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Alberta vs. Saskatchewan Which province is better to live in

Alberta vs. Saskatchewan: Which province is better to live in?

Choosing a better place to live between Alberta and Saskatchewan isn’t black and white. A lot of considerations and factors play into the best one that would ultimately suit you.

Fortunately, we’ve considered ten aspects to help put things into perspective and help you make the best decision, from the cost of living to transportation to safety.

Is Alberta better than Saskatchewan?

Preference may still trump any sort of analysis, but given the ten aspects listed, Alberta wins as the better place to live, with Saskatchewan not so far behind. Alberta’s population and size also offer more room to grow compared to Saskatchewan.

But, a quieter alternative would be Saskatchewan since you can still enjoy affordable housing and grab potential job opportunities.

ElementsWinnerSummary
Cost of livingSaskatchewanSaskatchewan is the 10th most expensive province in Canada, while Alberta is ranked the 5th.
DemographicsAlbertaAlberta has a more diverse demographic in terms of race, ethnicity, and religion.
WeatherSaskatchewanSaskatchewan has warmer temperatures than Alberta, but both are relatively cold.
Public TransportationTiedAlberta and Saskatchewan have reliable and affordable public transportation.
ImmigrationTiedWith the government’s assistance, both provinces have good immigration processes.
EducationAlbertaAlberta has a good reputation for postsecondary education, particularly with world-class research.
EmploymentAlbertaAlberta has more job opportunities spread out in different cities.
CultureAlbertaAlberta is more culturally diverse and active in propagating and highlighting them.
Accommodations and HousingTiedBoth are affordable relative to their monthly income.
SafetyAlbertaAlberta is a safer choice, but both are still reasonably safe among other provinces.

1. Cost of Living

The cost of living plays a crucial role in choosing a place to live since it dictates your expenses and how much you can save, depending on your disposable income.

Some basic necessities and expenses include rent, utilities, food, and transportation.

According to LivingCost, Alberta sits at 5th place for the most expensive cost of living in Canada, with $1772 for a single person. 

LivingCost also states that the cost of living for a single person in Saskatchewan is $1517 is 1.14 times cheaper than the average cost of living in Canada. Thus, making them the 10th most expensive state in Canada.

Judging from the data, Saskatchewan is the inexpensive choice compared to Alberta when it boils down to the cost of living. For example, the cost of living for a family of four in Saskatchewan is $3323, while it’s $4189 in Alberta.

Here’s a comparison of the average monthly expenses in Alberta and Saskatchewan for a single person and a family of four.

AlbertaSaskatchewan
Cost of livingOne personFamily of 4One personFamily of 4
Total with rent$1772$4189$1517$3323
Without rent$816$2531$663$2045
Rent & Utilities$956$1659$854$1277
Food$544$1424$474$1223
Transport$147$386$77.3$207
Monthly salary after tax$3782$3222

Data retrieved from LivingCost.org for Alberta and Saskatchewan.

2. Demographics

The demographics of a place can influence a person’s sense of belonging, adjustment, and experience in the social environment. 

When it comes to having a diverse demographic and a larger population that will make it easier for people to find a community, then Alberta is a better choice than Saskatchewan. 

Demographics in Alberta

Over four million people live in Alberta, roughly one-tenth of all Canadians. And just over one million people live in the urban districts of Calgary and Edmonton, around half the population. 

Furthermore, the population of Alberta has changed drastically from immigration. Many citizens of the province claim ancestry from Great Britain, Germany, Ireland, Ukraine, and France from the waves of immigration in the past.

Alberta is experiencing some of its highest levels of immigration ever, and the province is becoming more diversified, such as sizable South Asian and Chinese communities.

Most Albertans consider themselves to be Christians. However, the province itself is mainly secular. 

For instance, Alberta is home to many Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, and Jewish faiths. And as a matter of fact, the oldest mosque in North America is located in Edmonton.

Demographics in Saskatchewan

Just over 1.1 million people are living in Saskatchewan. They hold one of the highest percentages of people who live in rural areas in Canada at 35%. And more than half live in Saskatoon and Regina, the capital cities. 

It’s also known that Saskatchewan hopes to steadily raise its population through immigration resulting from its strong economic growth.

On that note, Saskatchewan represents a diverse variety of origins because it was built from frequent waves of immigration since the 19th century. 

Moreover, German, Irish, Ukrainian, First Nations, Scottish, English, French, Metis, Norwegian, and Chinese ancestry are some of the more well-known origins identified.

3. Weather

Both have relatively low temperatures throughout the four seasons, with Alberta being a pinch colder than Saskatchewan. Although, you can enjoy hotter summers in Saskatchewan.

Alberta is also known to have more sunshine than other Canadian provinces, making winters dry, sunny, and cold. 

This table shows a summary of the average temperatures to expect from both provinces throughout the year:

SeasonAlbertaSaskatchewan 
SpringAverage timelineMarch to MayMarch to May
 Average temperatures49 to 52°F or-4° to 11°C42° to 60°F or 5° to 15°C 
SummerAverage timelineJune to AugustJune to August
 Average temperatures68 to 77°F or 20 to 25°C90° to 95°F or 32 to 35°C
Autumn or FallAverage timelineSeptember to NovemberSeptember to November
 Average temperatures32 to 41°F or 0 to 5°C15° to 66°F or -9° to 19°C
WinterAverage timelineDecember to FebruaryDecember to February
Average temperatures5 to 23°F or -15 to -5°C 

*can drop to -22 to -40°F or -30 to -40°C 
-11 to 32°F or -24 to 0°C

4. Public Transportation

Alberta has an inexpensive public transportation system, which makes it easy to get from points A to B without owning a personal car. But cars can be practical transportation between cities in this vast province.

As for Saskatchewan, people can travel around and through the province by plane, ferry, road or highway, rail, or bus. 

Alberta Saskatchewan 
Modes of Public Transportation• Bus
• Taxis
• Train
• Bus
• Ferry
• Train
• Taxi

Alberta Taxis

In all of Alberta’s main cities, taxis are simple to find. Alberta Co-Op and Yellow Cab are the two primary taxi services in Edmonton, while Red Top Cabs provides service in Calgary. 

But, be mindful of which type of taxi you hail because Calgary taxis have metered fares while Edmonton taxis charge by kilometre.

Alberta Trains and Buses

Not only do Calgary and Edmonton have good city bus networks, but so do the majority of Alberta’s smaller cities, including Lethbridge, Red Deer, and Medicine Hat. 

Aside from the famous bus network in Alberta, Greyhound Canada, another one called Red Arrow, runs frequently between Banff, Calgary, Jasper, Edmonton, and Fort McMurray.

Edmonton and Calgary both have cutting-edge light rail transportation systems. Although Edmonton’s network was the first of its kind built in North America, Calgary’s trains are among the busiest on the continent. 

Saskatchewan Taxis

Every Saskatchewan city has at least a couple of reliable taxi companies to choose from. Premiere Taxi and Co-Op Taxi are two of Regina’s best, while Saskatoon Radio Cabs and Comfort Cabs are two of Saskatoon’s leading operators.

Saskatchewan Ferries

Ferries serve more than a dozen Saskatchewan communities and are located on rivers. As a result, fluctuating water levels can cause schedules and maximum weight capacities to change unexpectedly. 

Conveniently, all Saskatchewan ferries are free except for the Wollaston Lake Barge. And most of them only run seasonally, after the winter ice melts.

Saskatchewan Trains and Buses

Saskatchewan is the only Canadian province with its own bus company, the Saskatchewan Transportation Company (STC). STC’s 43 motor coaches now travel over three million miles annually to and from 290 communities across Saskatchewan. 

In addition to the three main terminals in Prince Albert, Regina, and Saskatoon, the company operates 197 rural agencies across the province. 

Regina Transit, the province’s oldest public transportation system, operates 17 different routes throughout the capital six days a week and a modified Sunday schedule. 

The downtown terminal makes it convenient to board Saskatoon Transit, which provides both regular and express service.

Ultimately, Alberta and Saskatchewan have reliable public transportation, considering the different modes and reasonable fare rates.

5. Immigration 

Alberta Immigration

Alberta is a popular destination for immigrants to Canada due to its high quality of life and economic opportunities. The immigration process in Alberta has developed through an agreement with the Canadian government. 

The Alberta Ministry of Employment, Immigration, and Industry is involved in decision-making for attracting immigrants and nominating individuals for immigration who possess skills needed in Alberta.

Alberta’s Provincial Nominee Program is the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program. Prospective immigrants with the skills and experience may be eligible for an Alberta Provincial Nomination Certificate, expediting the overall immigration process.

Saskatchewan Immigration

Immigration has played a significant role in shaping Saskatchewan’s culture and history. Furthermore, immigration is expected to account for a hefty portion of the province’s future growth. 

Saskatchewan is making efforts to increase immigration to the province to attract 10,000 newcomers each year to help the province’s growing economy.

Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program, for example, allows the government to select individuals who want to settle in and contribute to the province while also expediting their immigration visa application process. 

Saskatchewan’s program identifies and assists skilled workers, farmers, entrepreneurs, international students, and individuals from in-demand professions in settling in Saskatchewan.

6. Education 

Education is vital in choosing a place to live since it involves social life, a potential career, and finances. This can be education for international students, your children, post-graduate studies, and more.

In Canada, all permanent residents and citizens under the age of 20 have the right to free education through the end of secondary school.

When it comes to higher education, Alberta is a frontrunner. The province prepares students for postsecondary education better than its neighbours, has some of the most satisfied students in the country, and outperforms its peers in research.

Saskatchewan is home to some of Canada’s top educational institutions. Tuition fees are also lower because they are funded by the government.

The universities have modern facilities and top-tier educators, which draw international students from all over the world, making the schools culturally diverse.

The following is a brief breakdown of the education system in Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Alberta Education

Alberta has a renowned education system from kindergarten to university, producing world-class research. Albertans pay an average of $5,700 per year for postsecondary education tuition — one of the highest rates in Canada.

Fortunately, the Alberta government has several programs in place to help alleviate the burden and assist you in saving for your or your child’s education after high school.

Alberta’s publicly funded postsecondary education system includes 26 institutions, four are universities, with over 115,000 full- and part-time students. 

On that note, the province’s education spending per student and per capita remains among the highest in Canada.

Saskatchewan Education

After completing secondary school, students in Saskatchewan have various options for furthering their education and training. 

The province’s research universities, the University of Saskatchewan and the University of Regina serve as the foundation of the province’s postsecondary system.

The province provides apprenticeship programs, nine regional technical colleges and 50 private vocational schools for those interested in learning a skilled trade.

7. Employment 

Between Alberta and Saskatchewan, Alberta stands out with more employment and job opportunities thanks to the strong economies of its two major cities, Calgary and Edmonton.

Job Opportunities in Alberta

Alberta has various job opportunities for foreigners and a wide range of lifestyle options. It has a variety of towns and rural areas to explore and live in.

Families in Alberta also have a higher average income and a lower cost of living than in many other provinces. Rental and taxes are generally lower as well. 

Job Opportunities in Alberta by Industry
IndustryNo. Of Job Opportunities
Retail & Wholesale7,374
Construction, Repair & Maintenance Services3,977
Restaurants & Food Services2,818
Health2,743
Manufacturing2,451
Job Opportunities in Alberta by Location
City/TownNo. Of Job Opportunities
Calgary17,215
Edmonton14,200
Fort McMurray1,635

Data retrieved from CanadianVisa.org as of May 2022.

Job Opportunities in Alberta

Saskatchewan is also an ideal place to find work, considering that the province had the lowest unemployment rate among others at 4.9% in September 2022 and above the national average of 5.2%.

A low unemployment rate is a reliable indication of the number of job opportunities Saskatchewan has for citizens, immigrants, and more.

Job Opportunities in Saskatchewan by Industry
IndustryNo. Of Job Opportunities
Retail & Wholesale1,873
Manufacturing783
Education609
Construction, Repair & Maintenance Services608
Restaurants & Food Services589
Job Opportunities in Saskatchewan by Location
City/TownNo. Of Job Opportunities
Saskatoon3,768
Regina2,791
Prince Albert430

Data retrieved from CanadianVisa.org as of May 2022.

8: Culture

Culturally speaking, Alberta is highly considered to be more culturally diverse than Saskatchewan. And Alberta actively creates events and activities highlighting all of the cultures involved. 

Alberta Culture

Alberta’s distinct and vibrant culture is highly influenced by the immigrant population. 

The culture, cuisine, music, and arts of communities from all over the world can be found throughout the province, especially in the major cities of Calgary and Edmonton. 

For instance, Calgary’s Carifest, an annual celebration of Caribbean culture in the province, is one of these immigrant cultures on display.

A quick trivia, Calgary was on display to the entire world in 1988 when it hosted the Winter Olympic Games. Edmonton is well-known for its fantastic festivals, like the Edmonton Fringe Festival.

Alberta’s culture is also influenced by its frontier settlement and traditional farming. The Calgary Stampede, an annual summer festival with bull-roping and rodeos, is the best example of this “cowboy culture.” 

Saskatchewan Culture

Saskatchewan is a multicultural province shaped by immigration throughout its history. A large influx of people from Ukraine and other parts of Eastern Europe settled in Saskatchewan at the end of the nineteenth century. 

Because many of these groups, such as the Doukhobor community, fled their home countries to avoid persecution, they worked hard to preserve their cultural practices once they arrived in Canada. 

These efforts have consequently made Saskatchewan a warm and welcoming place of diverse cultures.

While the province is much more urban than in the past and has a modern industrial and service economy, this sense of community contributes to Saskatchewan residents’ high quality of life for both locals and foreigners.

9. Accommodations and Housing

Alberta and Saskatchewan both offer affordable housing and accommodation relative to a resident’s average monthly income. But, given their larger population and high migration rate, they still have an affordable rate for renting or buying a home.

Alberta Housing

Alberta has one of Canada’s most affordable housing markets. Housing costs are expected to fall in the coming years as home builders continue to build new homes at a rapid pace.

The average home in Alberta costs around $400,000. (368,00$ in Edmonton; 450,00$ in Calgary). Overall, housing costs consume approximately 25% of household income, which is lower than the Canadian average.

Saskatchewan Housing

By Canadian standards, purchasing or renting a home for a family is pretty affordable for newcomers. Only about 65% of Saskatchewan residents live in cities. 

With less urban demand to drive up prices, Saskatchewan has historically had very affordable housing but has recently increased due to its booming economy. 

The average home in Regina costs around $338,800. The average price of a house in Saskatoon is $352,000.

10. Safety

Safety is crucial to preserve an individual or a family unit’s welfare, health, and overall lifestyle. Alberta and Saskatchewan are relatively safer than most of the other provinces in Canada.

However, Alberta is generally acknowledged as one of the safest provinces in Canada, with some areas being safer than others.

On the other hand, Edmonton had one of Alberta’s lowest crime rates of any major city. Moreover, Sherwood Park and St. Albert appeared even safer.

But when comparing Edmonton to Calgary, the City of Calgary has a significantly higher crime rate than all other nearby regions.

What separates them is the rising rates of violent crime in Saskatchewan’s various cities, particularly its two metropolitan areas. This has directly contributed to the province’s dangers.

Furthermore, Saskatchewan accounted for 70 of the 788 reported homicides nationally, for a rate of 5.93 homicides per 100,000 people. This is the highest of any province and more than double the national rate. 

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