Over the last year, Alberta’s population increased by 3.25 per cent—nearly triple the national average (+1.1 per cent) and almost double that of the second-fastest growing province, Saskatchewan. British Columbia and Manitoba come in third and fourth, respectively, making the western provinces the four fastest growing populations in the country. Three of the Atlantic provinces lost population, and Ontario and Quebec continue to grow at less than 1.0 per cent annually.
The east-west split in population trends—and particularly the strong growth in Alberta—is being driven entirely by economics. Western Canada has a much better labour market which is luring interprovincial migrants who want work. With the lowest unemployment rates in the country, Saskatchewan (3.7 per cent) and Alberta (4.6 per cent) are the places to be if you’re looking for work.
In the first quarter of 2014 alone, Alberta gained over 24,000 people from other provinces (while about 15,000 moved out of Alberta). The net gain was 9,581, which puts the province on track for a total net gain of close to 40,000 interprovincial migrants this year.