Skip to content

Thunder Bay area's estimated population passes 130,000

The estimated population of the city and surrounding rural area grew by nearly 2,000 from 2022 to 2023.

THUNDER BAY — The estimated population of the Thunder Bay area has climbed to more than 130,000 for the first time.

According to new data released Wednesday by Statistics Canada, the Thunder Bay Census Metropolitan Area had an estimated 130,752 residents as of July of last year.

The CMA includes the City of Thunder Bay, Oliver Paipoonge, Shuniah, Neebing, Fort William First Nation, and the townships of Conmee, O'Connor and Gillies.

A table published by StatsCan shows the estimated Thunder Bay metro population was 128,949 in 2022, and 128,040 in 2021.

These estimates are all considerably higher than the number of people enumerated in the CMA during the 2021 census, which was only 123,258.

Some researchers have determined that the census grossly undercounts the city's Indigenous population.

The federal agency provided some additional information to TBnewswatch in a statement Thursday:

"The population total that we released yesterday comes from the Demographic Estimates Program. The demographic estimates start with the census, but also add in Census Net Undercoverage (the number of people missed in the census minus the number of people counted twice, as calculated by our post-censal coverage studies) and incompletely enumerated reserves and settlements. The demographic estimates then add/subtract the components of growth from the time of the census (births, deaths, immigration, emigration and internal migration). This means there will be differences between the census figures and the population estimates."

The statement went on to say that the 1.4 per cent estimated population growth in the Thunder Bay CMA between July 2022 and July 2023 was due mainly to international migration, specifically an increase in the net number of non-permanent residents.


Gary Rinne

About the Author: Gary Rinne

Born and raised in Thunder Bay, Gary started part-time at Tbnewswatch in 2016 after retiring from the CBC
Read more


push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks