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Census 2016: Which local cities and neighbourhoods grew the most?
Published Wednesday, February 8, 2017 2:25PM EST Last Updated Wednesday, February 8, 2017 6:55PM EST
For the first time in history, more people are living in the City of Guelph than in the City of Cambridge.
That’s one of the local revelations from 2016 census data made public Wednesday by Statistics Canada.
Others include Waterloo’s population moving into six figures for the first time, North Dumfries’ hitting the 10,000 mark, and two Perth County townships being the only local municipalities to see their populations fall from 2011 levels.
Statistics Canada focuses most of its analysis on census metropolitan areas, or CMAs – geographic areas which do not necessarily correspond to municipal boundaries.
By that measure, the Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo, Guelph and Woodstock CMAs saw higher population growth than either Ontario or Canada as a whole, while Stratford saw a smaller growth rate and the population of the Brantford CMA actually fell slightly.
Census data can also be broken down by municipality, which tells a slightly different story.
In Brantford’s case, the census found that the population of the City of Brantford itself actually rose from 93,650 in 2011 to 97,496 in 2016, while Brant County’s population increased by three per cent.
Kitchener’s population grew by 6.4 per cent and Waterloo’s by 6.3 per cent, hitting 233,222 and 104,986 respectively, while Cambridge saw its population rise by 2.5 per cent to 129,920.
The fastest-growing neighbourhood in the region was Waterloo's university district -- south of Columbia Street, east of the University of Waterloo, west of King Street and north of the uptown core.
The population there grew by 147.9 per cent over the five years. Other fast-growing neighbourhoods include southwest Kitchener (60.8 per cent), and Kitchener east of Lackner Boulevard and south of Otterbein Road (45.5 per cent).
Big growth in rural Waterloo Region saw three of the region’s four townships pass population milestones.
Woolwich (eight per cent increase) saw its population surpass 25,000, while Wilmot (6.9 per cent) climbed above 20,000 and North Dumfries (nine per cent) topped 10,000. Population growth in Wellesley was 5.1 per cent.
Guelph saw its population rise by slightly more than 10,000 people. The 8.3 per cent increase means that its official population now sits at 131,794.
Further down the Highway 401 corridor, Milton’s population grew by more than 30 per cent over the five-year period.
The growth wasn’t quite as robust in Wellington County, where Erin led the way with a 6.2 per cent population increase. Centre Wellington also outpaced the national average, as its population rose by 5.6 per cent.
Puslinch saw a 4.4 per cent increase, while the population jumped by four per cent in Minto and 3.8 per cent in both Wellington North and Guelph/Eramosa.
In Guelph itself, the highest rates of growth were seen in the neighbourhood bordered by Victoria Road, Eastview Road, Watson Parkway and Speedvale Avenue (72.4 per cent) and the downtown core (36 per cent).
Woodstock’s population grew at the same rate as Guelph’s, with the result being a total of 40,902 residents.
Elsewhere in Oxford County, Ingersoll added five per cent to its population, which now sits at 12,757, while populations rose by 4.2 per cent in East Zorra-Tavistock, 3.7 per cent in Tillsonburg, 3.6 per cent in Norwich, 1.6 per cent in South-West Oxford, one per cent in Zorra and 0.5 per cent in Blandford-Blenheim.
Stratford was relatively low on the growth scale, with a 1.8 per cent increase bumping its population up to 31,465.
Higher growth was seen in St. Marys (up 9.2 per cent), North Perth (four per cent) and Perth East (2.1 per cent), while West Perth lost 0.6 per cent of its population and Perth South’s fell by 4.6 per cent.
Other parts of southern Ontario to lose population between 2011 and 2016 include Owen Sound, Meaford, Sarnia, Chatham-Kent, Leamington, and rural areas around London and Sarnia.
The census found that Canada’s population grew by five per cent between 2011 and 2016, and stood at 35,151,725 on census day.
Ontario’s population rose by 4.6 per cent to 13,448,494 – more than five million more people than live in Canada’s second-most populous province, Quebec.
Over the next year, Statistics Canada will release other data gleaned from the 2016 census, looking at everything from languages spoken across the country to education and income levels.
With files from The Canadian Press