How does population density in the GTHA compare with other larger urban regions?
By: Cameron Macdonald, B.A., 4th Year Student in Urban and Regional Planning, Ryerson University, and Researcher at the Centre for Urban Research and Land Development
November 28, 2016
The Ontario government and its advisors clearly feel the current population density (average population per km of built-up area) in the Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH) is too low. Otherwise they would not have imposed the minimum intensification/density targets they did in the 2006 Growth Plan and would not be proposing an increase to these minimums in the updated 2016 Growth Plan.
This raises the question: what urban density is desirable in the GGH taking into account a range of economic, housing/real estate market, social and environment considerations and concerns in a balanced way?
This blog post takes a small step in forwarding the optimal urban density discussion by comparing urban densities in the Toronto-based region to other larger regions in Canada and elsewhere in the world:
- First, it presents urban densities for the GTHA and its three component census metropolitan areas (CMAs)1 based on Statistics Canada data for the year 20112;
- Second, it compares urban densities in the Toronto CMA with other large CMAs in Canada; and
- Third, it compares urban density in the GTAH with competitive global metropolitan regions3, as calculated by Demographia4 for the year 2016.
GTHA Population Densities in 2011 and 20165
Statistics Canada, in their report, measured average population density by individual CMA. Demographia combines the Toronto, Oshawa and Hamilton CMAs to create what it calls the Toronto region. This includes the Toronto, Hamilton and Oshawa CMAs.