This indicator reports on changes in the number and density of people living in each ecozone in the NWT.
Information is summarized from NWT Bureau of Statistics - Quarterly reports and population estimates1,2,3.
Humans have been living in the NWT for thousands of years. Each ecozone or ecosystem has fashioned, over time, its own human culture and pattern of land use, so that people have defined themselves by where they live. Current patterns of habitation – numbers and densities – can inform our understanding of present and future links between human activities and ecozone changes. People are making decisions today that will affect the future state of the NWT’s environment in the future. Each of these decisions is influenced by where they live.
Current view: status and trend
Population growth in the NWT has been modest. About three-quarters (76%) of NWT residents live in a medium (defined as greater than 1,000 but less than 10,000 residents) to large community (defines as greater than 10,000 residents). Most of the population growth occurred in NWT’s only city - Yellowknife (Taiga Shield ecozone). Since 1999, the proportion of NWT residents living in Yellowknife has slightly increased from 43% to 46%1. The number of people who work in the NWT, but are not NWT residents, was not tracked in this indicator.
The NWT population is aging, although the NWT's population remains young compared to that of Canada. In 2013, the median age for all of Canada was 40.2 years, while for the NWT it was 32.42. The two largest age groups in the NWT are the 20-29 and 30-39 ranges3. The birth rate for the NWT remains much higher than the Canadian average1.
Most newcomers to the NWT come from other Canadian jurisdictions. In migration to the NWT has been countered by out migration from the territory. The two charts below identify migration sources and net migration to the territory.
The 2014-2015 Economic Outlook for the Northwest Territories identified that unlike most of the rest of Canada, the NWT has experienced a zero per cent change in population over the last five years4. Over the next five years, employment in the NWT is expected to grow by 2,400 workers, with new mines coming online and infrastructure investments driving the growth4. This growth will most likely lead to increased population growth through in-migration.
Compared to its territorial neighbours, the NWT population growth has been relatively flat since 19951.
For more information
Other focal points
- See ECONOMY for more information on NWT’s economic outlook and its links to the environment.
Found an error or have a question? Contact the team at NWTSOER@gov.nt.ca.
Ref. 1. NWT Bureau of Statistics. 2014. Statistics Quarterly.
Ref. 2. Statistics Canada. 2014. Population estimates, age distribution and median age as of July 1, 2013.
Ref. 3. NWT Bureau of Statistics. 2014. Population estimates.
Ref. 4. Government of the Northwest Territories: Industry, Tourism and Investment. 2014. Economic Outlook 2014-2015.
Updated: May 28, 2015