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Alberta’s population surged by record-setting 202,000 people. Here’s where they all came from

Alberta smashed population-growth records in the past year, mainly due to people moving to the province from across Canada and around the world.

The province’s population surged to just over 4.8 million as of Jan. 1, according to new estimates released Wednesday by Statistics Canada.

That’s an increase of 202,324 residents compared with a year earlier, which marks — by far — the largest annual increase on record.

Alberta also broke a national record in 2023 for interprovincial migration, with a net gain of 55,107 people.

“This was the largest gain in interprovincial migration nationally since comparable data became available in 1972,” Statistics Canada said in a release.

Most of the interprovincial migrants came from Ontario and British Columbia.

Statistics Canada estimates that 38,236 Ontarians moved to Alberta last year, versus 14,860 Albertans who moved to Ontario, for a net gain of 23,376 people.

Similarly, an estimated 37,650 British Columbians moved to Alberta, compared to 22,400 Albertans who moved to B.C., for a net gain of 15,250.

All told, interprovincial migration accounted for 27 per cent of Alberta’s population growth over the past year.

That put it just ahead of permanent immigration, which accounted for 26 per cent, and well ahead of natural population increase (more births than deaths), which accounted for eight per cent.

The largest component, however, was temporary international migration.

Non-permanent residents from other countries accounted for 39 per cent of the province’s population growth in the past year, reflecting a national trend.

Canada’s population reached 40,769,890 on Jan. 1, according to Statistics Canada estimates, which is up 3.2 per cent from a year ago.

“Most of Canada’s 3.2-per-cent population growth rate stemmed from temporary immigration in 2023,” Statistics Canada noted.

“Without temporary immigration, that is, relying solely on permanent immigration and natural increase (births minus deaths), Canada’s population growth would have been almost three times less (1.2 per cent).”

Alberta’s population, meanwhile, grew by 4.4 per cent year-over-year.

Alberta now represents 11.8 per cent of the country’s population, its largest proportion on record. 

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