Region at a glance

The Calgary region covers an area of 28,632 square kilometers, larger in size than the state of Maryland. The region accounts for 4.4% of Alberta’s land mass and for 35.7% of Alberta’s population.


According to the latest federal Census, the region’s population totaled 1.30 million in 2011, an increase of 12.7% from 2006. Well over 765,000 people were employed. According to the Labour Force Survey, the region’s annual unemployment rate in 2011 was 5.7%, down from 6.9 % in 2010. In December 2010 the unemployment rate in the Calgary Region was below 5%. The Labour force in the Calgary region increased by 1.9%, or 15,400 and employment increased by 3.2%, or 24,000.


The region’s largest industry on an employment basis retail and wholesale trade accounting for 11% of total employment in 2011, followed by: professional, scientific and technical services (10%), health care and social assistance and construction at about 10% each. The fastest growing industries between Census years 2006 and 2010 was health care and social assistance which increased its employment level by more than 10,000, followed by construction with a 9,000 increase and retail trade with an 8,000 gain. These increases are in contrast oil and gas, construction, and professional, scientific and technical services sectors which are the sectors that increased its employment level by more than 15,000 between 2001 and 2006. Between 2010 and 2011 employment rose by over 24,000.


The Calgary region, which includes Banff National Park and Kananaskis Provincial Park, is Alberta’s top tourism destination, accounting for just over one-third of Alberta’s total number of hotel rooms. Many other of the region’s large industries, such as manufacturing, construction, professional, scientific and technical services (for instance engineering), and finance, insurance and real estate, are heavily dependent on Alberta’s large oil and gas sector. The region’s top manufacturing sectors are food processing, machinery and metal fabrication.


According to personal income taxfiler data, the average individual income was $49,200 in 2007, a 41% increase from 2003. Average income for couples was $147,600 in 2007, a large 47% rise from 2003.


The global economic crisis also clearly impacted this region in 2008 and 2009. However, based on some key indicators it is clear its impact has also subsided. For example, the number of Employment Insurance (EI) beneficiaries receiving regular benefits in the Calgary region fell by 11% between 2009 and 2010. Moreover, the number declined sharply by 33% between June 2010 and June 2011. This is in sharp contrast with the previous period where EI rates were rising, and the number of employed people was falling.


According to the most recent Statistics Canada Census, the population of the Calgary Region was 1,304,092 in 2011, or 35.7% of Alberta’s population. This was a 12.7% increase from the 2006 census. Overall the population growth trend remains strong. In 2006, there was a 13.8% increase from the Census estimate of 2001 and a 32.3% increase from the 1996 Census estimate. The Census indicates that, on average, the Calgary region’s population is similar to the provincial average. Although, the slightly smaller cohort in the current prime working age group may be faced with some challenges, as they are increasingly required to sustain the larger cohort of the retiring age group through higher productivity levels.