Alberta population on track for biggest boom since 1914

Statistics Canada reports that Alberta saw a growth of 51,000 people in the first quarter of 2023. What does the rapid population increase mean for housing costs and city infrastructure? Bianca Millions finds out.

Alberta’s population is on track for the fastest growth the province has seen since 1914. Statistics Canada released the first quarter 2023 population statistics, reporting approximately 51,000 people moved to Alberta between January and March of 2023. A third of those coming from other Canadian provinces.

“The most expensive cities, Vancouver, Toronto, I know Vancouver’s hitting record rates for rents. So a lot of people are getting priced out of those big cities, and are looking for more affordability, so they may be migrating to cities like Calgary and Edmonton because they’re a little bit more affordable,” said Crystal Chen, a spokesperson with Zumper.

Rental prices for a one bedroom apartment in Edmonton have increased 13 per cent since last year. In Calgary, the same apartment has increased 32 per cent.

Chen says that housing costs will continue to rise as demand increases, and has tips for those moving to Alberta with the intention of finding a rental.

“Winter months are the best times, that’s typically when property managers price units at lower rates to fill vacancies before the holidays. And if you can, offer to sign a longer lease, landlords like that and you can lock in a rate for a longer time instead of bouncing around every year when rents may be going up,” said Chen.

Housing costs aren’t the only thing to consider as Alberta’s population booms. Professor of economics, Moshe Lander says that while the growth is proof of an attractive province, a concern could be the infrastructure of Alberta’s major cities.

“The not necessarily good news is that public services and infrastructure are not keeping pace, or are not prepared for that influx. So over time, and I mean in the next 5 to 10 years, this could potentially be a problem,” said Lander.

Lander says that with a rapidly increasing population, Edmonton and Calgary should plan for rapidly increasing infrastructure costs as well.

“The costs rise not linearly, they rise almost exponentially. To link up the outer regions of Edmonton to the center requires a lot more investment than hooking up, say, the adjacent downtown part of Edmonton,” said Lander.

“So there is a point where it’s going to become a problem, and I were the mayor of Winnipeg, I’d be rubbing my hands together saying, in about 10 years, if they don’t figure it out, I’m going to make a move to grab Albertans telling them to come to the east end of the prairies.”

Top Stories

Top Stories

Most Watched Today