The City of Edmonton recently released the results of the 2016 Edmonton Census along with the Annual Growth Monitoring Report (which reports on the previous year’s growth). I thought I’d provide a brief summary of the overall growth within the Capital Region, Edmonton and Ward 1.
Capital Region Growth:
The Capital Region’s expected population by 2044 will be approximately 2 million people, with an average growth rate of 1.3% per year. Edmonton has maintained the majority of housing starts within the Capital Region with 78% of the region’s total housing starts located in Edmonton. This is an increase of 11% from a 10 year average and estimates show that our City will require around 150,000 new housing units by 2040.
Edmonton also accounts for approximately 485,000 jobs in the Capital Region with increases expected as population rises. As the region grows, so too will the need to collaborate with other municipalities to ensure we provide consistent and equitable services to all residents. Have a look at the Capital Region Board website to find out more about the region’s future land-use development, regional transit systems, and infrastructure growth.
City of Edmonton Growth:
The City of Edmonton has experienced rapid population growth. Since 2009, our City has seen a population growth of just over 117,000 people – with 21,521 people in the last 2 years. In the past ten years, Edmonton has grown by about 6,600 net housing units per year (total of 65,984) with an average of 15% of that growth seen in the City’s Core and Mature neighbourhoods. However, most mature neighbourhoods see a net unit loss every year. Back in 2010, the City set out a goal to see 25% of all housing unit growth be located in the Core and Mature neighbourhoods, however the closest we’ve come to that goal was in 2011 with 19% growth. Residential development is monitored through building permits. Through building permits the annual number of new units, permit activity, and estimated construction value is tracked and assessed. New growth within these four categories shows that our developing neighbourhoods far outpace the other three neighbourhoods combined as shown in the pie graph.
Ward 1 Growth:
Since 2012, ward 1 has seen an overall growth in our total population from 64,547 people in 2012 to 71,340 people in 2016. That’s an increase of 6,793 people and is comparable to the population growth across our City. However, our mature communities are losing an average of 28 children aged 0-9 every year since 2009. When we look at our youth population aged 10-19, that number jumps to 31 youth every year since 2009. This is in sharp contrast to the adult population which continues to increase year to year, especially in our senior population aged 65 plus. When we compare these results with our newer developing neighbourhoods such as Secord and Suder Greens, results show the opposite is happening within our younger population. While no two neighbourhoods are the same, I’ve created a chart using 2016 census stats from a few different communities within Ward 1 to show the drastic population difference between our mature, established and developing communities.
Keep in mind that lifecycles of neighbourhoods are at play here. Neighbourhoods change as they go through a typical lifecycle process. Typically when first built, new neighbourhoods experience rapid population growth both in units per residential hectare, and in household size. They tend to stabilize for a period of time before experiencing population decline as children grow up and leave the household. At this point, neighbourhoods then experience a variety of transitions over time.
While there are many factors that contribute to the decline in population (smaller average family size, seniors aging in place longer, etc.) an important factor is the viability of the neighbourhood. If there is not a variety of housing options, nearby business/services and community schools within a neighbourhood, the desirability of the community declines as younger families search for more affordable and accessible communities to raise their children.
When we take a look at the density statistics of our mature neighbourhoods, we see that most of the Ward 1 mature communities experience a lower density rate than the City-wide average. The latest Edmonton Metropolitan Region Growth Plan recently released Minimum Greenfield Residential Density targets for the capital region. Our City has a minimum goal of 45 du/nrha in all newly developed areas of the city. If we look at the density statistics for our mature and established neighbourhoods, we see that in most areas the du/nrha is far less than our greenfield targets. With the exception of Glenwood and West Meadowlark Park, our density units have not increased significantly since 2009. It is important we continue to evolve our mature communities to provide both a variety of housing options and vital services for Edmontonians.
Co-authored by Kasey Machin and Andrew Knack