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As I’ve mentioned in past posts, for the past several years Edmonton has experienced very high levels of in-migration. But when individuals move here, where in the city do they choose to live?

The 2011 National Household Survey (formerly the long-form census) can help shed some light on this question. Typically the lowest geographic level for which NHS data is available is the Census Tract. Census Tracts are roughly a similar size to an Edmonton neighbourhood, but their borders don’t line up. This makes it difficult to communicate low-level data in a form that’s easy to understand. Fortunately a colleague from Sustainable Development at the City of Edmonton was kind enough to share custom NHS profiles for Edmonton neighbourhoods.

So, which areas of the city are most popular among recent migrants? The 5 neighbourhoods with the largest populations of individuals who moved to Edmonton within the past year, as of 2011, are:

  1. Oliver – 1,205
  2. Downtown – 1,075
  3. Garneau – 990
  4. Strathcona – 860
  5. Queen Mary Park – 675

And in map form:

Migration Map

Clearly new arrivals to Edmonton are clustered in central neighbourhoods near Downtown and the University of Alberta. Exactly why isn’t completely clear, but some possible explanations are:

  • The numbers of recent immigrants just reflect the high population densities of these neighbourhoods. This is partly true. If you rank neighbourhoods by recent migrants’ population share, the clustering around the University/Downtown area remains, but is less pronounced.
  • These are desirable and relatively vibrant neighbourhoods and are chosen by recent arrivals for that reason.
  • Individuals with little prior knowledge of Edmonton choose these neighbourhoods essentially by default – because of proximity to work, school, or available rental accommodation.

Whatever the reasons, the implication is pretty obvious. If we want the thousands of new Edmontonians that arrive each year to stick around long term, we need to make sure we’re putting our best foot forward when it comes to central neighbourhoods.

 

Join the conversation

  • Jenifer Schaefer

    Some of my favourite communities too. Are out of town post-secondary students considered migrants Paul?

    • Paul Reid

      For the most part yes. An individual is counted as a 1-year ago migrant as long as they were residing in Edmonton on May 10 2011, but not on May 10, 2010. That’s what I mean by ‘migrants who moved to Edmonton within the past year, as of 2011’.

      But, the National Household Survey doesn’t cover individuals living in collective dwellings like a student residence. So students who moved into Lister Hall, for example, wouldn’t be considered migrants in the NHS data.

    • enterpriseedmonton

      For the most part yes. An individual is counted as a 1-year ago migrant as long as they were residing in Edmonton on May 10 2011, but not on May 10, 2010.

      But, the National Household Survey doesn’t cover individuals living in collective dwellings like a student residence. So students who moved into Lister Hall, for example, wouldn’t have been considered migrants in the NHS data.

  • daveberta

    It would be interesting to see a breakdown of these migrants to Edmonton – who were they? Who among them are new Canadians? How many are indigenous people moving from reservations into the city? I imagine a breakdown could change the distribution of colours on this map.

    • enterpriseedmonton

      When I was researching this post I did produce a map for the population of new Canadians (‘external migrants’ in the NHS), but found that it wasn’t much different from the overall immigration map. However, a map for the share of new Canadians by neighbourhood might look different.