Houston’s population increased by a modest two per cent from 2016 to 2021, Statistics Canada has indicated in a first release of information gathered as a result of its detailed 2021 census.
That means from 2,993 people in 2016, the population stood at 3,052 in 2021, an increase of 59 people.
Statistics Canada did, however, distinguish between what it calls a district municipality, for which the top figures apply, and Houston’s population centre whose population numbers are included in the agency’s district municipality total.
The Houston population centre figure of 2,126 in 2016, dropped to 2,085 as of 2021, a decline of 1.9 per cent or 41 people.
By physical area, the population centre is defined as mostly the area on the town side of Hwy. 16. The only area on the other side of the highway extends from North Nadina to Third Street and then Tweedie.
The town side runs from Nadina along the highway to East Valley Road and down Dominion, Avalon, Omineca Crescent and Omineca Way to Poplar and then up along Riverbank Drive before sweeping back down to include Walker Road and Middleton Road between meeting up with Nadina and then back to the highway.
For the district municipality designation, which takes in the population centre, the area is roughly divided by Hwy. 16. The southern section below Hwy. 16 begins approximately at Matthews Creek running down to the Bymac Forest Service Road before extending along Teer Road then turning upward to include Dungate Drive and continuing upward to McKilligan Creek then back to the highway.
The section above Hwy. 16 begins roughly at Eichenberger Road then extending across all the way, taking in Mt. Harry Davis to join Hwy. 16 approximately where Morgan Road intersections with the highway.
If the larger district municipality population inched up, so did the number of private dwellings within that larger area — from 1,402 in 2016 to 1,461 in 2021, Statistics Canada indicates.
The agency defines a private dwelling as a “separate set of living quarters with a private entrance either from outside the building or from a common hall, lobby, vestibule or stairway inside the building.
The district municipality 2021 population figure of 3,052 and 2016’s 2,996 lag the 3,147 population count of 2011.
The same holds for the population centre figures where 2011’s 2,246 is more than 2016’s 2,126 figure and 2021’s count of 2,085.
Some of that can be attributed to the closure of West Fraser’s Houston Forest Products sawmill in 2014 which took away jobs and stifled economic activity.