Living in Calgary [2024]: The Ultimate Guide for New Immigrants

living in Calgary

Calgary is the hottest destination for new immigrants. Living in Calgary is the dream of many new immigrants who are already living in Canada or about to land in Canada soon.

If you are looking for an in-depth step-by-step living in Calgary guide, look no further I’ve got you covered. I’ve been in love with Alberta’s biggest city Calgary since I moved here.

Calgary is the epic combination of urban vibes and wild west spirit. Calgary is based in the beautiful Canadian Rockies, where cowboy hats meet skyscrapers in the ‘Greatest outdoor show on the planet Earth’.

Page Contents

Living (Life) in Calgary Highlights

  • Calgary is a highly sought-after city for new immigrants in Canada even moving between provinces.
  • The city uniquely blends urban vibes with the Wild West spirit.
  • Located near the Canadian Rockies, Calgary offers stunning natural landscapes.
  • Calgary is more affordable compared to other major Canadian cities. Eg. Housing renting in Calgary is 40% cheaper if you compare Calgary with Toronto.
  • Calgary is a hub of two of Canada’s popular universities, Mount Royal University and The University of Calgary, which attract over 50K+ students from all around the world, and within Canada.
  • Recognized as one of the cleanest cities globally, Calgary is also ranked as the world’s 7th most livable city.
  • Calgary is the 4th largest city in Canada, with a growing population.
  • The city provides comprehensive healthcare services.
  • Calgary has a positive reputation for its low crime rates.
  • The labour market in Calgary is robust, with a lot of new startups, with great job opportunities, the city is growing with an annual 1.6% employment rate change.
  • As of October 2023, The unemployment rate in Calgary is 5.5% and in the Calgary Metropolitan Area is 5.8%.
  • Calgary’s real estate market offers a range of options for different budgets.

In this ultimate living in Calgary guide, I will answer all your most searched questions:

Living in Calgary Overview

– How big is Calgary?

– Where is Calgary located?

– Quick Facts about Calgary

– Calgary Population 2024 Stats

– Weather in Calgary

– Cost of Living in Calgary 2024

  • Calgary’s Rental Cost 2024
  • Average Salary in Calgary
  • Calgary Labour Market 2024 Stats
  • Calgary Real Estate Market

Education in Calgary

– Calgary Health Care

– Calgary Crime Report

Let’s start things off with the basics about life in Calgary.

In case you are eager to know the overall conclusion about what it is like living in Calgary in 2024?

Calgary is 4th biggest city in Canada and Calgary is one of the cleanest cities in the world. Living in Calgary is much more affordable as compared to any other big city in Canada and Calgary has become the world’s 7th most liveable city.

Let’s find out the real stats about what Calgary offers and its lifestyle.

Living in Calgary 2024 Overview

Alright, it’s time to know the basics about Calgary. Let’s begin with Calgary’s overview.

    • Calgary was founded in 1875 and is about 149 years old as of 2024.
    • The beautiful city of Calgary is located in the province of Alberta.
    • Calgary is the biggest city in Alberta.
    • Calgary is also called YYC.
    • Calgary Population: 1.6+ million (including greater Calgary or Calgary’s metropolitan area)
    • Calgary GDP stats (per capita in 2022): $79,885 (USD)
    • Calgary Total Area: 825.56 km²
    • Calgary’s Minimum Hourly Wage in 2023: $15/hr (CAD)

Where is Calgary located?

Calgary is located in the heart of rocky mountains in the province of Alberta, Canada. Calgary has really awesome neighbours, to the west you’ll find the beautiful province of British Columbia with its stunning coastline and toward the east, you’ve got the prairies province of Saskatchewan.

Here you can see Calgary and its neighbours on Google Maps.

Calgary Located in Alberta
Calgary, Alberta, Canada (c) Google Map

Alberta shares the border with United State’s Montana state.

How big is Calgary?

How big is Calgary

Calgary is Canada’s 23rd largest city in terms of total land area.

Calgary has a total land of 825.3 km². In Square miles: 319 square miles.

Calgary’s total urban area is about 621.72 km² which is 240.05 square miles.

 The Metro area in Calgary is about 5,098.68 km² which is about 1968.61 square miles.

[Calgary Area] [In km²] [In Square miles]
Total Land 825.3 km² 319 Square miles
Total Urban area 621.72 km² 240.05 square miles
Total Metro area 5,098.68 km² 1968.61 square miles

source: Wikipedia

How old is Calgary?

Calgary was originally founded in 1875 and is about 149 years old as of 2024.

How old is Calgary

The city of Calgary was incorporated as a town on November 7, 1884, and finally became a city on January 1, 1894.

[Calgary Age] [Year]
Founded 1875
Incorporated as Town Nov 7, 1884
Became City Jan 1, 1894

source: Wikipedia

How old is Fort Calgary as of 2024?

Fort Calgary was built in 1875 and is situated at the Bow and Elbow rivers where you can find the City of Calgary building is located. As of 2024, the Fort Calgary is 149 years old.

How old is the University of Calgary?

The University of Calgary (U of C/UCalgary) was established on April 26, 1966. As of January 2024, the University of Calgary is 57 years old.

Quick Facts about Calgary

Here are some of the quick facts about the beautiful city of Calgary.

    • Incorporated in 1875, Calgary is 149 year old city as of 2024.
    • Calgary is the largest city in the province of Alberta.
    • Calgary currently holds the title of one of the cleanest cities in the world.
    • Calgary is the 3rd most diverse city in Canada.
    • With a 1.6+ million population in 2024, Calgary become the 4th largest city in Canada.
    • Calgary is the home of the world’s greatest outdoor show, called The Calgary Stampede.
    • Calgary has recently been named the 7th most liveable city in the globe.
    • As of 2023, Calgary has Canada’s highest number of millionaires per capita.

Calgary Population 2024 Stats

As of January 2024, the population of Calgary (by metropolitan area) is about 1.6+ million (1,600,000+) and counting.

Calgary population by metropolitan area - 2023 stats
Calgary population by metropolitan area (2024)

Source: Statista

Calgary’s population in 2024 is growing faster than any other big city, if we compare it with Toronto, Calgary’s population growth rate is 1.80%.

If we exclude the metropolitan area, Calgary city’s population is about 1.4 million.

Calgary is becoming a more popular and favourite destination for new immigrants from all around the world. Calgary has become the 4th largest and fastest-growing city in Canada by population including surrounding metropolitan areas:

  • Airdrie
  • Chestermere
  • Okotoks
  • Cochran

When I talk about the big cities in Canada, Calgary is at #4 on the list. It has more than 1.6+ million people living there.

Edmonton with a population of 1.5+ million is the #5 largest city in Canada and #2 largest city in Alberta. If you are planning to land in Alberta soon and are confused between Calgary or Edmonton must check our living in Calgary vs Edmonton guide.

Calgary’s Weather

Calgary offers all 4 beautiful weather seasons to enjoy.

Calgary holds the crown of most sunniest city in Canada with an average of 333 days of sunshine.

Calgary has the lowest cloudy days per year in Canada, with an average of just 32 cloudy days.

The fact about Calgary’s winter is, that Calgary is definitely known as one of the coldest cities in Canada. You may experience temperatures below -30C during peak winters for a couple of days.

Don’t worry it’s not going to be cold straight, We are grateful to chinook winds which melt down the snow fast and reflect the temperature from (-) to (+) positive without a few hours.

Let’s find out the average temperature in Calgary throughout the year in 2023.

*Calgary weather data source: Extreme weather watch

Calgary weather 2023
Calgary overall weather 2023

Hottest temperatures recorded in Calgary in 2023

Calgary got a heatwave for a total of 9 days in 2023 summer, between July and August when the highest temperature surpasses 30 °C up to 35.1 °C.

Highest & Hottest Calgary Weather 2023
Hottest Calgary Weather 2023

What’s the hottest day and highest temperature recorded in Calgary in 2023?

Hottest Day in Calgary Summer 2023: As of October 19, 2023, The highest temperature and the hottest day in Calgary, AB (2023) is July 24 and the temperature recorded was 35.1 °C.

The Coldest temperatures recorded in Calgary in 2023

Calgary got a a total of 10 coldest days in 2023 winter, between January and March when the lowest temperature dropped below -20 °C to -30 °C.

Lowest & coldest Calgary weather in 2023
Coldest Calgary weather in 2023

What was the coldest day and lowest temperature in Calgary in 2023?

 Coldest Day in Calgary Winter 2023: As of October 19, 2023, The lowest temperature and the coldest day in Calgary, AB (2023) is Feb 23 and the temperature recorded was -29.7 °C.

Weather Source: Extreme weather watch

Cost of Living in Calgary 2023

As of January 1, 2024, The city of Calgary, Alberta’s minimum hourly wage which is $15/per hour is the 7th highest hourly wage rate in Canada.

Calgary’ cost of living Highlights:

  • Single person: As of September 2023, The average cost of living for a 1 person in Calgary can vary anywhere between $800-$1200 (rent excluded).
  • A couple: The average cost of a couple is somewhere between $1500-$2400 (rent excluded).
  • A family of 4: This could vary between $2500-$3500 or even more (rent excluded). 
Note: *This price range could vary depending on the location, transportation, lifestyle, living expenses and personal spending.

Calgary is definitely an affordable city in every aspect if compared to any big city in Canada. For example, check my comparison guide living in Toronto vs Calgary.

Calgary’s Rental Cost 2024

Calgary’s rental market has changed similarly to Canada’s overall rental market due to inflation and recent hikes in mortgage rates.

Calgary’s rental market highlights:

  • Studio Apartment: As of January 2024, The average cost of a studio apartment in Calgary downtown is anywhere between $950-$1900 or even more. Depends on your location, amenities, walk score etc. You may able to find some cheaper 1-bed basements close to downtown.
  • 1 Bedroom Apartment: A single-bedroom apartment or condo would cost anywhere between $1050-$2000 in Calgary. If you are lucky, you may find a cheaper basement.
  • 2 Bedrooms: Two-bedroom apartments, condos or a house would cost anywhere between $1520-$2900 or even more.
  • 3 Bedrooms: This could vary between $1950-$3500 (rent excluded). It’s even soaring in Calgary and everywhere due to high mortgage rates.
Note: Rental prices fluctuate a lot due to inflated interest rates, these estimated rental costs are based on research done on these top rental websites in Canada.

Minimum Salary in Calgary 2024

Alright, it’s time to go down the rabbit hole. Let’s find out the minimum income in Calgary, Alberta based on the minimum hourly wage which is $15.00/hr (as of January 1, 2024).

Let me provide you with some examples.

If you just earn a minimum salary in Calgary in 2024, what would you get weekly, bi-weekly, monthly and annually?

Earner Min. Hourly Rate Weekly Hours Weekly Earning Monthly Earning
1 $15.00/hr 40 $600/Weekly $2,400
2 $15.00/hr 40 * 2 = 80 $1,200/Weekly $4,800

For a single earner earning stats (CAD) would be, If you work a standard 40 hours a week.

Daily $120
Weekly $600
Bi-Weekly $1200
Monthly $2400
Yearly/Annually $28,800

So If you are earning alone, living in Calgary on a minimum wage, you rent out in or near downtown or anywhere in the city, you will end up paying above 40% flat in your rent alone (excluding utilities, phone, transportation and food).

Average Salary in Calgary 2024

Based on my research from various reputable sources, What I’ve found out is that the average hourly wage/income in Calgary as of January 2024 is anywhere varying between $30/hr-$32/hr.

As I’ve explained above, Let me break it down as well for you to make it easy to understand.

How much is the average salary in Calgary?

How much it would be daily, weekly, hourly, monthly and annually?

I am taking the $32 per hour average salary in Calgary as an example here:

Hourly $32
Daily (8 hours) $256
Weekly (40 hours) $1280
Bi-Weekly $2560
Monthly $5120
Yearly/Annually $61,440
Disclaimer: Please remember that these figures are for general information only. Your actual salary/pay may vary due to various reasons, for example number of hours, holidays, bonus etc.

Salary by profession in Calgary 2023

I picked some of the commonly searched professions with the NOC codes and searched occupations. Which I have published in Toronto vs Calgary Salary Comparison 2023 as well.

*Approx. salary is based on an hourly $/hr, and is in CAD (Canadian Dollars). The data source is directly from: jobbank.gc.ca

[Calgary Salary: By Professions] [Hourly Pay]
(Occupation and NOC Codes) Low Median High
Software Engineers and Designers (21231) $23 $46.15 $70.91
Elementary school and Kindergarten Teachers (41221) $24.81 $41.03 $51.79
Data analysts and data administrators (21223) $21.63 $41.24 $55.77
Retail Salesperson (64100) $15 $16 $23.33
Retail Sales Supervisors (62010) $15.87 $21.89 $32.75
Financial Analysts (11101) $30.05 $37.44 $60.32
Business Development Officers (41402) $26.44 $44.71 $72.12
Software Engineer (21231) $23 $46.15 $70.91
Information Systems Analysts (21222) $25.96 $48.08 $76.92
Computer and Information System Managers (20012) $33.65 $64.42 $76.92
Registered Nurse (31301) $34.65 $45.19 $50.37
Advertising, Marketing, and PR Managers (10022) $28.85 $47.88 $79.33
Customer Service Representatives (64409) $15 $19.57 $34

source: wages in Calgary jobbank.gc.ca

Calgary Labour Market 2023 Stats

Calgary labour market report has been published by ‘the City of Calgary’ itself.

Calgary Unemployment Rate in October 2023
Calgary Unemployment Rate in October 2023

 

The report is based on two Calgary regions:

  • Calgary – Economic Region
  • Calgary – Census Metropolitan Area

As for the Calgary labour market report, here are the numbers.

  • The total employment as of July 2023, was 977,500.
  • Unemployment has grown by 0.6% as of July 2023 since May 2022.

Calgary Unemployment Rate (October) 2023

Based on Calgary’s labour market report, Here are the unemployment rates as of October 2023.

Region October 2023 October 2022
Canada 5.7% 5.2%
Alberta 5.8% 5.4%
Calgary 5.5% 5.7%
Calgary (Metropolitan Area) 5.8% 5.7%
  • As of October 2023, The unemployment rate in Calgary is 5.5% and in the Calgary Metropolitan Area is 5.8% which is equivalent to Alberta’s 5.8% unemployment rate and 0.01% higher than Canada’s 5.7% unemployment rate.

Unemployment Rate in Alberta (October 2023)

Alberta Unemployment Rate October 2023
Alberta Unemployment Rate October 2023 | Data Source: alberta.ca

If we dive into Alberta’s job market with some fresh data from Alberta.ca. Back in October 2022, the unemployment rate in Alberta was sitting at 5.4%. Fast forward to October 2023, and we see a slight uptick to 5.8%. That’s a small jump of just 0.4%. (Not small, which is huge in actual numbers)

When we look at the bigger picture, from January to October over the past two years, Alberta has been pretty consistent. In both 2022 and 2023, the average unemployment rate held steady at 5.8%. So, no dramatic changes there.

Now if we compare it to the rest of Canada, Alberta’s unemployment rate is a slight higher. Canada’s average unemployment is at 5.7%, making Alberta’s rate 0.1% higher. Not a huge gap, but still I wanted to give you a clear picture here.

Calgary Real Estate & Housing Market 2023

In this living in Calgary guide, it’s important to take a deep look into Calgary’s real estate and housing market.

Let’s go straight into the numbers gathered from the various trusted sources and I’ve tried my best to explain this in an easy-to-understand way:

Single-Family Homes in Calgary (July 2023):

  • The average price of a typical single-family home in Calgary increased by 6.8% () compared to the previous year.
  • Single-family homes in Calgary now cost approximately $630,800.

Single-Family Homes in Alberta (July 2023):

  • Across the whole province of Alberta, the price of a typical single-family home went up by 2.7% () over the last year.
  • In Alberta, the average cost for a single-family home is about $546,200.

Townhouses in Calgary (July 2023):

  • The average price of a townhouse in Calgary jumped (↑) by a substantial 11.6% year-over-year.
  • The average price of a townhouse in Calgary is now anywhere between $405,000 to $431,900.

Townhouses in Alberta (July 2023):

  • In Alberta as a whole, row or townhouse prices increased by a solid 8.5% () compared to the previous year.
  • The average price for a townhouse in Alberta is now roughly $371,200.

Condos in Calgary (July 2023):

  • Condo prices in Calgary saw a significant rise of 10.1% over the past year ().
  • An average condo in Calgary costs approximately between $310,000 to $315,000.

Condos in Alberta (July 2023):

  • Throughout Alberta, the price of a typical condo increased () by 8.9% from the previous year.
  • The average condo price in Alberta is now about $270,000.

Modular Homes in Calgary (July 2023):

  • The price of an average home in Calgary, taking into account all types, increased () by 5.6% year-over-year.
  • The average price for a home in Calgary now stands at around $551,000.

Modular Homes in Alberta (July 2023):

  • In Alberta overall, the average home sale price increased by () a more modest 2.2% from the previous year.
  • The typical home in Alberta costs roughly $483,300.

Rental Apartments in Calgary (July 2023):

  • If you’re looking to rent a 1-bedroom apartment in Calgary, you’ll notice a significant increase () of 15.4% in rent prices compared to the previous year.
  • The average monthly rent for a 1-bedroom apartment in Calgary is now $1,798.

Now, let’s dive into the specific property types:

Detached Homes – Setting New Heights (↑):

    • Detached homes in Calgary have been particularly sought after, with their average price surging () by an impressive 14.7% year-over-year. As of now, the average price for a detached home stands at a substantial $720,000 to $730,000.

Semi-Detached Homes – On the Rise (↑):

    • Semi-detached homes have also seen a significant price increase, rising () by 15.8% year-over-year. The average price for a semi-detached home now hovers at an attractive $594,000.

Overall All Property Prices in Calgary (July 2023)

In Calgary, overall all property types prices increased by nearly 10% based on an average 12-month change.

  • 2.5% decrease (↓) (average 1-month change)
  • 9.9% increase (↑) (average 12-month change)

Calgary Real Estate Data Sources:

These real estate stats give us a solid market review and idea that the cost of homes and apartments in Calgary has been rising, which could be good news for sellers but definitely challenging for new buyers and renters.

Life in Calgary for New Immigrants in 2023

Living a high-quality life in Calgary is every new immigrant’s dream. Life in Calgary as a new immigrant or a new commer if you are moving from a different province, is simply wonderful.

Calgary has a long new immigrant history and Calgarians are so welcoming. If you are looking for a balanced life, affordable housing (as compared to big cities in Canada), a great commute, emerging tech sector and startups, less sales tax (5% GST), and a good average income which is about $62,000 annually, undoubtedly you can consider moving to the world’s 7th liveable city Calgary.

Warm and Welcoming Community:

  • Calgarians are known for their friendly and inclusive vibe. People from all walks of life call this place home, which means you’ll feel welcomed and valued no matter where you’re from.
  • It’s like a big, welcoming family where everyone’s invited to the party.

Newcomers Resources and Support:

  • Calgary’s got your back with loads of resources to help new immigrants settle in. There are special services just for newcomers, like settlement programs and language courses.
  • Next is Job, Calgary offers various employment assistance to kickstart your career journey.
💡Settlement organizations: Calgary Newcomers – calgary.ca

Calgary: The Educational Hub

Yes, as mentioned the city of Calgary is the hub of two of Canada’s popular universities, Mount Royal University and the University of Calgary, the city attracts over 50,000+ students each year, including international students​ and students within Canada.

List of 5 Universities in Calgary:

List of Hospitals in Calgary 2023

When looking at living in Calgary aspects, it’s also important to know about the health care system of the city.

Calgary has one of the most advanced and major hospitals all around the city from North East to North West and South East to South West.

Public Hospitals in Calgary

Alberta Children’s Hospital (ACH) – NW

  • 24/7 emergency care
  • Located at 28 Oki Drive NW, Calgary, Alberta
  • ACH: website

Alberta Children’s Hospital (ACH), a new facility established in 2006 (originally opened in 1922), is a prominent pediatric healthcare institution.

Peter Lougheed Centre (PLC) – NE

  • 24/7 emergency care
  • Located at 3500 26 Avenue NE, Calgary, Alberta
  • PLC: website

The Peter Lougheed Centre (PLC) is a renowned medical institution located in North-East Calgary, Alberta, Canada. It specializes in providing a wide range of medical services, with a primary focus on acute care and comprehensive healthcare solutions.

Rockyview General Hospital (RGH) – SW

  • 24/7 emergency care
  • Located at 7007 14 St SW, Calgary, Alberta
  • RGH: website

Rockyview General Hospital (RGH) is a major medical institution located in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. It specializes in providing comprehensive healthcare services with a focus on acute care, advanced diagnostics, and specialized treatments.

All other health centers in Calgary:

  • East Calgary Health Centre (ECHC)
  • Foothills Medical Centre (FMC)
  • Richmond Road Diagnostic & Treatment Centre (RRDTC)
  • Sheldon M. Chumir Health Centre (SMCHC)
  • South Calgary Health Centre (SCHC)
  • Southern Alberta Forensic Psychiatric Centre (SAFPC)
  • South Health Campus (SHC)
  • Tom Baker Cancer Centre (TBCC)

Calgary Crime Rate 2023 Stats

My all-time favourite source to overview the crime rate of any city in Canada is Numbeo. I am going to use Numbeo’s stats to give you an idea about the crime rate in Calgary as of September 2023.

 

As of September 2023, based on 449 contributors on Numbeo, here is the full in-depth report.

Calgary crime rate 2023
Calgary crime rate 2023 | (c) Numbeo
In general, Calgary is one of the safest cities in Canada, Based on these real numbers, you can see there is safety walking alone during daylight anywhere in Calgary is 82.05 which is very high.

Living in Calgary: Conclusion

I hope you’re going to find my living in Calgary guide for newcomers/new immigrants helpful. Please do let me know in the comments if you find it useful.

Calgary is a great city, it offers everything that you can expect from a big city in Canada. Moreover, Calgary is about 40% more affordable than any big city if you compare it with living in Vancouver or Toronto in 2024.

Calgary, Alberta only has a 5% GST (sales) tax, which is way less than if you compare it to Ontario or British Columbia. If you are looking for a work-life balance, better pay rates, less crime rate, great affordability and want to live in the heart of rocky mountains, living in Calgary would be your best decision.

You can do your own research, and read our detailed comparison guides of Calgary vs Edmonton or Calgary vs Toronto and take a wise step according to your personal preference. Let’s meet in the next articles.

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