The 2011 Census data confirmed what everybody already knew: southeast Saskatchewan continues to grow.
The numbers might not meet the expectations of some people, but it is nice to see an increase for people in Estevan, along with most urban and rural municipalities.
From Estevan to Torquay to Macoun to Arcola to Carnduff, the region's population is rising. Communities that haven't experienced growth in decades saw a double digit increase in population from 2006 to 2011.
In fact, Macoun was just outside the top 10 for percentage growth among urban municipalities (cities, towns, villages and resort villages) at 46.4 per cent. Granted, Macoun only has 246 people, but that increase of 78 people in a community of that size is staggering.
The loss of a school is typically a fatal blow for a community, but villages that have suffered a school closure, like North Portal, Alida, Torquay, Frobisher and Glen Ewen, saw their populations rise. Rural municipalities also experienced an increase in population, as some people who have come to this thriving region have opted for the joys of country life.
But one question needs to be asked: how accurate are these numbers?
In the case of a village like Macoun, or Alida (whose population increased from 106 in 2006 to 131 in 2011), these numbers are probably very accurate. Those are communities that probably don't have a large transient population.
But in other cases, people will be questioning the data.
Estevan's population was listed as 11,054, which is up 9.6 per cent, or nearly 1,000 people, from the 10,084 who were reported to be living here in 2006. Many people in Estevan justifiably disputed the data from 2006, and they'll probably argue with the numbers from 2011.
Saskatchewan Health reported that there were about 12,500 people in this city carrying health cards as of June 30, 2011. For communities with a highly transient population, the Sask. Health numbers are likely more reliable than the Census.
People in Stoughton will also likely be critical of the results. The Census lists that community's population as 694, which is a 6.3 per cent increase from the 654 reported in 2006. Most Stoughton residents would tell you that community's population is around 700 or 800.
The people in Carlyle probably thought they would be higher than 1,400.
Across the province, the numbers reflected Saskatchewan's growth. The Census population was significantly higher than in 2006. Communities of all sizes experienced surges in population.
So while results are certainly better, and likely more accurate, than those of 2006, there are some communities who will again be questioning the validity of the Census.