Alberta projects population will reach about 6.4 million by 2046

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The provincial government is projecting Alberta’s population will reach nearly 6.4 million people by 2046 and become further concentrated within the Edmonton-Calgary Corridor.

The latest population and demographic projections for Alberta were published Friday by the Ministry of Treasury Board and Finance.

According to the province, projections are generated using three different growth scenarios while taking into consideration current fertility, mortality, and migration rates and past trends that are modified to account for possible future patterns.

The province releases population and demographic projections annually to help guide decision-making and long-term planning.

Alberta is expecting to add rough 1.9 million residents over the next 26 years at an average growth rate of 1.4 per cent.

“In the short term, net migration will be significantly lower than has been seen in the recent past, with population growth depressed by impacts of COVID-19 and the economic impacts of low oil prices,” the provincial population projection report read.

Those effects are expected to be felt until 2022, the report said.

Population growth over the next 26 years is expected to be driven mainly by international migration to Alberta.

SENIOR POPULATION TO NEARLY DOUBLE BY 2040

The population projections predict the number of seniors aged 65 and older to nearly double by 2040, with the number of seniors expected to increase from about 611,000 in 2020 to more than 1.1 million by 2040.

That translates to almost one-in-five Albertans being over the age of 65 by 2046.

The average age is forecasted to climb from 38.5 years in 2020 to 41.5 years by 2046.

Albertans are also expected to live longer. Current life expectancies for a girl born in Alberta is 83.9 years of age, while for a boy it is 79.2. Life expectancies are projected to grow to 87 years for females and 83.7 for males.

The province is projecting that life expectancy for those above the age of 65 will also increase.

A man reaching age 65 in 2020 is expected to live, on average, another 19.5 years, as compared to 22.3 years for women. By 2046, those figures are expected to increase to 21.7 years for men and 24.3 years for women.

The share of the population over 80 years old is expected to increase from just over three per cent in 2020 to about seven per cent by 2046.

By 2046, the census division including Hanna is expected to have the oldest population while Slave Lake’s census division is forecasted to have the youngest population in the province.

80% OF ALBERTA TO LIVE IN EDMONTON-CALGARY CORRIDOR BY 2046

The government’s population projections predict that by 2046, approximately 80 per cent of Alberta’s total population will live in the three census divisions that make up the Edmonton-Calgary Corridor.

That corridor includes the census divisions of Calgary, Red Deer, and Edmonton.

In comparison, last year’s population projection report only predicted 77 per cent of Albertans would call the Edmonton-Calgary Corridor home.

Every census division is expected to have positive population growth with the exceptions of Hanna, Stettler, and Whitecourt.

Banff, Pincher Creek, and Edson are expected to see “minimal growth.”

The census division of Wood Buffalo is expected to lose population until 2024 with “modest” levels of population growth forecasted to be reached between 2026 and 2028.