Calgary vs Airdrie: The Big Debate

To live and work in either Calgary or Airdrie – that is an age-old question that locals ask themselves every day. Located only 15-minutes apart edge to edge, these two cities both have many pros and cons that can’t be ignored. Depending on the type of person you are, your job, your family members and your interests, one city may suit you better than the other. Even though it’s quick and easy to go between the two, where you live and work can impact your daily life. Let us help break it down for you, according to the 2016 Census of Population information.

Calgary has a population of 1,239,220 with a density of 1501.1. With 466,725 households within city limits, approximately one-quarter of the population live alone and one third are families with children. Airdrie has a much smaller population of 61,581 with a density of 729.2. With 21,660 households found in Airdrie, almost half of the population is made up of families with children while approximately only one fifth live alone. Airdrie is a more family-focused city with higher numbers of children while Calgary has a larger elderly population as well as single, unmarried people.


When it comes to professions, 20 per cent of the Airdrie population has a trades education while Calgary is lower at 11 per cent. In Calgary, you will find that 89 per cent of people have a college or university education, followed closely by 80 per cent of Airdrie’s population. Depending on your career, interests or professional aspirations, this may be something to consider so you are closer to people and jobs related to your field.


Did you know that 94 per cent of people who live in Calgary work there as well, whereas only 33 per cent of people who live in Airdrie work in their home city? Perhaps you don’t have a car, or you simply don’t like driving; where your work is located is an important factor to consider. Calgary is home to more visible minorities and more low-income residents whereas Airdrie has a higher employment rate.


When it comes to owning a home, more people purchase a home in Airdrie while more people rent in Calgary. This is likely due to lower housing costs and a higher income recorded in Airdrie residents. Airdrie has both a higher median income and a median household income than Calgary, by approximately $6,000 and $12,000 annually respectively.


Overall, both cities rank quite well when it comes to diverse, thriving populations of people, with over 90 per cent employment rates, low divorce rates and low unemployment. If you are a single individual with a university degree who loves to walk to work and go downtown for drinks, perhaps Calgary is a better fit for you. If you’re a young couple looking to settle down and buy a house in a new neighbourhood, maybe you give Airdrie a try to see how it fits. Compare the pros and cons of each city based on your interests and see where you go from there.