Regina sees population slow, Estevan drops 6%

According to new data from the 2021 census from Statistics Canada, Regina saw its population increase by 5.3% to 249,217 between 2016 and 2021.

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Mayor Sandra Masters thinks Regina’s current growth rate won’t reduce it as the city plans to reach 300,000 residents by 2030.

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Regina’s population has continued to grow, although at a much slower rate than between 2011 and 2016. According to new 2021 Census data from Statistics Canada, the city saw its population increase by 5.3% for reach 249,217 between 2016 and 2021. This is a drop from the 11.8% increase seen from 2011 to 2016.

“Obviously we’re not going to meet our growth targets at this rate,” Masters said.

Masters said the growth rate shows the importance of providing “mortgage jobs” and economic development, as well as infrastructure development. She believes Regina is well positioned given the amount of private investment targeting the city, such as the recent announcement of a $2 billion renewable diesel and canola crushing facility.

The population of downtown Regina decreased by 1.6%. Masters said many cities that Regina competes with have strong downtown revitalization plans.

“Everything we do doesn’t work and requires not just a renewed look at goals and so on, but a real, accelerated look, and concrete things happening,” Masters said.

Saskatoon saw its population increase by 7.6% to 317,480 people. This growth rate increased from 12.5% ​​from 2011 to 2016. Weyburn saw its population increase slightly by 1.6%, as did Swift Current by 1.1%. Yorkton fell 0.3%.

The town of Estevan saw one of the largest population declines, with a 6% drop to 10,851 residents.

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Estevan Mayor Roy Ludwig said the news comes as no shock given the challenges facing the city’s three main economic drivers: oil and gas, agriculture and coal.

On the oil and gas side, Ludwig said the city has been suffering since 2014 given the drop in the price of oil. However, he said there were reasons for optimism with the rebound in the price of oil.

“We’ve had a feeling lately that the tide is turning on the oil and gas side and people are going to return to our community,” Ludwig said.

Moose Jaw saw a 0.7% decline in population, which was better than the 1.5% decline seen in the 2016 census. Still, Mayor Clive Tolley said he was surprised by the figure considering the amount of economic activity that takes place in the city.

“We meet weekly to discuss all kinds of different things that are happening in the community, and the community is pretty vibrant right now,” Tolley said.

Some developments underway in Moose Jaw include the construction of the Great Plains Generating Station, renovations at North 49 Foods at the former XL Beef Plant, and a new Canadian Tire store. Tolley said these projects will result in the creation of hundreds of new jobs which, in turn, will mean new residents.

Tolley said the city is trying to fill those jobs through immigration. The Rural and Northern Immigration Program approved 33 applicants in 2021 and 100 in 2022.

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