9 fascinating facts from the 2011 census

When it comes to the census, Saskatchewan is Canada's comeback kid.

The province's 6.7 per cent population increase in the 2011 national head count — coming after two consecutive censuses where Saskatchewan lost people — was the biggest turnaround in Canada.

But that's the big picture. When you drill down into the data released by Statistics Canada this week, you'll find a treasure trove of facts about our communities.

Here are nine that caught our eye:

1) The return of Melville — In the 2006 census, the city of Melville actually lost population, dropping to 4,149 from 4,453 counted in 2001. This time, all of Saskatchewan's cities grew, including Melville, which is now at 4,517.

2) Saskatchewan's next city? — To become a city in this province, you're supposed to have at least 5,000 people. Warman blew past that number: 7,084. That's a 48 per cent increase from 2006, when it had 4,769.

3) Fastest growing community — As you may have heard, the fastest growing city in Saskatchewan is Martensville, near Saskatoon. It went from 4,978 to 7,716, a 55 per cent increase. Not so well known, perhaps, is the fastest growing community in the province. It turns out it's the northern hamlet of Missinipe, which had only five people in 2006, but now has 39, according to the census. That's a 680 per cent increase.

4) We're not dead yet — The census says there are two new ghost towns in the province, or ghost villages, to be more precise. The two that supposedly have zero residents include Keeler (which had five people in 2006) and Atwater (which had 25 in 2006). However, CBC News found residents in both villages on Wednesday who insist they're still a going concern.

5) Zealandia is now Saskatchewan's smallest town — Sure, there are smaller villages and hamlets, but Zealandia takes the crown for tiniest town with 80 residents. That's a loss of 10 from the 2006 census.

6) Slight rebound in farm country — In the 2006 census, the population of rural municipalities fell. This time, however, a modest rebound, was recorded. Many RMs lost population but overall, the population increased 0.9 per cent.

7) La Ronge's big drop — the northern town dropped to 2,304 in 2011, compared to 2,725 in 2006, a -15.4 per cent drop. The town says that's simply wrong and plans to appeal.

8) Lloydminster surprise — Pop quiz: which side of Lloydminster did better in the census, Alberta's or Saskatchewan's? Surprise! Both sides saw healthy population growth, but the Saskatchewan side grew faster, percentage-wise.

9) Indian reserves take a jump — The on-reserve population grew 16 per cent, more than twice the overall provincial census increase (6.7 per cent).

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