Census Results

Did You Know... The official population of the Town of Athabasca has risen to 2,734, as determined by the 2008 Municipal Census.

Rise in Town population confirmed

After reviewing and approving the 2008 Municipal Census results from numerous communities across the province last year, the Province of Alberta recently released the official figures.

In Athabasca, the population has risen to 2,734, up from a 2006 Federal Census total of 2,575.

While the increase may not come as a surprise to most local residents, the census was necessary in order to establish an accurate total for programming and funding purposes. The newly adjusted figure will allow the Town to take better advantage of government funding and grants that are distributed on a per capita basis.

“We knew the community had grown,” states Melody Wolansky, Assistant Chief Administrative Officer for the Town of Athabasca. “We wanted to ensure that the Town received adequate funding based on our actual population.”

An accurate population figure is very important when it comes to planning and programming, Melody explains. “It serves as a foundation for planning in our community - for introducing new services and for improving existing services.”

The official Municipal Census day was May 21, 2008. A local team of trained and qualified enumerators began their duties that day and had until June 30 to contact and tally all town residents, finalize the paperwork and submit it to the Government of Alberta for review and approval.

“We did a good job of communication,” says Melody, of the team, “and the people of the community were quite cooperative.”

Serving as the Municipal Census coordinator, Melody received official training from the provincial government, then passed that training on to the three local enumerators.

Although the members of the 2008 Municipal Census team were Town employees, they conducted their enumerating duties apart from regular work hours and received separate pay on a contract basis.

“We were hired as census enumerators and went through all of the proper training,” confirms Carla Kooistra, Municipal Finance Officer for the Town of Athabasca.

Carla coordinated the census process, dividing the town into three areas, mapping it out and compiling the lists and logs of households for herself and the other two enumerators to work with. Afterwards, she completed all of the necessary paperwork and submitted it to the provincial government by the June 30 deadline as required.

The census included 1,241 Athabasca households, plus Athabasca Healthcare Centre, Extendicare Athabasca and Pleasant Valley Lodge.

The enumerators went door-to-door with just one question to ask: “As of the Census Date May 21, 2008, how many residents live in this household?”

When residents were not home the first time, the enumerator was required to go back a second time. If nobody was home the second time, the enumerator was authorized by ministerial order to leave a door hanger advising the resident on how to contact the government securely to have their household included in the census.

If census information had still not been received from a household by a specified date, the enumerator was required to return to the household one more time to attempt to get the information.

Overall, the census process went well, and thanks to the dedication of the local team of enumerators, Athabasca now has a much more accurate population total on which to base planning, programming and funding applications.

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