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The figure that the Toronto region grows by 100,000 people each year is often-repeated.

What’s unclear to many is what geography this number refers to and how this estimate came about. Is this the number of people that arrive each year to the City of Toronto or the Greater Toronto Area? Does it include City of Hamilton or does the geography reach as far as the Region of Waterloo and Simcoe County?

The PROFILES section of the Geoweb includes historical data of population growth in the Toronto region that can be viewed through five different regional geographies.

The data shows how much growth occurred in the early part of the new millennium (2001-2016). If you spread that increase over a 15-year period, you can find the annual increase for various regional geographies. The same breakdown is available by at the local municipality and regional scale.

  • Population growth in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA): Profiles, Neptis Geoweb

• City of Toronto: 16,672 people added annually to the City of Toronto 

• Greater Toronto Area (GTA): 89,000 people added annually to an area which includes regional municipalities of Halton, Peel, York, Durham and the City of Toronto 

• Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA): 92,138 people annually added annually to an area which includes the GTA and City of Hamilton

• The Corridor: 100,511 people added annually to an area which includes the GTHA plus Guelph Census Metropolitan Area (CMA)  and Regional Municipality of Waterloo.

• Outer Ring: 21,877 people added annually to municipalities outside of the Greater Toronto and the Hamilton Area. Includes the regions of Niagara, Waterloo, the counties of Haldimand, Brant, Wellington, Dufferin, Simcoe, City of Kawartha Lakes, Peterborough, Northumberland, and the separated cities of Brantford, Guelph, Barrie, Orillia, and City of Peterborough.

• Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH): 114,000 people added annually to an area which includes GTHA and the Outer Ring, which combined make up the Greater Golden Horseshoe

To understand the amount of growth the Toronto region absorbs, one can look at census data which shows that between 1971-2001, the population of the Greater Toronto Area grew by 2.1 million people. This was a 30-year period of explosive growth that followed the formation of regional municipalities across the Greater Toronto Area of Halton, Peel, York and Durham. It was during this period that the vast majority of our regional suburbs were developed.  Spread over the same 30-year-period, the Greater Toronto Area saw an annual increase of about 72,000 people.

The MAP section of the Geoweb allows you to visualize what the population growth between 1971 and 2011 looked like by turning on map layers that track Historical Urban Expansion in 1971, 1981, 1991, 2001, 2011 and 2016.