How is Edmonton Growing?

On August 19th, the City presented and released the first Annual Growth Monitoring Report (2014).   The Report provides analysis of trends and data about how Edmonton has been growing over recent years and decades.   The Report is the work of many partners and it will help to serve many different needs.  For folks who want an easy snapshot of how we’re growing infographics and fact sheets are available.  For those who want to dig in a little deeper,  there are technical reports and Open Data sets to explore.

So what did we learn through the 2014 Report and what are the highlights?

Edmonton’s growth is propelled by a strong Alberta economy.  Throughout our history there have been rapid periods of growth which increased our population, changed our boundaries and influenced the shape of our communities. This period is no exception.

We are young, dynamic and diverse.   Edmonton is attracting young families, newcomers from the rest of Alberta, Canada and beyond.  Our City is growing!

Growth is complex, knowing where growth is happening is important to the decisions we make.

The Report shows us that Growth has not been uniform all over Edmonton over the past four decades or even over the past year. The core neighbourhoods have experienced a population gain, mature areas lost population, while established and developing neighbourhoods have gained in population since 1971.

Why is that?  This can be explained by the neighbourhood  lifecycle. The life cycle we usually hear most about is the human life cycle, which has four stages:  birth, growth, maturity and death.   A neighbourhood too goes through a similar life cycle.  When the neighbourhood is young, it attracts young families with children, the streets are vibrant, the schools are full, neighbourhood commerce is striving, and then the neighbourhood stabilizes for a while.   After a period of time the children in those families grow up and leave home and the population ages and shrinks overall.  Then neighborhoods reach a critical point, they either continue to experience decline, stabilize or begin to enjoy revitalization and re-population. As Edmonton grows and our mature neighbourhoods age, we have some key  opportunities to help keep them vibrant.  One such way is finding opportunities for infill development which provides homes for new families and arrivals (link to infill blog post).

Did you know that:

  • Edmonton over the last one hundred years has grown from a small municipal population of 53,611 people to a big city of 877,926 (2014 census).
  • In 2013, net migration to the Edmonton region reached an estimated 38,000 people. Approximately 41% arrived from other parts of the country, 29% arrived internationally, 11% came from other areas within the province, and 19% were comprised of non-permanent residents such as the mobile workforce, students, refugees, and people with  temporary work permits. Edmonton’s vacancy rate fell to 1.4% in the first half of 2014.
  • Edmonton’s single largest population cohort is the “echo-boom” generation, which are people in their mid- 20s to early 30s, while the largest cohort in surrounding  communities is the “baby-boom” generation of people in their mid-50’s and early 60’s.
  • Core neighbourhoods have added over 11,000 new residents over the last 40 years,  all of which occurred as a result of population  growth in the last decade.
  • Mature neighbourhoods have experienced a total population decline of over 73,000 people in the last 40 years.
  • Over the last decade, established neighbourhoods experienced a loss of over 6,300 children and teenagers between the  ages of 0-19 and a significant increase of adults in the baby-boom generation of ages 50-64.
  • Developing neighbourhoods attracted 113,250 people between 2001-2011

These are just some of the tidbits of information available through the 2014 Annual Growth Report. As more data and analysis becomes available over the coming year it will be published and shared broadly. Interested in learning more? Come take a look!

Our Growing City: 2014 Annual Growth Monitoring Report

Find more facts about the way Edmonton is growing: http://www.edmonton.ca/city_government/urban_planning_and_design/growth-coordination-strategy.aspx

Check out the Growth Monitoring Report:
http://www.edmonton.ca/city_government/documents/Growth_Monitoring_Report_2014.pdf

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About the Author
Lara Arjan
Lara Arjan is Principal Planner with the Growth Analysis Unit. Prior to working for the City of Edmonton she managed youth civic engagement programs in ​the Middle East & North Africa. She also worked for the United Nation​s Development Program and the US Department of States on environmental issues.
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