Northeast and southeast communities reign supreme in massive population growth

CalgaryAccording to the 2014 civic census, Calgary has seen a record high in population growth from April 2013 to April 2014.

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi says this continues a trend of significant population growth that began when he first became mayor in 2010.

"In my time in this job we have experienced three of our four largest years of population growth," says Nenshi.

The census — released July 22 — states the city grew by about 38,000 people, making the number of Calgarians that call the city home nearly 1.2 million people. This is an increase of 3.33 per cent, which is similar to the population growth that was reported back in 2010.

Nenshi attributes the city's growth to a high number of births and the fact that more people are moving to the city.

This overall population growth has also led to major population increases in certain Calgary communities. The top communities that experienced the most growth in 2014 were:

• Saddleridge (2,373 new residents)
• Auburn Bay (2,242)
• Cranston (1,858)
• Skyview Ranch (1,759)
• Panorama Hills (1,384)
• Aspen Woods (1,095)
• Beltline (1,091)

Nenshi says the northeastern area, where Saddleridge is located, will see even more growth as time goes by.SaddleridgeAccording to the 2014 civic census, the north east community of Saddleridge was the leader in growth with an increase of about 2,370 new residents.

Photo by Paulina Liwski.

"That part of the northeast. one of our growth quarters in the city, grew very strongly in places like Saddleridge and Sky View Ranch," says Nenshi. "You'll see more growth in that neighbourhood and areas like Redstone, Cityscape and North Point over time." 

On the other hand, the communities of Elbow Park, Roxboro and Rideau Park saw a decrease in their populations. Elbow Park had 3,448 residents in 2013 and 3,126 residents in 2014 — a drop of 322 residents. Roxboro's population dropped 40 per cent from 405 people in 2013 to 243 people this year. Rideau Park's population slid from 648 to 498 people.

Nenshi attributes the population decline in these neighbourhoods to the June 2013 flood.

"We hope that is a temporary shift in population," says Nenshi. "It was interesting to note that the flood continues to have impacts on us in ways that not everyone might expect."

As well, Nenshi reaffirmed the June 2013 flood impacted vacancy rates in the city. Calgary saw its 2013 vacancy rate of 2.59 per cent drop to 2.01 per cent in 2014.

"It's moving in the wrong direction," says Nenshi. "It's getting tighter and so that is a real challenge for the city as a whole. Part of that has to do with the overall supply."

Calgary's ward growth

While every one of the city's 14 wards experienced overall population growth, the growth was particularly significant in Wards 12 and 3.

Ward 12, which is looked after by Coun. Shane Keating and is located in the southeast, grew to about 94,930 from 2013's total of about 86,880 residents.

Similarly, Ward 3, which is located in the northeast corner of Calgary and is overseen by Coun. Jim Stevenson, also grew to about 96,130 from last year's total of about 88,640 people.

Transportation

PeaceBridgeThe City of Calgary's population grew to about 1.2 million people in 2014 from last year's total of over 1.1 million. The growth this year signifies Calgary's single greatest growth in the city's entire history. 

Photo by Paulina Liwski
This census suggests more Calgarians are electing to make the commute to and from work using options rather than driving. There are large increases in the number of people carpooling, cycling and using city transit.

In 2011, 2,920 cyclists rode their bikes to work and in 2014 that number rose 83 per cent to about 5,370.

This year about 12,420 drivers are choosing to carpool compared to 8,620 in 2011.

The census states 69,780 people in Calgary are using transit to and from work compared to about 57,800 in 2011.

Census tabulation flub

In the 2013 census, data of about 7,000 preschool age children in Calgary's population was not counted. Therefore, the 2013 data had to be restated rather than put into the 2014 official tally of Calgarians living in the city.

"When we automated our processes one of the processes in automating it did not tabulate the children directly," says Barb Clifford, the city's returning officer.

"The school board brought it directly to my attention in last August. Unfortunately it was election time so we couldn't correct it until after the election," says Clifford.

"We went in and it didn't take us very long to find the population mistake of the school age children and we quickly corrected it."

Clifford says errors like this are rare.

"That's the first I've had in over 25 years."

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