Edmonton is the capital of the province of Alberta in Canada The city is located on the North Saskatchewan River in the center of the Edmonton Capital Region, and it is the northernmost city in North America with a metro population of at least one million. In 2014, Edmonton had an estimated population of 835,000, which makes it the second-largest city in Alberta and the 5th largest municipality of Canada.
The urban population of Edmonton is estimated at 980,000. The Edmonton census metropolitan area (CMA) has a population estimated at 1.8 million, of which 70% live in the city proper. This is the 6th largest CMA by population in Canada.
City Size and Population Density
The metro area has a population density of just 123 people per square kilometer (319/sq mi), while the city of Edmonton has a density of 1,186 people per square kilometer (3,074/sq mi). The city proper has a total surface area of approximately 685.25 square kilometers.
According to the 2011 Census, the city of Edmonton was 50.2% female and 49.8% male with an average age of 36. Edmontonians of European ancestry accounted for the largest ethnic group, with common ancestries including English, Scottish, German, Irish, Ukrainian, Polish, and French.
The 2011 census found the racial and ethnic composition of Edmonton was:
- White: 64.7%
- South Asian: 7.2%
- Chinese: 6.2%
- Filipino: 4.6%
- Black: 3.8%
- Southeast Asian: 1.9%
- Latin American: 1.7%
- Arab: 1.7%
- West Asian: 0.8%
- Korean: 0.6%
- Japanese: 0.3%
- Other visible minority: 0.3%
- Multiple visible minorities: 0.8%
- Aboriginal: 5.3% (2.7% Metis, 2.4% First Nations, 0.1% Aboriginal, 0.1% multiple Aboriginal identities)
In terms of religion among the population, just over 31% of the population is Protestant, followed by 29% Catholic. One-quarter of Edmontonians claim no religion. Other groups include: other Christian (3.9%), Islam (2.9%), Christian Orthodox (2.6%), Buddhist (2.1%), Sikh (1.4%), Hindu (1.1%), and other (0.3%).
The area of Edmonton was first settled as early as 12,000 BC. The first European to explore the area is believed to be Anthony Henday in 1754 while working for the Hudson's Bay Company. His job led him across the Canadian Prairies to establish contact with the aboriginal population to develop a fur trade. In 1795, Fort Edmonton was built along the river as a significant trading post for the HBC.
The new settlement began to grow quickly after the Canadian Pacific Railway came through in 1885, along with the Calgary & Edmonton Railway six years later, both of which brought entrepreneurs and settlers from eastern Canada, Britain, the United States and elsewhere in the world. A few years later, many participated in the Klondike Gold Rush and passed through the region.
Edmonton was incorporated as a town in 1892 with 700 people, and then as a city in 1904 with a population of about 8,350. It became the capital of Alberta a year later. During the early 20th century, Edmonton grew quickly and eventually extended south of the North Saskatchewan River. The real estate boom ended just before World War I and the population declined sharply from 72,000 in 1914 to under 54,000 in 1916, in large part due to recruitment for the Canadian army and low-income families moving to subsistence farms. The city eventually recovered in the 1920s and 30s and began to grow rapidly once more.
Edmonton Population Growth
Population growth in Edmonton has surpassed the national growth rate for more than seven years, even as most of the country fell into an economic tailspin. Between 2006 and 2011 alone, the city and its metropolitan area grew by over 12%, well above the national growth rate of 5.9%.
Edmonton is currently making plans to annex 156 square kilometers of land from the town of Beaumont and Leduc County, which would increase the city's size by 22%. The city is very much in need of more land to sustain this strong population growth. It's estimated that the current land supply in the city will only last 15 to 25 more years. By 2044, the city expects it will have another 650,000 residents.