09/27/2012 08:04 EDT | Updated 11/27/2012 05:12 EST

Manitoba population up 15,000 in last year, total population at 1.2 M

WINNIPEG - More people are calling Manitoba home than ever before.

Statistics Canada estimates the province has 1,267,003 people.

The agency's data shows Manitoba's population has increased by 47,000 in the last three years — more than 26 per cent higher than the previous best three-year period in the early 1980s.

Manitoba’s annual growth continues to outpace the national average, with more than 15,000 new people calling the province home in the last 12 months.

Over the last three years, nearly 30,000 more individuals came to Manitoba than left for other provinces or countries, beating the last record by 50 per cent.

Entrepreneurship, Training and Trade Minister Peter Bjornson says he's thrilled to see so many more people making Manitoba their home.

“The provincial government has worked hard to keep Manitoba moving forward through uncertainty in the global economy and to make Manitoba an even better place for families to put down roots and build a life,” he said in a news release Thursday.