Calgary is located in Alberta, Canada where the Bow River and Elbow River meet in the south of the province. In 2014, Calgary had an estimated population of 1.16 million, which makes it the largest city in Alberta and the third-largest city in Canada.
The city proper of Calgary has a population of 1.16 million, while the Calgary census metropolitan area (CMA) has a population of 1.37 million, which makes it the 5th largest CMA in Canada.
City Size and Population Density
The city proper has a population density of 1,329 people per square kilometer (3,442/sq mi) spread over 825 square kilometers.
More than 25% of the population of Calgary belongs to a visible minority group, and the city ranks 3rd among major Canadian cities in terms of its proportion of visible minorities. 78% of the immigrants who have arrived in Calgary since 2001 belong to a visible minority group.
In 2011, the racial and ethnic composition of Calgary was:
- White: 67.3%
- Visible minority group: 30.1%
- Aboriginal population: 2.7%
Visible minority groups include:
- South Asian: 7.5%
- Chinese: 6.8%
- Filipino: 4.4%
- Black: 2.9%
- Southeast Asian: 1.9%
- Latin American: 1.8%
- Arab: 1.5%
- West Asian: 0.8%
- Korean: 0.8%
- Japanese: 0.5%
- Multiple visible minorities: 0.8%
There are over 200 ethnic origins in Calgary, with common ancestry groups including English, Scottish, Canadian, German and Irish.
In terms of religion, about 55% of the population is Christian, followed by 32% with no religion, Islam (5.2%), Sikh (2.6%), Buddhist (2.1%), Hindu (1.6%), and Jewish (0.6%).
Approximately 70% of residents use English only, with 1% using French and 25% using their native tongues after immigration to the city.
The area around Calgary was first inhabited by pre-Clovis people with a history dating back about 11,000 years ago, although it was occupied by several people when Europeans arrived, including the Blood, Blackfoot, Peigan and Tsuu T'ina First Nations peoples, all under the Blackfoot Confederacy. The first recorded European in the area was cartographer David Thompson in 1787, although the early settler did not arrive until 1873.
The site became Fort Brisebois, a post for the North-West Mounted Police (now the Royal Canadian Mounted Police), which was assigned to the area in 1875 to protect the fur trade. It was later renamed Fort Calgary in 1876 after Calgary on the Isle of Mull, Scotland.
Calgary became an agricultural and commercial hub beginning in the 1880s when the Canadian Pacific Railway reached the area. In 1996, the railway's headquarters moved from Montreal to Calgary. In 1894, the city was incorporated as the City of Calgary in what was then the North-West Territories.
Calgary's population began to increase quickly through 1914 when settlers the world over came to take advantage of the offer for free "homestead" land and thus ranching, and agriculture became an essential part of the economy for many years.
While oil was discovered in Alberta at the beginning of the 20th century, it did not become significant until vast reserves were discovered in 1947, which then put Calgary at the center of an oil boom, which sent the population from 272,000 in 1971 to 675,000 in 1989. The city has since diversified its economy, and its population has continued to grow.
Calgary Population Growth
Calgary had a population of 1,149,552 at the 2013 municipal census, a 2.6% increase over the 2012 population of 1.12 million. The Calgary CMA, meanwhile, has grown almost 13% in five years, the highest of any CMAs in the state. Just last year, Calgary's population hit the milestone of 1.15 million, adding nearly 30,000 people in a year. The primary source of the growth is international migration at 42%. Much of the increase in the region has been in the outskirts of Calgary, including communities like Aspen Woods, Copperfield, Skyview Ranch, and Cranston.
One of the most significant challenges the city now faces is a rapidly rising population with very little affordable housing. The problem is so bad, in fact, that last year there was a 1.3% vacancy rate for rental properties in Calgary, with the current situation bordering on a crisis. Despite this problem, Calgary's population will continue to grow rapidly in the coming years.