gain, measured from October 2010 to October 2011, puts Manitoba above the national average for the third consecutive year, according to Peter Bjornson, entrepreneurship, training and trade minister.

Although some people left the province in that same time span, the net gain is nearly 10,000 more individuals moving into Manitoba, Bjornson noted.

That nearly matches last year's record total of 10,238.

The main driver of inflow was the record arrival of 15,770 immigrants from around the world, he said.

"The provincial nominee program continues to be a great success.  It now accounts for three-quarters of all new immigrants," said Bjornson.