News / Edmonton

Thanks to millennial migration, get ready for Edmonton's baby boom

In 2016, Edmonton had 46 per cent more children under the age of four, compared to 2012.

Monica MacKenzie with her two-month old baby girl, Nora.

Kevin Tuong / Edmonton Freelance

Monica MacKenzie with her two-month old baby girl, Nora.

Monica MacKenzie is one of many young people who flocked west in search of a hot economy — leaving Edmonton with one of the youngest populations in the country.

Now, according to the city's Chief Economist, John Rose, those young people are growing up and starting families.

“These are individuals that are in their prime family formation years… and are starting to have children,” Rose said.

MacKenzie, 32, moved from Ontario eight years ago for work, met her husband in Beaumont and gave birth to their first child, Nora, two months ago.

“It’s just a good time, we were more financially stable, it was just that next step in life,” she said.  

About 40 per cent of people in the city are between the ages of 18 and 45, according to numbers from the city.

Back in 2012, there were just over 40,000 kids between the ages of zero and four living in the city. By 2014 that had bumped up to about 45,000.

In 2016, there was just over 60,000 tiny Edmontonians under the age of four--which is a whopping 46 per cent increase from just four years earlier.

And, Rose warns, all those new babies are going to grow up faster than you'd think. And the city needs to be ready.

As Edmonton's new city councillors continued their orientation Wednesday, Rose gave a presentation about what he says is a pressing issue coming down the pipeline.

"As these children age, they are going to be hitting the education sector, they are going to be needing recreational facilities," he said.

Right now, he said, the number of people between the ages of 10 to 18 is relatively low, which means the city has scaled back school services slightly.

"We are going to find ourselves in the situation, where demand for the elementary education is going to go up, and then in a few years after that, there is going to be a demand for secondary education."

Rose explained that the city's population increased in general between 2011 and 2016. In addition to people moving within Canada to take advantage of the Alberta economy, Edmonton also welcomed immigrants from overseas, who represented a younger demographic.

He pointed out that it tends to be millennials who relocate.

“Typically people in those age groups, those are the people who are willing to move, who are mobile,” he said. “Older people stay where they ... That’s part of the reason why we have such a young demographic.”

Carly Beaulieu, a registered midwife at the Lucina Birth and Family Wellness Centre, said she's noticed an increase in newborns at her practice.

In addition, people are flocking to information sessions for expectant parents.

“We started out with 10 or something and now it’s 30 to 40, so much that all the chairs are taken and some people are even standing,” she said.

Beaulieu said they often accompany clients to the maternity ward of either the Sturgeon Community Hospital or the Royal Alexandra Hospital on a weekly basis.

She said since last year the labour wards have been so busy she's had to call ahead to book rooms for patients.

“The nurses get so many rooms full at once, so I can tell when I walk in there whether it’s a really busy night or not and probably in the last year it seems like almost every time we go in there, it’s really quite busy.”

MacKenzie said her experience as a new mom has been fantastic although there is still lots to learn.

“You can read up on everything but when you have it, it’s totally different,” she said.

“It’s obviously a positive thing (for a city) and it shows that it’s healthy and happy."

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