Rural residents set roots

More people in Bashaw, Ponoka, Ponoka County and Rimbey stayed put over a five-year period than moved, according to 2013 national census figures.
West Central Planning Agency analysed inter-municipal migration based on the Canada census that asked 20 per cent of Canadians more questions, including if they had moved in the last five years.
“Rural places have less migration into them than urban ones because once you bought your farm, you don’t move,” said Bob Riddett, manager of the Wetaskiwin-based agency.
Ponoka’s population in 2013 was 6,330, of which 5,805 were more than five years old.
A total of 3,110 people didn’t move over the 1996-2013 period in Ponoka. Another 2,695 did — 1,470 within the municipality, 730 from inside Alberta, 435 from another province and 55 from another country.
“If you look Ponoka, 54 per cent of the people were in the same house they were in five years ago,” Riddett said.
Ponoka County reported 8,852 residents, of which 8,060 were over the age of five. Non-movers totalled 5,870. Another 2,190 moved — 800 from within the region, 970 from other parts of Alberta, 290 from another province and 120 from another country.
Rimbey’s population was 2,118, of which 1,880 were over the age of five. There were 1,090 people who hadn’t moved in the last five years. Movers totalled 790 —280 from within town, 390 from inside Alberta and 115 from another province.
There were 825 Bashaw residents in 2013, with 735 of those five years old and up. The amount of people who hadn’t moved was 365. Another 365 had moved to another residence during the five-year period — 130 moved within town, 210 from inside Alberta and 30 from another province.
“It’s just a coincidence that the numbers of non-movers and movers were the same,” Riddett said.
Riddett said the small sample — 20 per cent of Canadian households that filled out the long information form — only gives a glimpse into what may be happening in the region.
As well, Statistics Canada rounds all figures to five or zero to preserve confidentiality. There may also be a considerable margin of error in the migration figures for smaller municipalities.
“You have to take the numbers with a grain of salt in a small place like Bashaw,” Riddett said.
The planning agency analysed 18 other municipalities outside of Central Alberta, including Edmonton.
Alberta’s population figures totalled 2,974,807 in 2013, with 2,735,825 over the age of five. Non-movers rang in at 1,399,580. Albertans who moved in the last five years totalled 1,354,245 — 725,830 from within the municipality, 306,500 from inside Alberta, 242,230 from another province and 79,685 from another country.