London is one of the fastest growing cities in Canada, StatsCan figures show
London's population growth has lagged behind other Canadian cities since the 1990s
The London region's population is growing at a rate the city hasn't seen in 25 years, new Statistics Canada data shows.
The population grew by 2.4 per cent in 2017-2018 in the London CMA, which includes St. Thomas and Strathroy.
"It's quite striking. It's really something to see," said Don Kerr, a demographer who teaches at King's University College.
"This is a growth rate we haven't seen in 25 years. Last time we saw something like this was back in 1990. Our city's population growth has lagged behind other cities' growth in Canada overall."
London is the fifth-fastest growing municipality in Canada, behind Peterborough, Kitchener-Waterloo, Ottawa, and Windsor.
"We have some data on what might be responsible," Kerr said. "What's interesting to see is that we gained quite a few people through intra-provincial migration — migration from other parts of the province, more so than we have over past years. We could be getting the spillover of Toronto's growth."
London grew at a faster rate than Toronto, which grew by two per cent in 2017-2018.
"We're gaining people from other parts of the province, certainly, but we're also seeing people who are in Canada temporarily, refugee claimants, people on work visas, and international students. There was a net gain of about 5,000 of people from that category, which is up quite a bit," Kerr said.
"It's really the migration that's driving our growth, both international and intra-provincial, within our province."
The London CMA was growing at a fairly robust pace in the 1980s, with a growth rate of 2.7 per cent in 1990-1991, but the recession stopped that in its tracks. By 1992-1993, the growth rate was down to one per cent and only hovered at that rate and below until 2015-2016.