The City of Spruce Grove 2010 Municipal Census Demographic Report

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1 The City of Spruce Grove 2010 Municipal Census September 2010

2 The City of Spruce Grove 2010 Municipal Census Contents 1. Background Enumeration Areas... 3 Table 1: List of Enumeration Areas Population Growth... 4 Figure 1: Map of Enumeration Areas... 4 Figure 2: Population Growth Population Distribution... 5 Figure 3: Age-Sex Pyramid, Figure 4: Age-Sex Pyramid, Households... 7 Table 2: Dependency Ratios... 7 Figure 5: Average Household Size Property Status... 8 Figure 6: Population and Household Distribution... 8 Figure 7: Ownership Status Conclusions and Lessons Learned... 9 Figure 8: Property Status

3 1. Background The City of Spruce Grove 2010 Municipal Census Accurate population data and demographic information are vital to strategic planning and City operations. The data impacts provincial funding allocations and the ability of city administration to plan for growth and manage programs and services. The Municipal Government Act provides the authority for municipalities to conduct a census, and city policy 6029 guides the frequency and administration of each census. The last municipal census was conducted in 2009, and the last federal census took place in The 2010 census was conducted in accordance with policy 6,029CM. In addition to the official policy, it is advantageous to conduct a census frequently after a population reaches 20,000 since there are financial advantages to a municipality reporting incremental population increases. The objective of the 2010 municipal census was to collect basic population data, including gender and age, and the number of residents per household. Information was also gathered on home ownership and construction status of dwellings. Enumerators conducted the census from April 9 to May 6. The City of Spruce Grove provided the census questionnaire, and the project consultant, Dominion Voting Systems Corporation, created the forms and aggregated the data for confidential analysis. All of the information discussed in this report is taken from the 2010 census or from previous municipal censuses. Any data that refers to the Province of Alberta or Canada as a whole was taken from the 2006 Federal Census. The response rate for this census was 99%. A total of 9083 households and 10,446 properties were counted for a population of 24,646. There were no notable concerns with the data quality. 2. Enumeration Areas Census enumeration areas in 2010 were the same as the previous year. There are sixteen enumeration areas, divided in order to group one or two neighborhoods together. In the future, as development continues, some areas (A, B, and N) will probably be further divided within their current boundaries. Keeping the boundaries the same will allow for comparison between neighborhood areas over time. The accompanying map and table show where the enumeration areas are, and list which neighborhoods are contained within each area. Table 1: List of Enumeration Areas A 101 Harvest Ridge I 109 Woodhaven, Woodside B 102 Spruce Ridge, Legacy Park J 110 City Centre C 103 Deer Park K 111 Hilldowns, Linkside D 104 Heatherglen, McLaughlin L 112 Brookwood E 105 Westgrove, Mobile City Estates M 113 Broxton Park F 106 Aspenglen N 114 Spruce Village, Pioneer G 107 Millgrove O 115 Grove Meadows H 108 Stoneshire, Linkside P 116 Lakewood 3

4 The City of Spruce Grove 2010 Municipal Census Figure 1: Map of Enumeration Areas 3. Population Growth The population of Spruce Grove is now 24, 646, an increase of 5.7% over the past year. This figure is nearly exactly double the population count for 1989, which was 12, 332. Figure 2: Population Growth Looking back just ten years, the city Population Growth has witnessed tremendous growth, with an average annual growth rate 25,000 of 5.2% for the decade. Another 20,000 indicator of growth is the increase in the number of residential properties, 15,000 which rose to 10, 446 from 9121 in the last year, an increase of 12.7%. 10,000 The following bar graph shows the population increase since 1989, 5,000 where the years an official census count was done are indicated with a 0 lighter color; the dark bars indicate an estimated population. Given the changes to the economy over the last five years, it is somewhat surprising that Spruce Grove s population growth has remained so robust. As we will see, Spruce 4

5 The City of Spruce Grove 2010 Municipal Census Grove has become a desirable community for families to move to within the capital region. A good quality of life and close proximity to major employment areas are attractive to people looking for a place to raise a family. Another reason for the continued growth could be that people had purchased homes prior to the changes in the global economy, but their homes were not fully constructed until later. In 2009, approximately 8.5% of the residential properties in the city were undeveloped or under construction. Now, many of those pre-development properties may be occupied by residents. 4. Population Distribution The age-sex pyramid illustrates the population of Spruce Grove broken down to show the distribution of males and females as well as age groups. Spruce Grove remains a family oriented community; the graph reflects this through its relatively square shape and the fact that the largest populations are for adults in their late 20 s and 30 s and children. Of particular note is the jump in pre-school aged children up to age 4. For large populations in North America, the Baby Boom age cohorts (born between 1946 and 1966; aged 44 to 64) have been the most defining, but Spruce Grove s population does not reflect their typical dominance, which confirms the importance of parent-child families for the community. One might recall that as recently as 2005 the Baby Boom generation was a defining feature of the population of Spruce Grove, so the shift is surprising. The 2005 pyramid is on the following page for comparative purposes. Figure 3: Age-Sex Pyramid, 2010 Age - Sex Pyramid, Spruce Grove Female Male Percent of Total Population 5

6 The City of Spruce Grove 2010 Municipal Census Figure 4: Age-Sex Pyramid, 2005 Age - Sex Pyramid, Spruce Grove Female Male Percent of Total Population One interesting change since 2009 is the population of young males in the city. In Spruce Grove, as in other small urban centers, the population of people aged 20 to 24 tends to shrink as children leave their parents homes to pursue employment or postsecondary education elsewhere, as well as a small housing market for inexpensive rentals. However, the gap between teen and adult males has disappeared. This could simply be the result of the population getting a year older, but it could also mean that more young males are finding employment and housing within the community. It is a trend to watch out for in subsequent census analysis. As part of the regular census analysis, administration will regularly provide information on the dependency ratios for Spruce Grove. A dependency ratio measures the working aged population against the dependents in a population, or those who are not in the labor force (i.e. youths under age 15 and seniors over age 65). This is a rough indication of the economic burden of a population. While the ratio might not provide much information now, watching it evolve over time may be useful for programming decisions in the future. The rates below are expressed as the number of dependents for every 1000 workers. In order to provide further context, here are some examples of total dependency ratios for countries around the world: Afghanistan 860 Mexico 600 Canada 450 South Korea

7 Average People per Household The City of Spruce Grove 2010 Municipal Census Table 2: Dependency Ratios Youth Dependency Ratio 313 Old Age Dependency Ratio 119 Total Dependency Ratio 433 It is worth noting that through much of the developed, western world, the old age dependency is the higher of the two ratios. We have all heard about the upcoming rise in the old age dependency ratio due to the aging of the Baby Boom generation. There are fears that the dependency will create an undue burden on working aged people who will need to support the pensions and medical expenses caused by this large age cohort. In addition, we are likely to see other programs emerge in the coming years to address the societal changes caused by having such a large group of elderly people in areas of public transportation and housing, for example. Examining the ratios for Spruce Grove, we can see that the reverse is true, and the youth dependency is triple the old age dependency. We may find that the needs of our community are very different in the future than the needs for Canada as a whole as far as services and programs. 5. Households In the 2010 census, there are two different terms we use to describe a subdivided lot with housing development. The first term is property, which refers to any lot, and may or may not be developed. A property may have a vacant or occupied house or apartment building located on it, but it may also be in the middle of construction, or may simply be an empty lot. The second term is household, and is used to describe an existing housing unit combined with the people who live in that unit. Households are generally used to describe families, though of course people who share the same home are not always family, so the association of household and family should be explored cautiously. Figure 5: Average Household Size Average Household Size by Enumeration Area A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Enumeration Area The household size in the City of Spruce Grove is a count of the number of people living in each dwelling. In 2010, the average household size was 2.59 people per dwelling unit, a decrease since 2009 when the average was 2.7 people per dwelling. In the 2006 Canadian census, the average household size for Alberta was 2.6 and it was 7

8 The City of Spruce Grove 2010 Municipal Census 2.5 for all of Canada. In general, the changes in household size probably relate to the increased mix of housing types within the community. The graph showing household sizes by enumeration area corroborates that theory since the larger averages occur in neighborhoods that are primarily single detached dwellings with a limited mix of medium and high density, such as Deer Park (Area C), Lakewood (Area P) and Aspenglen (Area F). The areas with the lowest household sizes are those with a greater mix of housing types, such as City Centre (Area J), Spruce Ridge (Area B) and Westgrove/Mobile City Estates (Area E). In the future, we may also see the yet undeveloped neighborhood of Greenbury with a lower average, due to its unique mix of housing. Figure 6: Population and Household Distribution The next graph has a comparison between the Population and Household Distribution percentage of the population 10% 9% counted in each enumeration 8% area, and the percentage of 7% dwelling units. In general, the 6% neighborhoods that have 5% more households than people have greater diversity in the types of housing available. This includes Spruce Ridge, City Centre and 4% 3% 2% 1% 0% Westgrove/Mobile City A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Estates (areas B, J and E Enumeration area respectively). Those neighborhoods with proportionately more people than households are more homogeneous in terms of housing stock, including Aspenglen, Lakewood and Greystone (areas F, P and O). Population Households 6. Property Status Figure 7: Ownership Status The split between home ownership and Ownership of Occupied Dwellings rental has changed slowly in recent years. The change shows a slow move 21.6% toward more rentals in Spruce Grove and greater diversity in the housing stock, including a 0.4% increase in rented Owned Rented dwellings since 2009, and a 1.6% increase since In 2006 the owned/rented split for the province of 78.4% Alberta was 73.7% and 26.3% respectively. The gradual change reflects objectives in the newly adopted Municipal Development Plan, including increasing residential densities, and promoting mixed uses in neighborhoods. 8

9 Percent of the Total # of Properties The City of Spruce Grove 2010 Municipal Census The final graph shows the status of uninhabited properties within the community. There are three categories: vacant, under construction and undeveloped. The first category, vacant, refers not to a traditional vacancy rate, but rather the number of existing homes that do not have anybody living in them, likely due to a lag in time between people moving out of a home and new residents moving in. Properties listed as under construction are those that are in the process of being built, and do not yet have occupancy certificates issued that would allow for residents to move in. Finally, undeveloped properties are those that are subdivided and have a civic address, but do not have any housing developed on them. A significant jump in new construction in the 6 months prior to the 2010 census resulted in a shift between those properties that are under construction and undeveloped. That is, there are fewer undeveloped properties with no construction activity taking place, and more that are under construction. Economically, this is a positive sign for Spruce Grove. Figure 8: Property Status 8.00% 7.00% 6.00% 5.00% 4.00% 3.00% 2.00% 1.00% 0.00% Uninhabited Property Status Vacant Under Construction Undeveloped Conclusions and Lessons Learned Conducting a municipal census is a complex and resource intensive process. It is essential to continually refine the process each time to enhance data quality and improve participation. The 2010 municipal census was very successful, with a 99% participation rate and a high degree of confidence in the data collected. Successful strategies included: Hiring a dedicated Census Coordinator to manage enumerators and oversee the process and results; Increasing the number of enumerators from 16 to 20 in order to better manage some of the larger enumeration areas. A ratio of one enumerator for every 500 households seems to be a manageable workload; Beginning the census enumeration on a Friday so that a large number of results were complete within the first weekend. The census dates were also scheduled so as not to conflict with Easter, spring break, or playoffs for winter sports; Providing as many options for participating as possible, such as phoning in results, and leaving cards for people to fill out on their own time; Coordinating with the communications department to provide as much information to the public as possible in a variety of media. 9

10 The City of Spruce Grove 2010 Municipal Census By understanding the composition of the population that the City of Spruce Grove serves, administration can carry out the objective of being outward looking and forward thinking. The census allows us to take stock of our vision and goals for the community and compare our priorities to what is happening on the ground. The analysis of the 2010 census has drawn out some interesting trends that should be monitored and updated in future census reports. We have seen that young families form the largest group in the population, and our focus should be on how to serve those people through the municipal services and programs offered. We also need to consider the ripple effect of having such a large preschool cohort in 2010 that will require schooling and recreational programs in the near future. However, we should not lose sight of other groups, including seniors who have unique needs and the empty nesters of the Baby Boom generation. In fact, we need to examine ways to retain the disposable income that is a common trait of Boomers in our community by providing services and housing that is attractive. These are just a few of the trends that must be noted as we move forward. 10

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