Why Alberta still has the fastest-growing population in Canada
Babies, immigrants, and high wages help explain the growth
Alberta's recession is into its second year, but the province still has the fastest-growing population in the country, according to Statistics Canada.
In the first three months of 2016, Alberta's population grew by 0.4 per cent, faster than Canada as a whole and any other individual province. Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Ontario were just behind Alberta, with growth between 0.3 and 0.4 per cent.
So, what's going on?
More than a third of that was natural growth, meaning babies. Alberta's population skews young, meaning there are more young people to have children. There were 14,240 babies born in the province, 15 per cent of the total babies born in Canada over that period. Alberta has roughly 11 per cent of Canada's population.
In British Columbia, with a slightly larger population than Alberta, there were only 10,800 births. On the flip side, because there are proportionally fewer seniors in Alberta, there were also fewer deaths. B.C had 9,384 deaths in the quarter, while Alberta had just 6,619.
Statistics Canada said that Canada saw its largest influx ever of international immigrants in the quarter, 86,216, a large number of whom were Syrian refugees.
Alberta's share of that number was 12,050, or nearly 14 per cent of the total.
But Albertans were also leaving
British Columbia was the largest recipient of Albertans in the quarter, with more than 7,000 moving one province west.
"So, we have a lot of people coming in and a lot of people moving out," said Trevor Tombe, an economist with the University of Calgary.
It may seem counter-intuitive that Alberta is continuing to grow at a decent clip, but the province is still holding on to some of its pre-recession perks. The average weekly wage is still the highest in the country, and many parts of the economy are still chugging away.
"There are a lot of things working in Alberta's favour," said Tombe.