Few will be surprised to hear that Estevan’s population is declining, thanks to the drop in the price of oil.
But according to the annual covered population report from eHealth Saskatchewan, the population decline might not be as sharp as some people thought.
The annual tabulation of people who possess Saskatchewan Health Cards in urban and rural municipalities shows that there were 13,205 people in the city of Estevan, as of June 30, 2015.
It’s a moderate decline from the 13,513 individuals who resided in the city as of June 30, 2014.
The annual tabulation is not a census, but it is viewed as a more credible source than the census run by Statistics Canada every five years. Estevan’s population is consistently higher in the covered population report than in the census.
The last census in 2011 pegged Estevan’s population at a little more than 11,000 people.
Mayor Roy Ludwig is among those who puts more stock in the eHealth Saskatchewan figures.
“I think an annual report keeps it closer to the actual numbers,” Ludwig told the Mercury. “By getting the numbers more often, it shows a truer picture.”
Ludwig admits he was “pleasantly surprised” with the numbers in the most recent covered population report.
“Although we thought the numbers would be lower, I was afraid they might be lower than what they actually proved to be,” he said.
A number of indicators point to fewer people in the city than a few years ago, when the economy was thriving. There are fewer vehicles on the road, and more vacancies in rental properties.
“That’s why I thought, correspondingly, the numbers for our population would be less than what they were,” said Ludwig.
The numbers from eHealth Saskatchewan break down a municipality’s population into gender and age groups. It shows there were 6,739 males and 6,436 females in the city last year. Both numbers were down, as there were 6,957 males and 6,556 females the previous year.
As for the age groups, there were more people between the ages of 25 and 29 than any other with 1,270. There were 692 men and 578 women in that age demographic.
The rural municipality (RM) of Estevan, meanwhile, experienced a slight increase in its population, from 641 people in 2014 to 715 last year. There were 384 males and 331 females in the RM.
The largest age group for males in the RM was boys between the age of five and nine, as there were 35. There were 37 women between the ages of 50 and 54, making it the largest age group for females.
The 50 to 54 age group also accounted for the largest share of the population in the RM with 66 residents.
As for the other communities close to Estevan, Bienfait’s listed population was 1,061 people in 2015, which was 15 more than the previous year; Frobisher had 205 residents, which was down from 216 people in 2014; North Portal had 165 people, which was down from 181 residents; Torquay had 337 inhabitants, which was down from 358 people; Macoun had 392 residents, which was up from 356 people; and Midale had 853 residents, which was down from 863 inhabitants.
The rural municipalities saw slight changes to their populations. Coalfields was home to 214 people in 2015, compared with 211 the year before; Cambria had 191 residents, which was up from 179 people the previous year; Benson had 334 residents, which was down from 340 inhabitants; and Cymri had 215 residents, which was up from their 207 inhabitants in 2014.
The total population in the Sun Country Health Region was 59,686 people last year, compared with 59,984 in 2014