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City population increases by 2,000

If it seems like there’s more people around town these days, it’s because there are.

The 2016 Census, released yesterday by Statistics Canada, reveals that Prince George’s population has grown by more than 2,000 people, or nearly three per cent, since the previous census in 2011. The city’s population is now at 74,003, up from 71,974 in 2011.

This is good news for the city, says Mayor Lyn Hall, because it means an increased ability to attract investment as well as more money from the federal and provincial governments in instances where funding is distributed on the basis of population.

“These numbers also indicate that we are having success getting the message out about all the amenities our city offers and our high-quality and affordable lifestyle,” says Mayor Lyn Hall.

Hall said the population increase is the latest in a string of “good news stories” for the city, pointing to the 2016 Conference Board of Canada giving the city a strong economic outlook, an all-time high in private sector construction, and increasing enrolment at both UNBC and CNC as other positives in the city.

Population growth was somewhat of an issue in the last civic election as mayoral candidate Don Zurowski campaigned on getting the city’s population to 100,000. Hall agreed that population growth was key, but was more pragmatic on what might actually be achieved.

Nationally, there were 35,151,728 people who reported living in Canada on Census Day, May 10, 2016.

The population count in 2016 was 10 times greater than in 1871, when the first census after Confederation recorded 3.5 million people in Canada. By 1967, when Canadians were toasting 100 years since Confederation, that number had grown to 20.0 million (1966 Census).

Over the years, Canadians have been trekking west. In 1871, most Canadians lived in the four founding provinces of Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, while Western Canada was sparsely populated. By 2016, close to one-third of the population lived in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia.

The number of people living in British Columbia also increased more rapidly than the national average, up 5.6 per cent from 2011 to 2016.

For the first time since joining Confederation, all three Prairie provinces recorded the highest rates of provincial population growth from 2011 to 2016.

Population growth accelerated in Alberta and Manitoba ― the only two provinces to post higher growth rates from 2011 to 2016 compared with the previous intercensal period.

Alberta (+11.6%) had the fastest growth rate among the provinces, up from 10.8 per cent from 2006 to 2011. This was more than double the national average. Alberta also recorded the highest growth among provinces during the two previous intercensal periods.

Manitoba’s population increased 5.8 per cent from 2011 to 2016, posting a higher growth rate than the national average for the first time in 80 years. Most of the gain was due to stronger international migration.

In Saskatchewan, the population rose 6.3 per cent from 2011 and 2016. The province’s population growth rate was above the national average for the second consecutive intercensal period.

The four western provinces were the only provinces to record population growth rates higher than the national average. As a result of this growth, almost one-third (31.6 per cent) of Canadians lived in the West in 2016, the largest share on record. British Columbia accounted for the largest proportion (13.2 per cent), followed by Alberta (11.6 per cent), Manitoba (3.6 per cent) and Saskatchewan (3.1 per cent).

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