Calgary's population hits 1.15M people

Calgary gained almost 30,000 new residents last year. The newcomers are mostly young people who flocked to the city's fast-growing suburbs and brought the city's population up to 1.15 million.

Census shows birth rate and young migrants are fuelling Calgary's population growth

Calgary's population increased by almost 30,000 people last year, which is an annual growth rate of 2.6 per cent.

The results of the city census were announced Thursday by Mayor Naheed Nenshi.

More people moved to Calgary from April 2012 to April 2013 than moved away from the city, for a net population gain of 19,067 people.

The rest of the population increase was due to natural increase — the number of births over deaths — which amounted to 10,260 last year.

The city now has a population of 1.15 million people.

Fast-growing suburbs

Much of the population growth occurred in the Calgary's outskirts. The seven fastest-growing communities in the past year were Evanston, Auburn Bay, Cranston, Skyview Ranch, Panorama Hills, New Brighton, Copperfield and Aspen Woods.

However, a University of Calgary sociologist says the growth is not simply a story of urban sprawl.

"It was striking to me that some of the central city areas are continuing to grow at relatively rapid rates" said Kevin McQuillan, pointing to increasing population in Inglewood, Beltline, Chinatown and East Village.

McQuillan says it will be interesting to see if last month's flooding will have an impact on future growth in those areas.

"The flooding may, in at least some of those communities, make some people have second thoughts about it,"  McQuillan told CBC.

Vacancy rate falls

The census also indicates it is becoming harder to find housing in Calgary. Although the number of housing units continued to rise, the vacancy rate fell to 2.59 per cent.

Mayor Naheed Nenshi said the recent flooding has made a tight rental market even more difficult and he said city council is considering measures to make it easier for people to find housing in the city.

More than 68 per cent of Calgarians reported owning their homes, down slightly from the previous year.