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After a decade of slow population growth in the 1990s, Winnipeg’s population began increasing steadily in the 2000s as a result of international immigration enabled by Manitoba’s Provincial Nominee Program. Over the 2010s, it is estimated that Winnipeg has grown by more than 95,000 people, a rate of growth more than ten times what was seen in the 1990s.
This robust population growth is expected to continue over the next 20 years. According to the Conference Board of Canada, the City of Winnipeg will grow by approximately 160,700 people between 2020 and 2040, or about 8,200 people annually. This growth will continue to be driven primarily by international immigration and has been critical in ensuring our workforce can support the needs of an aging population.
As the population increases, so does the need for housing. Based on forecasted growth, Winnipeg will need to accommodate approximately 82,000 new dwellings between 2020 and 2040, or 3,900 new units annually.
Over the last decade, housing preferences in Winnipeg have undergone a dramatic shift, following similar trends in other cities. While single-family dwellings have historically been the preferred housing type going back several generations, the number of multi-family housing starts (semi-detached, row, and apartment dwellings) has exceeded single-family housing starts every year since 2012.
The Conference Board of Canada forecasts that the strong interest in multi-family dwellings seen in the 2010s will continue, with approximately 60% of all future units expected to be row houses or apartment units. The City will need to ensure land is continually planned, zoned, and serviced in both greenfield and infill areas to accommodate this growth.