Statistics Canada has released its annual estimates for population growth and we’re happy to share that Waterloo – which includes the cities of Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge – has been ranked in the top three.
Last time we reported on population growth estimates, Waterloo was creeping up the charts at #6 with 9.9 per cent population growth from 2016 to 2021. And in previous single-year measures, we’ve ranked in the top five for the last five years.
Waterloo’s steady growth shows the strength of our ecosystem, even amid a global pandemic, and gives our community and prospective investors a lot to be excited about in the years to come.
Let’s review the numbers and see what’s behind Waterloo’s continued growth.
Over the year ending July 1, 2022, Canada’s census metropolitan areas (CMAs) grew 2.1 per cent or by approximately 574,000 people – the strongest pace of annual growth since 2001.
This was a 1.6 per cent increase over the year prior, when we experienced a lull in immigration due to border restrictions and many urban residents moving to smaller communities during the height of the pandemic.
You might think that people would have flocked to “big cities” like Toronto and Montreal once restrictions lifted and offices, events, and amenities started to open up again. But that wasn’t the case.
While these larger Canadian cities did experience growth, at the rate of 2.1 per cent and 0.9 per cent, respectively, there were three smaller communities that came out on top:
Our hats are off to Moncton and Halifax whose growth rates are more than twice that of Canada for the same period and represent the first time in at least twenty years that both the fastest growing CMAs are found in the Atlantic provinces.
But we wouldn’t be Waterloo EDC if we didn’t celebrate the continued growth of our region and all the reasons why so many growing businesses choose to locate, relocate or expand here.
What’s driving population growth in Waterloo?
It could be our dynamic and thriving tech ecosystem, which includes Google and local tech unicorns, ApplyBoard, Arctic Wolf, eSentire and Faire. Not to mention the next generation of tech companies coming up through hubs and incubators like Communitech and Velocity.
Or the fact that we have one of the largest manufacturing workforces in Canada and we’re home to the country’s largest robotics and automation cluster – with companies like Toyota, Clearpath Robotics and ATS Automation stationed here.
It might even be our globally renowned post-secondary institutions – the University of Waterloo, Wilfrid Laurier University and Conestoga College – which continue to produce high-quality tech talent and founders… and get accolades for doing so.
And it certainly helps that Waterloo is a key partner in the Toronto-Waterloo Corridor, the largest tech cluster in North America outside of Silicon Valley. Waterloo’s location and proximity to major markets makes it a perfect place for growing businesses and small tech talent.
We like to think it’s all of the above, plus all the other amenities and attractions that make Waterloo a great place to live, work and play.