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Waterloo is Canada’s Fastest-Growing Community

The latest population estimates from Statistics Canada are out, and Waterloo is on top. Learn what's behind the region's continued growth.

Waterloo is now Canada’s fastest-growing community, according to the latest data released by Statistics Canada. This rapid growth highlights the region’s appeal as a top destination for businesses and residents alike.

Last year, the numbers revealed that the Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) – which we’ll refer to as “Waterloo” in this article – was the third fastest-growing community in Canada.

One year later, with 38,519 new people calling Waterloo home, our population has outpaced other mid-sized cities and even larger metropolitan areas like Toronto, Calgary and Edmonton.

Let’s explore the data and uncover one of the key drivers behind Waterloo’s continued growth.

The Top 10 Census Metropolitan Areas (CMAs) in Canada

Population Growth 2024

Source: Statistics Canada. Table 17-10-0148-01 Population estimates, July 1, by census metropolitan area.

With a 6.15% growth rate – more than double Canada’s growth rate (3%) – Waterloo is certainly on target to reach almost a million people by 2051.

So, what’s behind the steady growth of our community? A deep and expanding talent pool.

What’s driving our growth? Talent.

Population growth naturally implies ‘more people.’ But what’s unique about Waterloo is the type of people who are joining our community. Many of them are highly skilled tech or manufacturing professionals or students who have come to Waterloo to build a career and lifestyle in a dense, diverse and dynamic community.

In turn, Waterloo has become a prime destination for international business expansion, where talent is plentiful and companies can feel confident in the ecosystem and community they’ve joined.

Here are just a few of the factors that contribute to the growth of our talent-rich community:

  • #1 Small Tech Talent Market: Waterloo is recognized as the #1 small tech talent market in North America according to CBRE. In fact, 1 in every 10 workers in Waterloo is employed in the tech sector. This concentration of tech talent fuels innovation and attracts businesses seeking a highly skilled workforce.
  • A Manufacturing Powerhouse: Waterloo has one of the largest manufacturing workforces in Canada. It’s home to the country’s largest robotics and automation cluster, with industry leaders such as Toyota, ATS Corporation and BWXT driving significant economic activity.
  • World-renowned Post-secondary Institutions: The University of Waterloo, Wilfrid Laurier University and Conestoga College produce a steady stream of qualified graduates. The influx of international students, particularly at Conestoga College over the last year, highlights Waterloo’s reputation as a leading educational hub.
  • Quality of Life and Diversity: Waterloo residents benefit from family-friendly amenities, robust public transportation and a mix of urban and rural living. The region’s rich cultural diversity, with 25% of residents born outside of Canada, brings opportunities for innovation and collaboration from a variety of places and backgrounds.

How we’ll continue to grow

As Waterloo continues to attract talent and investment, its future as a leading Canadian community looks brighter than ever. With rapid growth comes the need for careful consideration and strategic planning.

Local organizations and businesses will need to collaborate closely to create a balanced approach that supports economic growth while preserving the unique characteristics that make Waterloo so attractive.

Investing in housing, public transportation, public services, and amenities will be key to keeping pace with the growing population while maintaining our high quality of life.

Grand River Transit (GRT), for example, is already planning to add over 50,000 hours of new service in 2024 to meet growing demand and improve public transportation.

Whether you’re considering expanding your business or looking for a place to call home, Waterloo offers a wealth of possibilities and a welcoming community that’s ready to support your success.

Want to join Canada's fastest-growing community?

Our team can help you get started.