The population of Grande Prairie grew by just 1.5 per cent over the past five years. That’s according to preliminary data from the 2021 Census, released Wednesday by Statistics Canada.
Last year’s count showed 64,141 people living in the city, up from 63,166 in the 2016 census. It’s a stark contrast from the dramatic increase of 13.5 per cent seen between the federal censuses in 2011 and 2016.
Mayor Jackie Clayton says it’s encouraging to see more and more people make Grande Prairie their home.
“We’re happy to see the growth in the city. I personally expected to see a little bit more of an increase but the timing of the census impacts it in our opinion and also we’re seeing a positive growth rate in the city and county,” she says.
Grande Prairie remains the seventh-largest city in Alberta, behind Calgary, Edmonton, Lethbridge, Red Deer, Medicine Hat, and the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo.
A municipal census done in 2018 found 69,088 residents. The City of Grande Prairie had committed to doing its own census every two years but decided in 2021 to drop that initiative.
The 2021 census accounted for 27,551 private dwellings in the city, of which 24,816 have permanent residents. In the five years since the 2016 count, the city has added 1,347 private living spaces.
The data also shows a slight increase in population density for Grande Prairie, from 475.9 per square kilometre to 483.3. The census subdivision of Grande Prairie is 132.71 square kilometres.
“We’re happy to see that both the city and county are attracting more people. It shows us that the future of the Grande Prairie region is strong,” Clayton adds.
Across Alberta, the population increased by 4.8 per cent between 2016 and 2021. Data shows the number of people living in the province increased from roughly 4.07 million five years ago to more than 4.26 million last year.
Statistics Canada says the country’s population almost hit 37 million last year, growing at the fastest rate among G7 nations. It saw 5.2 per cent growth between 2016 and 2021, with just more than 36.9 million residents as of census day last year.