REGINA _ For the third year in a row, Saskatoon has recorded the strongest growth of any census metropolitan area, according to Statistics Canada.

StatsCan says Saskatoon's population increased by a rate of 40.4 per thousand, something that no census metropolitan area has done in more than 15 years.

The city had 284,000 people on July 1, 2012, up 11,200 from the previous year.

Regina and Calgary had the second- and third-largest population increases in Canada, with 31.5 per thousand and 31.4 per thousand, respectively.

Cities in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba all had more growth than the national average of 11.4 per thousand.

StatsCan says Saskatoon also has the youngest population, with a median age of 34.9 years, compared with 40 years for Canada as a whole.

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