OTTAWA â€” For the first time in almost three generations, Manitobans can say their province has grown faster than the national average.
Census data released Wednesday shows that Manitoba’s population grew by 5.8 per cent between 2011 and 2016, bettering the growth rate recorded in the 2011 census and pushing the province’s population to almost 1.28 million.
The finding comes as a surprise to Laurent Martel, Statistics Canada’s director of demography.
Martel says the province has substantially increased its immigration levels over the last five years, in much the same way as neighbour Saskatchewan did leading up to the 2011 population count.
Prince Edward Island did the same, helping to push its population growth rate to 3.2 per cent in 2011.
However, keeping those levels sustained by encouraging recent immigrants to remain on the island has proven a challenge; the rate dropped to 1.9 per cent for the 2011-2016 census period.
Laurent said Saskatchewan has remained fairly successful at maintaining and building on its gains from the last census cycle, showing a growth rate of 6.3 per cent, compared with 6.7 per cent in 2011.
“Saskatchewan was in the same position as Manitoba is this time around, and the rate of growth in Saskatchewan remained fairly high this time around. It’s the second five-year-period where they’re above the national average,” he said.
“So in Saskatchewan the story was the immigrants went there and probably they stayed there and they are still are attracting a lot of immigrants. Manitoba might be the same story in five years from now.”
The Canadian Press