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Yellowknife population count on the rise
NWT only jurisdiction in Canada with stagnant population in 2011 census

Laura Busch
Northern News Services
Published Friday, February 10, 2012

Yellowknife's population has been climbing steadily over the past decade, according to Statistics Canada's 2011 census report released on Wednesday.

Population count 1981-2011


  • Yellowknife: 9,483
  • NWT: 30,129
  • Yellowknife: 11,753
  • NWT: 33,830
  • Yellowknife: 15,179
  • NWT: 36,405
  • Yellowknife: 17,275
  • NWT: 39,672
  • Yellowknife: 16,541
  • NWT: 37,360
  • Yellowknife: 18,700
  • NWT: 41,464
  • Yellowknife: 19,234
  • NWT: 41,462

Source: 2011 Census population and dwelling counts as published Feb, 8, 2012

Between 2006 and 2011, population in the capital city increased by 534, a Statistics Canada news release stated.

"These census counts are not population estimates," said Jeff Barichello, acting territorial statistician for the NWT Bureau of Statistics.

Census enumerators counted 19,234 people in Yellowknife in May 2011, which included the population of Ndilo. Dettah, however, was counted separately.

Their method was to go knocking on everyone's door, said Barichello.

Those who were home were surveyed and residents in the home were counted. Otherwise, all Canadians were legally required to complete and turn in a census form through the mail or online.

However, it is not a perfect system, said Barichello, which is why statisticians are wary of using these preliminary numbers interchangeably with population figures, a fact the NWT was faced with back in 2001 when enumerators missed nearly 3,000 people in the count.

"Inevitably, some people are not counted or are counted twice," said Barichello. "So, Stats Canada, after each census, does follow-up studies to estimate how many people were not counted or were counted twice and then the results of those studies are used together to come up with a population estimate."

The NWT is the only province or territory whose population did not increase, according to the most recent federal census data. Though there were two fewer people counted in 2011 - 41,462 - than in the 2006 census 41,464 - the population is stated to have remained stable with zero per cent change during that time.

Canada's overall population increased 5.9 per cent to 33,476,688 since 2006.

On average, the change across all provinces and territories was 5.29 per cent with Yukon seeing the greatest change at 11.6 per cent.

The population and dwelling counts released yesterday are the first of four groups of census information scheduled for public release.

Age and sex counts will be released May 29; families, household and marital status information will come out on Sept. 19; and language statistics will be calculated and made public on Oct. 24 of this year.

The long-form census, which statisticians use to determine more detailed population information such as community ethnicity, language and migration patterns was replaced by an optional household survey in the 2011 census period. Calculations from this census should be released sometime in 2013, said Barichello.

Territorial population estimates differ slightly then the federal numbers. According to the NWT Bureau of Statistics, the population in the Northwest Territories was an estimated 43,675 in 2011, down from an estimated 43,830 in 2010.

In Yellowknife, the bureau's most recent population estimate is 19,888 for 2011.

This was somewhat less than the previous year of 19,962. However, it is an increase from the 2009 estimate, which reported a population of 19,861.

The next population estimate is scheduled to be released by the NWT Bureau of Statistics in May.

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