How do the Saskatchewan 2011 Canadian Census Statistics Compare to History?
The latest census to be taken was completed in 2011. The results showed that Saskatchewan has shown an increase in population. What’s most exciting is you can look a young person in the eye and say . . . ‘It’s as good, or better, here.’” said Kent Smith-Windsor president of the Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce, “This is a pretty amazing growth cycle. It has the potential to be truly historic.”
Saskatchewan’s growth increased 6.7% from the previous census in 2006. Of this population 60.9% lived within one of the “Census metropolitan areas”, namely Saskatoon, Regina, Prince Albert, Moose Jaw, Lloydminster, North Battleford, Yorkton, Swift Current of Estevan. Saskatoon and Lloydminster saw the largest growth spurt. Saskatoon, the largest CMA, was enumerated at 260,600 persons and the CMA of Regina, a population of 210,556.
“Saskatchewan has gone from a province where people were moving out, to a province where people are choosing to stay and moving in,” Premier Brad Wall said in a statement. That is because of our growing economy, plenty of job opportunities and our great quality of life.” said Premier Brad Wall, “Saskatchewan is simply the best place in Canada to live, to work, to raise a family and to build a life. More and more people are now discovering that and it is why our population is growing.”
To put the 2011 census into context with historical data for the genealogist. Regina, the capital city of Saskatchewan has a 2011 population of 193,100 making it the second largest city of the province. However in 1901 its population was 2,249 making it the largest city of the area now known as Saskatchewan. This trend continued, and Regina remained the largest city with a population of 6,100 (1906) 30,213 (1911) and 26,127 (1916). Beginning as Pile O’ Bones in 1882, Regina became both incorporated as a town and the territorial capital of the North-West Territories in 1883, a city in 1903 and the provincial capital in 1905.
The current largest city of Saskatoon has a population of 222,189 in 2011 compared to 113 in 1901, and 3,011 in 1906. Saskatoon became a city in 1906 with a population of 4,500, by amalgamating the communities of Saskatoon, Riversdale, and Nutana. Saskatoon meanwhile showed a population of 3,011 (1906), 12,004 (1911) and 21,048 (1916) behind Regina’s population of the early 1900’s.
Prince Albert, one of the fastest growing settlements of the late 1800s was enumerated at 1,785 in 1901. The third largest city in Saskatchewan has a 2011 population of 35,129. The city’s growth rate (2.9%) was below both the provincial (6.7%) and national average (5.9%). As early as 1876, Prince Albert had a booming population of 750 persons, and 8,500 cattle and horses. Prince Albert was formerly the capital (1882-1905) of the District of Saskatchewan, a regional administrative division of what then constituted the Northwest Territories. The District of Saskatchewan, NWT comprised a central area of present day Saskatchewan extending as far south as Saskatoon, and as far north as Prince Albert. Beginning as the Isbister Settlement, Nisbet Mission and Porter Town, Prince Albert incorporated as a town in 1885 and as a city in 1904. In 1879, it was considered that 40-50 days was good timing for a trip from Winnipeg, Manitoba to Prince Albert traveling on average 20 miles per day. In the early 1900s travel along Red River Cart trails was abandoned in favour of the railway lines for transportation.
Moose Jaw was the third city of (present day) Saskatchewan in 1901 with a population of 1,558. Moose Jaw remained the third largest city through 1906 (6,249), 1911 (13,823) and 1916 (16,934). Moose Jaw incorporated as a city in 1903, and is now the province’s fourth largest city with a population of 33,274 in 2011 up from 32,132 in 2006. In 1880, when John Macoun traveled the Moose Mountains, the present site of Moose Jaw was called the Souris Plains.
Between 1876 and 1883, Battleford was the territorial capital of the Northwest Territories, and home to the North-West Mounted Police. The Battlefords refers to both Battleford and North Battleford who are directly across from each other on either bank of the North Saskatchewan River. Battleford had a burgeoning population of 609 by 1901, and 4,065 in 2011. North Battleford was not large enough to be enumerated in 1901, and in 2011 had grown to 13,888. By 1911 North Battleford surpassed Battleford in size 2,100 persons to 1,335, continuing in 1916 3,148 to 1,436 persons.
Fort Livingstone, North-West Territories was the territorial capital 1876–1877. This site near Pelly, Saskatchewan was sometimes referred to as Fort Pelly or Swan River. Currently it has no population, only a plaque declaring it a provincial heritage site.
The 1881 Swift Current settlement blossomed following the arrival of the rail over the years 1882-1883 in the midst of a ranching community. Swift Current had a population of 121 in 1901, was able to incorporate as a village in 1903, a town in 1907 with a population of 550, a city in 1914 and recorded a 1916 population at 3,181. The city of Swift Current currently (2011) is the sixth largest in the province, population 15,503 and the eighth largest provincial Census Metropolitan Area (CMA), population 12,973.
Estevan was incorporated as a village in 1899, and later became a town in 1906. On March 1, 1957, Estevan acquired the status of a city, which, in Saskatchewan terms, is any community of 5,000 or more. Estevan census agglomeration 2011 population, 12,973 showed a huge growth of 9.2% up from 2006 and it population of 11,883. The city of Estevan proper showed a population of 11,054 persons up from 10,084.
Lloydminster, the boundary city straddles both Saskatchewan and Alberta. As a Census Agglomeration, Lloydminster is the fifth largest community (population 30,798) compared to other CMA’s of Saskatchewan. The Census Agglomeration of Lloydminster includes both parts of the city, as well as the rural municipality of Wilton No. 472, the Town of Lashburn, Saskatchewan, and the Village of Marshall, Saskatchewan. However, the Saskatchewan portion of the city proper accounted for a population of 12,766 persons. In 1916, the Saskatchewan portion of Lloydminster was 494 persons, up from 1911 (441) and 1906 (389).
The other current cities of Saskatchewan are Melfort (5,576), Humboldt (5,678), Martensville (7,716), Meadow Lake (5,045) , Melville (4,517), and Flin Flon (229 in the SK portion) is also included though the majority of its population is in Manitoba.
Altogether Saskatchewan’s 16 cities amount to a population of 588,823 out of a provincial population of 1,033,381 in 2011. 57% of the population resides in the cities.
Compare this to the 1916 statistic when Saskatchewan’s six cities (Moose Jaw, North Battleford, Regina, Saskatoon, Swift Current and Weyburn) had a combined population of 79,931, an urban population of 176,297 out of a total provincial population of 647,835. The city population amounts for approximately 12% of the population, and the urban population 27%. The population of Saskatchewan in 1906 came to 257,763 with a city population of 20,778 and an urban population of 48,642. This makes the city population about 8% and an urban population of 18%. Saskatchewan became a province in 1905, population comparisons before this time would be based on estimates from the Northwest Territory enumerations.
The shift from rural to urban occurred in the depression years of the dirty thirties when people vacated their farms in vast number seeking economic stability in the cities. The end of World War II saw an increase in vehicles, paved highways, consolidated urban schools, and improved agricultural machinery such as the combine. Farms became larger, the rural population continued to decline, and the population continued to shift towards the cities and towns.
BC and Alberta growth lead to rise in west. Saskatchewan sees turnaround – Postmedia News – The National Post Feb 8, 2012 by Jordan Press.
9 Fascinating facts from the 2011 Census ~ When it comes to the census, Saskatchewan is Canada’s comeback kid. Kevin O’Connor CBC News Feb 9, 2012
Population Trends, Saskatchewan Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan. Alan Anderson. Canadian Plains Research Centre, University of Regina. 2006.
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- Saskatchewan sees 6.7% census growth (cbc.ca)
- Census highlights (vancouversun.com)
- Saskatchewan turnaround, B.C. and Alberta growth lead to rise in West (vancouversun.com)